x_los: (Not My Real Dad)
I am having... a pretty big problem with my PhD uni, in that it's taking them around three weeks to respond to basic questions like 'when should we start'. Also they seem to have zero sense of financial need. I explained, as per our earlier, interview conversations, that I'd like to start early because of student loan stuff. They really blanked me, basically saying 'even though we said any old time? Now we think September. No stated reason, we just do.' It's SUCH a turn around from how nice and reasonable they were pre-acceptance. And they seem to think my voicing financial concerns is me being unreasonably panicky? Rather than an acknowledgment of the fact that I need money to live, let alone study?

It's so undesirable that I'd not go there if any other decent-ranked school would take me. Other nice people wanted me, but their schools weren't well-ranked. Also, I have no proof that anywhere else is better.

I said I'd give it another month to find enough work to live on, but if I can't, going to demand we start in May. I now no longer really trust their 'we'll absolutely help get your funding in order and we promise you a job all first year and teaching all second and third year' claims.

If they feel it'd be better for me to go through some foundation research courses with other PhD students, and that funding might be better in September, and that I'd have a better/healthy/useful relationship w/ other PhD kids if we all came in simultaneously. That makes sense? But why not say that at the start?

I don't REALLY imagine that'd be thrown off TERRIBLY by my starting a few months earlier? I mean what's the worst I'll do, read a lot and make sub-optimal notes?

But there's really... nowhere else to go, where a PhD will probably get me a job after, among the people I've spoken to who'd have me. I'm sort of stuck with something I think is a bad idea going in, but I'm not at all sure that's not just--true across the board.

How to Make Grenadine and Why You Should Bother
Clotted Cream Recipe - Making Clotted Cream at Home is Much Easier Than You Think
Cupcake Project Blog's Recipe Index
Single Women Are Quickly Becoming the ‘Evangelicals’ of the Democratic Party
NICHOLAS BLAKE: a Rob Shearman short story
Texts From Cephalopods
An agent's manifesto
Terrible Doctor Insists Woman Is Pregnant When She Actually Has a Giant Tumor
The Shoe That Politely Says ‘I Don’t Want to Fuck You’
Katy's Index of BFA Seven Stories
Major ISPs to turn into copyright police by July, says RIAA: This seems REALLY fishy. First, major business-choking move for the ISPs, if people leave them, and in that they'd be 'volunteering' to do a TON more work for no monies. Also no names named, no one preventing you from going with smaller competing or off-shore ISPs. Seems like RIAA propaganda? EVERYONE WILL BE DOING IT GUYS!!
Serviceable but low-key pad thai I shoped for and Katy made tonight
Charlize Theron Raises Her Glass to Michael Fassbender’s Monster Cock
Ann Romney Begs Women to Support Her Husband
Anna Wintour Reuses Outfits All The Damn Time
Nobel peace prize winner defends law criminalising homosexuality in Liberia: Exclusive: In joint interview, Tony Blair refuses to comment on Liberian president's remarks supporting anti-gay laws
Not Crazy Just Resentful: On Being Car Free by Choice in Cleveland
How To Ditch Your Boring Throw Pillows For Something Cooler
Jon Hamm Won’t Back Down on His Kardashian Problem
How To Unclog Your Drain Without Barfing
The 10 Funniest Celeb Twitter Bios
Gender Bend Avengers: I would assemble for that.
John McCain Thinks It’s Time for Republicans to Stop Acting Like Lady-Hating Jerks
Otters holding hands while they sleep so they do not drift away from each other
Syria’s Charming First Lady Says She’s the ‘Real’ Dictator
'Sexist trousers' are below the belt
Rabbi, three children shot dead outside Jewish school in France
x_los: (Alice)
"People seem to imagine that talking about sex means talking in the dorkiest possible way, and I honestly don't know why.  Personally, I've never seen the romance in no-talking sex.  I know it's supposed to be all "swept off your feet by the heat of the moment" and shit, but in practice it always seems more clumsy and oafish, like trying to convey the concept of "Deleuze's Plane of Immanence" in Pictionary.  With your feet.  There's shit you can't just convey, you know?  Even in long-standing relationships, it's pretty goddamn hard to say "I want to gently pull your hair while we fuck and whisper sweet dirty things in your ear" with raised eyebrows and meaningful looks."

Ahahah fucking Deluze.

(from http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-12-10T12:27:00-05:00&max-results=20)
x_los: (Andrae?)
* Oh my god, my piña colada macaroons with pineapple cream filling are perfect! Rejoice! (Photo not of mine, but of what they'd have looked like if I had a somewhat better piping nozzle x_x) This is my third attempt making French-style macaroons, and while the first time was okay, I believe this was both the easiest time I've had of it and the most successful batch (#2 Friday night was, though not really my fault, an utter disaster). Really not that bad once I got the hang of it! Will have to practice more, but feeling good about this. I guess the next classic culinary challenge would be the croquembouche or something... Idk, what else is notoriously a bitch?


* It's looking like I may have to learn French if I do the Charm PhD (which is quite likely). And not just 'a little', over the next years I need to get to like, Proust-reading levels. Any tips? Anyone else doing that, or want to do that?

* http://husbandstheseries.com/ : This is decently cute.

* No one in London is interested in going to the Lambeth Graphic Novel Readers Group Meet, are they? They always have well planned sessions organized around stuff like big name authors and Arabic Comic Culture, which I know little about. I'm intrigued, but I don't know people in the UK who like graphic novels (the format annoys my gf).
x_los: (Russian Church)
If you would prefer for Iowa City to have independent local businesses, rather than for huge, characterless development projects to muscle out the established and much-loved places that give the city its identity, you should probably sign http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-overdevelopment-on-the-north-side and http://www.change.org/petitions/save-the-red-avocado to support the North Side and the area around New Pi co-op. I don't **zomgadore** every shop in question, but there's no denying that IC is better with this sort of stuff, and the business side of this seems pretty fucking shady. (I'm not sure that sudden lease alteration with this little notice is legal?)
x_los: (Not My Real Dad)
In the next week I have to apply for an Post-Study Work Visa I don't actually need, just for permission to sit around until schools get back to me. It's EXPENSIVE, but not as bad as going home and/or being unable to work for however long UCL and Cambridge take. This time I've read the entire manual of reasons for refusal, researched all possible visa categories and circumstances that might apply to me, gone through the whole application and all associated materials, and consulted many legal aid people ahead of time, but I'm still irked that this works so stupidly. At least I may be able to study while on the Post-Study. :/ I'm still waiting to hear back from Unis and two other legal aid people, who will probably get back to me the third or forth. Potentially the immigration aid people could tell me a secret loop-hole for a sittuation like mine, if one exists.

If both the Unis could give me a time frame of 'letting me know inside the next week', I could just about properly apply for a student visa, narrowly squeaking in/flailing to obtain student loans and a CAS number in time. But I doubt they can do that, and it'd be HIGH PRESSURE for me to try and get everything done within those weeks, given that both components can be time-sensitive and tricky. I need to have the application in to the UKBA by the 6th, for my bank statements (which I have to include, which have to be from within the last month, and which have to show a certain magical balance held for 90 days--a balance I've now dropped below, so I can't just get new ones) to be applicable. I'll fill it out on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd and, if the other guys don't give me a better alternative before then, turn it in the fourth or fifth (just in case something goes wrong and I NEED that extra day or two).

Anyway. Enjoy a picture of our cat.

x_los: (TARDIS)
Had a pretty good day out w/ Katy, after a rough start. Got woken up after little sleep at 8:30 by hungry/thirsty cat who'd consumed his foodstuffs (and, I suspect, was also just bored/lonely), never really got back to sleep despite trying for several hours.

Katy and I have two anniversaries due to differing opinions as to what marks the official beginning of going out, and this one, Hers, thus my gifts, is split into spending today together out doing fun stuff and then going for Japanese some other evening (since she had to record a Shalka read-through tonight). We began by visiting a Christmas Market at The Water Poet in Spitalfields (something of a fail as there were few merchants and Katy didn't really want to watch the free Christmas films, be bought food, or stick around for the caroling later on (I'd sort of banked on her wanting to do these, as they're Her Sort of Thing). Then we dodged disaster by going to Portabello Market, which, over-populated and over-popular though it is, was v. nice, with a lot of Christmas greenery vendors with actual boughs of holly (NOT IN A SONG! LEGIT-ASS BOUGHS OF HOLLY!!) and mistletoe (I SHIT YOU NOT!). Katy was not nearly as shocked/interested as I was. I mean I'd seen these things like, once. In sad little dry bunches, not in riotous profusion. My mom bought boughs of greenery some years, but like, that was just some fir-strands w/ pine-cones stuck in. And I liked that too! But this was cooler.

Also there were some nice pop-up shops, some decent vendors, and I successfully remembered/spotted... I think it was Lefton? anyway, some mid-century floral cat figurine of a sort that is sometimes valuable and which Katy rather likes. She suspected this particular one of being v. new, though (and thus worth bupkis), and also it lacked an intelligent/curious expression, and I suspected our cat could try to fuck or kill it, either resulting in the loss of a porcelain figurine potentially worth thousands. Needless to say we did not get Sasa a new 'friend.' Still, I'm happy to have remembered it from a conversation last Autumn in Edinburgh.

Some interesting walking around and looking at stuff and buying people presents and NOT buying an AMAZING fuzzy wolf-hat with connected paw-gloves (which Katy may deeply regret some day, I feel), and then we started back. I felt it'd been a nice date thing. Then I had to use the bathroom at McDonalds before we caught the bus. I got stuck behind a looooong queue, and, I eventually realized, specifically behind some clueless tourists who had no idea they were IN said queue, much less holding it up. Eventually bypassed them, after having been queue-jumped by half the known female bathroom-needing world, only for a McDonalds employee to ROAR IN shrieking 'this toilet is broken!!' and slamming the door in my face. Whatever was broken she fixed, and then in the same unfortunately URGENT poor English she demanded I go in and use the thing RIGHT NOW!! I did so, and not fifteen seconds had I been in before an old angry and pretty drunk homeless woman started banging on the door, cursing, saying she was 'about to fucking bust'again and again. So I had to finish as quickly as possible and stumble out still trying to pull up my layers of tights (it was nasty and cold today). I washed my hands veeeery quickly because said woman didn't see a need to close the door as she did her biz. Magical. I fucking hate tourist!London sometimes. Nothing was the speicifically poor homeless woman, the situationally-stupid tourists, or the harried employee's fault, but I felt incredibly frustrated.

Then we got on the bus an hour and 40 min before we HAD to be home (for a 40 min max ride), and due to the police cracking down and arresting a ton of protesters outside parliament (Londoners of African descent who were suggesting, with strongly worded signs and other WMDs, that perhaps it wasn't cool for the UK and associated governments to continue supporting a hideously oppressive, rape-happy and illegitimate regime because they thought said regime could get them a good deal on cheapo laptop components--so obviously people who needed arrested en masse, and violently too!), we were stuck in a traffic jam about 40 min. We got home like 15 min late.

Pretty much pretending the day ended riiiight before I went into McDonalds. Anyway, then Katy did her readthrough, and I made chorizo chicken with potatoes, did loads of laundry, put away dishes, entertained the cat so it didn't yowl much/audibly during the recording, etc. Also watched a chunk of "A Damsel in Distress" while doing this, because the BBC iPlayer almost always has a classic film on dock, and I like to watch them while doing chores so I feel less like I've missed out on an entire era of largely decent-to-excellent film-making (well, at least that's what's come down to me--there very probably were clunkers aplenty, as ever, now mercifully lost to time). Aired out the rooms, which smelled of cat. This necessitated chasing Sasa out of them, opening the windows, hoping no one came in to steal shit for an hour, shutting the door without letting him sneak back in, and putting anti-Sasa notices on all the doors. He sulked in the hall way, pissed at my effrontery. Literally, he did a number on his litter box. His rage!!!waste is prodigious, and fearful to behold. Did a veeeery little Shalka stuff, and talked to flatmate Kasia about Christmas plans.

I need to type up my to-do list for Kasia, who seemed to think I'd be making a few things, and she'd make a few things, and we'd muddle through--she's welcome to contribute anything she likes, but I have a full big ass menu planned out which I'm comfy cooking, and I don't want to be rude, but altering it to do less, when I've so carefully planned that, seems annoying--I'll try to be very out of the kitchen on the Eve and the Day, due to pre-prep, but I'm pretty ready to roll here. Also have to type this up so Katy's mom can do some things, which is both nice and a bit annoying, as I've pretty much spent a ton of time figuring out how to manage this, and well-intentioned offers of help may well throw off my carefully timing, budget and ingredients plans. Also I specifically asked if she wanted anything special, or to make anything at home or at ours, because I didn't want her to feel that her decision to come here meant me taking over or undermined her/striped her of agency/ruined her Christmas, and she said no, so I went with that? Idk.

I'm not good at delegation, but esp. not re: cooking. I know how to get a lot done myself, but not how to relinquish control over steps or whole processes, or how to share space and resources seamlessly. I think maybe I used to be better at that as a kid, but I haven't really had to share kitchen duties for a long time, and the freedom's made me snotty about it. It's a bad trait, but when I'm working I mostly want people who aren't people I specifically REALLY know how to work with, like Katy, to fuck off and stop watching me chop vegetables and remarking on the speed. (Re: that, It's a bit silly to say 'gosh, you're sooooo faaaaast' (a la the other day) when I know my knife-technique is juvenile. I was just pathetic at this in basic high-school culinary arts chef-training, and my dicing's never been sufficiently speedy or uniform, and the mince knife technique, sort of a swivel hand gesture? fanning the knife around VERY QUICKLY rather than lifting and chopping?, is just beyond my skill. I cringe whenever anything asks for minced garlic. I can't even keep the French terms straight. It's this huge, fundamental technical skill that marks an important distinction in the highly sexually segregated world of 'chefs' and 'cooks', and I just do. not. have. it.)

So yeah: maybe typing up the list and displaying it will sort of nicely tell Kasia that while she's welcome to also do stuff, this is the stuff I will be doing, and emailing it to Katy's mom with some nice indicators of thing she could helpfully prep at home and finish here, or make at home and heat here, or make here, time/space/logistics permitting, would be okay. I'm just eager not to insult anyone/ruin anyone's holiday, nervous about doing Christmas at my house/with my food (never done that before), and anxious to please gf and gay!in-laws.

Also I helped edit Mez's uni!personal statement and feel v. virtuous/proud of her.

Apparently Joy of Cooking's 'lowfat' gingerbread men cannot be trusted, as I suspected. Low-fat is the devil's recipe designation, second only to 'atkins/south-beach friendly' in its foul degradation.* Also that's weird b/c I typically trust Joy of Cooking with my life. Also I need to make their cranberry relish soon, having discovered it freezes well. And the chicken broth and lard too. AND SOME BLOODY CHRISTMAS CRAFTS THAT ARE CLASSY AND ATTRACTIVE AND CHEAP. Anyone know any? :/ May have to hunt Tumblr. Ew. Tumblr.

So, gingerbread:

May try this: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/gingerbread_man_cookies/ without pepper, b/c wtf, pepper?
or http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/9761/gingerbread+men#null , but the lack of molasses concerns me.

These: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/sugar_cookies/ may well be the antidote to the oddly thin, too-formal sugar cookies I produced in Batch 1. Think I'll try the first.

Hrm, Groupon. This accredited TEFL course for 49 pounds might not be too bad. Idk what that regularly costs, though. All I know is I could use sweet sweet tutoring/teaching monies... Will check it out.

* Speaking of, have you seen Morgana and Brax in 'look, I need to eat to live like everyone, okay?' Please view this trailer for "A Princess for Christmas." And laugh. Until you cry.


Buttle hard, Brax.
x_los: (Enterprise!Sherlock)
* What are your favorite/essential Christmas season foods/drinks/recipes? I am planning for the Christmas party (and Katy's brother, mom and mom's manfriend are coming over for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Also I am just curious.
* List of International Christmas Dishes by Country: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christmas_dishes
* http://www.uncollege.org/archives/1441 : I'd take CS101, Machine Learning, and/or Human-Computer Interaction (I lack the probability, calculus and programing language capabilities for the others) if anyone wanted to do then with me so we could chat about it (I do better when not learning totally alone).
x_los: (The Books One)
Today I:

- dealt with the contractors/trowing the cat in my room and out of their way
- dishes
- laundry
- tidying br
- tidying kitchen
- shopping for Katy's mini supper party
- made sour cream and cheese mashes potatoes
- made mushroom gravy with home-made lamb stock
- made roast vegetable casserole thing
- made chicken cordon bleu (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/chicken-cordon-bleu-i/detail.aspx)
- made dark chocolate loaf cake (http://www.food.com/recipe/dense-chocolate-loaf-cake-nigella-lawson-137303)
- recorded long podcast interview w/ Jon
- helped give party
- cleaned kitchen again
- emailed Cambridge Interfolio letters, at last
- updated housing spreadsheet
- started on readings for my PhD genre writing seminar on classic detective novels (http://letsenhance.blogspot.com/) on Monday
- got Phillippa's availability
- emailed all strong potential room candidates to set up viewings
- took out cat waste
- did a little bit of shalka stuff


- read book
- do book review
- do reading for Let's Enhance!
- job aps
- clean up and mail Elodie my notes on her dissertation
- crack on w/ own ep
x_los: (Cleopatra /Look/)
God fucking dammit. After all their utter bullshit with the 'type in this box and only in this box do not c/p your essays!!' LINE AND CHARACTER LIMIT!! thing, and the ONLY UPLOAD DOCUMENTS AS PDFS!! and the rejecting the Required Photo without giving any reason so that you just had to Keep Trying different ones until the gods were inexplicably satisfied, and their EIGHT PAGES of stuff to do to apply without even counting documents--FAR worse than anyone else, Cambridge is refusing to accept letters of rec in THE ONLY FORM UIOWA DOES THEM. What do I have to DO to even apply to these people, jump through hoops of fire while being taunted by secretaries?!

Cambridge wants people to enter text in a box on their website after making a little password/saying they are who they say they are. Iowa wants professors NOT to send individual letters of rec, but to log one per student with Interfolio, which will then send your confidential letters anywhere you ask at $6 for a batch of sending and $19 a year. It's annoying b/c why is that automated service not free? But I see Iowa's point. It's a one-off, so their profs can spend time teaching, it's safer than everyone trying to Send Shit, theoretically it's a HUGE time-saver, on their end. It's getting other people to say 'sure, that's absolutely fine' that's an issue

All the other unis grumped but were like 'sure, fine, send it here'. But did you know Cambridge is ***!!***special?***!!***

I said:

Thanks very much [for your earlier help clarifying a point]. I have now completed my application and sent in all the documentation required of me.

I have a problem, however, regarding letters of recommendation. My
undergraduate university uses a popular American service called
Interfolio to hold and send confidential letters of recommendation,
and does not allow their professors to send out letters to individual
services such as your electronic referencing system. Is there an email
address I can advise Interfolio to send these letters to? I'm sorry to
be difficult, but it's really the only way the university will handle


Then Cambridge was like:

Dear Erin

I'm afraid that the University of Cambridge does not accept references from services such as Interfolio. Under the circumstances I would advise that you request your referees to submit your references to us on paper and we will upload them on receipt.

For information regarding paper references please see the following webpage http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/gradstud/prospec/faq/
My referee is having difficulty accessing the electronic referencing system. What can I advise them?

Best Regards

Some Lady
Graduate Admissions

That... does not really respond to my email. This person has clearly not quite understood what I'm saying/is not helpful. It's not a problem that paper references could possibly solve. Fucking fuck, Cambridge. It seems like a Bad Sign that I'm INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATED with this uni and I haven't even been accepted yet.

The thing is, though, it's about Actually being okay with how international programs are different. They make a HUGE deal of saying they are, but the INSTANT they run into 'actually here's a slight accommodation you might need to make for that difference', they get all OH HELL NO. CAMBRIDGE IS FOR PEOPLE FROM UK EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUNDS, THX.

x_los: (On A Ship)
Useful advice [livejournal.com profile] amaterasu_no_ki gave me in an old discussion on my MA thesis:

"My theory is weak (I'm a psychologist and we kind of don't do it like y'all) but I will offer some of the names I've read in my study of gender theory:

Althusser's thoughts on ideological state apparatuses - how the state/society makes over individuals in it's image, and a person's perceptions of him or herself are influenced by the state and it's institutions. Butler was influenced by him, specifically his concept of interpellation, which is the idea that context always precedes the subject. I wish I had a specific reference (we read excerpts in a reader, and this was undergrad) but some of his books have online versions on marx2mao:


You're probably already reading/read Foucault's History of Sexuality.

Derrida also has some interesting insights, but since I suck at theory I'm gonna copy this summary from Wikipedia:

"[Derrida] in turn describes logocentrism as phallocratic, patriarchal and masculinist. Derrida contributed to "the understanding of certain deeply hidden philosophical presuppositions and prejudices in Western culture", arguing that the whole philosophical tradition rests on arbitrary dichotomous categories (such as sacred/profane, signifier/signified, mind/body), and that any text contains implicit hierarchies, 'by which an order is imposed on reality and by which a subtle repression is exercised, as these hierarchies exclude, subordinate, and hide the various potential meanings.'"

Yeah. The works in question are three books he published in 1967: Speech and Phenomena, Of Grammatology and Writing and Difference. A large portion of Writing and Difference and Of Grammatology is on Google Books:

Raewyn Connell, when she was writing as Robert Connell (she's transgendered) wrote a seminal book called Gender and Power that discusses a lot of these issues. Also has a preview on Google Books: here.

Gayle Rubin wrote a greeeeeeeeat piece called "Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality". It was originally published in a book edited by Carole Vance (who is also somebody really good to look up concerning gender theory) but I think one of the best places to find it is in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader simply because that book has so many other great pieces. It's the first essay in the book and the whole damn thing is on Google Books. Other ones that may be interesting to you in that book are "Deviance, Politics, and the Media" by Stuart Hall, and "One is Not Born a Woman" by Monique Wittig. Both of those have a sample on Google Books.

I will also note that A Reader on Reading and The City of Words have previews on Google Books.


* Song [livejournal.com profile] elviraprose mentioned to me:

* Sam suggested looking for work with video game developers. Not a bad idea.


Nov. 10th, 2011 01:10 pm
x_los: (The Books One)
You know what I'm over? Totally and completely over? Because it's negative cant about grad school/[livejournal.com profile] academics_anon scaremongering.

1. Why Apply At All

The process of applying for graduate school has thus far largely consisted of people telling me, via their books and to my face in interviews, that I oughtn't. This stems not from any particular quality in me or lack thereof, but from a deep general skepticism about the process. 'Are you aware it's difficult?', as if anything worth doing was renowned for being easy. 'Has it occurred to you that it's expensive?', as though anyone living through the recession who has even the slightest need to care isn't painfully conscious of costs. 'Do you know teaching doesn't pay much?' Really? Well, perhaps there's still an unWAGed footballer left in the world. I'll just do that instead then, I'm sure it will provide me with immense intellectual satisfaction and represent the best possible use of myself.

In elementary school, when every dewey thing wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up, smart-alec classmates reminded her that sometimes cute puppies needed put down. Inevitably, name-ending-in-y would give up her dream on the spot. Attempting to coax similar tearful renunciations out of would-be graduate students, however, seems ill-judged. The imaginary people these cautions are designed to save seem impossible naive, and the obvious cautions themselves not far behind.

Perhaps the most interesting barricade yet was thrown up by a professor at King's, who suggested that my work needn't necessarily be conducted in an academic context. What is up with his lack of faith in this means of learning and gaining accreditation? As far as I can see the PhD program is a system intended to turn some sloppy thinking, writing and research into something informed, solid, considered, aware of its context, and structured, and to make you much better at managing your time in order to produce said writing. Perhaps you could get the same effects by working entirely without guidance and institutional structure for the same period of time, without the potential career benefits of a formal title at the end of it. If so, kudos to you. But there are practical reasons not to want to go the (even harder, even lonelier, even more bereft of resources than traditional programs) autodidactic route.

And I can't help feeling that these complaints wouldn't have exactly the same 'why should you bother?' shape if I were a guy my age. I am a young person who is good at writing and thinking. I would like to become better, because I feel this honing, followed by a career spent challenging myself in this way and teaching others to develop their skill-sets and knowledge levels, represents the best possible use of my particular talents and life. I will be a better academic, teacher, creative writer and social justice activist with this training. What is so fucking hard to grasp about that? What is so fucking wrong with it?

2. The Recession!PhD

Some PhDs aren't employed in their field! You're going into debt now? Some PhDs don't make much! There are 300 people applying for every job!

Cry me a mother-fucking river.

You know who else isn't employed in their 'chosen field' right now? It's the people who aren't employed at-fucking-all. They have debt too. If there aren't university positions for fresh PhDs to pick from at first, there's editing academic publications. There's good high-school work. You're not left for dead because you're not a professor at Cambridge right off the bat. Believe it or not these are actual transferable skills--more so than my paralegal work in the US has proven to be. And that 300 people thing is EVERYWHERE. I crawl over that pile for shitty 'zero hours contract' part-time secretarial work. At least this will be for something I actually want to do/that pays bills.

What ELSE is one to do now? You think people my age are *super employable*? You think that outside of academia there's a candyland of job opportunities and pools of money to roll in? Everyone knows 20somethings don't have families to support, and they only want to hire a *very few* hideously over-qualified people for nothing to do the jobs of several people. Frequently that leads to under-employing an experienced industry person. In this pool, other than a few 'lucky' slave-driven fresh-off-the-uni-boat types, a lot of graduates are going without jobs. Hell yes I'll take the frankly comparatively reasonable UK PhD debt burden, which I'd assume to work towards a decently paying career I want, over years of scraping for any work that compensates me enough to make it worth doing it. I've given up on Odd Jobs after a string of 'I can get away with anything right now because there are ten people queuing for your shitty job' rip offs, disappointments, poor hours, and low pay coupled with high transport costs has shown these positions to be actually financially damaging. God help me if I were properly working class.

People who complain that academia pays nooothing in the UK are... kind of whining. I'm not saying this couldn't be better, but a starting salary of like 30,000 pounds? Is not nothing. Not to pain-weigh, but that's not poverty. In fact about five years of it, budgeted very carefully indeed, will pay off the worst graduate!uni debts I can incur here, should I not get any scholarships and should salary remain constant for that period. Paid off loan debts by about 33, 35, ready to think about kids? Sounds fine. Not ideal, but fine.

Yes, things could and should be better, and the US tenure scrabble is more desperate and sad than the UK one, but I think a LOT of the 'omg I have to be poor for years' moping comes from people whose parents were well-paid professionals, and who remember The Life Their Parents Had as it was in their *late teens*, right before they left the nest, rather than as it was in their own early childhoods, when their parents were struggling to make partner etc. and sometimes they really had to scrimp. That sort of fish-eye lens makes people unfairly judge themselves based on an unrealistic standard of accomplishment-for-this-stage-in-life and to feel that they and the places they work for come up wanting. Plus, given the recession and a generation's changing standards, you sort of have to accept that you probably won't be in your mom and dad's position at this age. My mom had her second child at this point, years-wise. My dad was about to hear he was going to have his first. They owned houses and cars and had decently paying Real Jobs. I don't know anyone in a similar position in my generation, because the people who've started their families young have sacrificed some of those other things, and no one's quite so Adult financially because they've had less opportunity to be. The easy-credit home-loans that facilitated my parents' rapid ascent into a higher tax-bracket aren't around.

The only way to not be part of the recession's Lost Generation, difficult as this is and as much as privilege counts in accomplishing it, is to attempt to plough through the lack of opportunities so you don't get fucked all over again when the recession's over. If recession!kids lack 'experience', younger people will leap-frog over them by getting a consistent string of jobs because times are better and they have immaculate 'normal-looking' CVs that make HR people breathe a sigh of relief because it's the sort of document they know how to deal with. So hell, if you can do it, why NOT make yourself formally qualified right now? You may hurt through your thirties and forties, but eventually boomers will free up positions and you'll do all right. It's a long game, but at least you're playing. The educational system will expand further as society comes to grips with the fait accompli that education is now a prerequisite for a base-line level of middle-class citizenship rather than a job-qualification as such, and as people have money to pay for that again.

3. How else is my UK visa going to work?

A real worry for me (but seemingly not legitimate, say smug application books, very comfortably). I could get the one-year leaver visa, but for what job? I could get married, but again, how would I keep myself? Applying's had little result re: securing me actual employment thus far. At least the universities I'm applying to have firmly promised teaching next year, and potential office work this year.
x_los: (Russian Church)
We were supposed to see Matilda in Seven-Dails-But-Not-The-Donmar-So-God-Knows-Where-This-Venue-Is tomorrow night, but they canceled it without warning us. They let us reschedule, but didn't email, apologize, or *offer* to reschedule us. Katy had to call them up to arrange things; she only knew something was amiss by looking at her credit card receipt. I am 80% sure that was an appropriate semi-colon use...

Last night in fit of madness asked Miles Richardson whether he was in an Innocent orange juice commercial that sounded suspiciously familiar. We'll see how *that* goes. Said something like 'Orange you in this? *link*' Love and hate self in equal measure. Not sorry.

An recommended these: http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2010/04/when-irish-eyes-are-smiling-little-baileys-cheesecakes-5-ingredients-10-minutes/ , and they sound v. nice. So did her other rec: http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/32364/Old-Fashioned-Soft-Pumpkin-Cookies/detail.aspx , but getting tinned pumpkin in the UK can be an annoyance.

I'm really enjoying this EP right now:

Recently just in the course of doing chores, and in an attempt on Sunday to have an actual 'day off' with Katy (didn't *really* work), I've been watching a lot of television.

Stuff I am into at the moment:

- Rewatching the old Our Mutual Friend with Paul McGann's Ridiculous Mustache. I mustache you not to laugh at it, it is a very serious facial hair statement. I love a good Dickensy funtime.
- Downton Abbey, which I recently found myself defending vociferously against charges that it was the opiate of the masses right before going 'wait WHAT, self?' I did not know I cared!
- Merlin, which has stolen Who's goodness with MAGIC!! or something in order to produce shockingly competent television, after having been in a slump for a good portion of last year. I'm pretty suspicious about last ep and don't know whether to take its Big Event as permanent, given the forces in play this series.
- Star Trek: Next Generation: Katy and I's rewatch has cleared mid Season Six, after stalling for like a week due to my unwillingness to watch horrible horrible shit happen to Picard. The ep wasn't quite as AWFUL as my childhood had painted it, and I think I built it up enough for Katy consequently to deaden the blow for her, which is for the best as Benny has, as Katy pointed out, filled our Reptile Empire Gratuitously Torturing Our Hero quota for all time. Chain of Command Part II is a successful and not, I think, unnecessary story about torture, in an Orwellian/1984 kind of way, but I sort of feel its messages lodged in me the first time I saw it and now its content seems a bit 'oh', not through any fault of its own.
- Sarah Jane Adventures: This series strong as usual. Quite sad I'll never learn more about The Captain, the best parrot!regeneration of a TL that ever there was. Also I want Luke and his new sister to bond properly, but I guess there's not any time.
- Top Hat: it's an old Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie that was on iplayer while I was making my marinade and doing dishes last night, and I don't know that I'd ever even him in anything before. Not quite finished, but so far rather clever and funny at points. Good random Gertrude Stein joke. Hate her writing. Three Lives destroyed my own will to liiiive. Is her Italian fashion designer friend supposed to be gay? If so, surprised they went there. If not, some of the jokes make less sense.

how to make vats of barbacoa pork, and other adventures )


Oct. 12th, 2011 01:29 pm
x_los: (OMG)
So, um, on Friday I got me MA thesis results back, and I got a Distinction. Not a very high one, but why quibble? I don't feel like the thesis didn't deserve it so much as I'm ASTOUNDED Goldsmiths bestirred themselves to give a fuck. Frustratingly, it seems more like random luck than the proportionate response to the work done. I don't feel like I learned anything really this year about how to perform academically (though I appreciated my readings and seminars and the new material they introduced me to or the old material they enhanced my appreciation of) and as such it's a bit difficult for me to really have a sense of pedagogical progression from my relentlessly 2.1 essays to my first!thesis, but you know what, what the fuck ever. My Overall grade will be probably a high 2.1, it can be no lower (there's a miracle!chance that weighting and exit-velocity grading will drag it to a first overall, but I'm not counting on it), with a first on the Thesis (which is the main component). It's not QUITE as well as I wanted to do or felt I showed willing to work for, but it's almost there, and now I have a real chance at entering better PhD unis/competing for funds.

Also I guess now I can post the final version of the thesis.



I realize you're trying to raise awareness of child abuse and garner funds to fight it. That's very worthy and good. But I can't watch some old Doctor Who on Dailymotion while doing dishes without your ads flickering demandingly at me. Said ads are pictures of sad small children and shifting words like 'burned' or 'beaten', or insults. It's certainly attention-catching, but as an abuse survivor, I find that uncomfortable and unnecessary. Also, as someone currently drastically under-employed, living off her student loans, I find the guilt-trip heartbreakingly pointless. Maybe recalculate the ad-formula.

Stuff I Have Been Doing Since Friday )
x_los: (Avatar)

We visited, debated about, and finally got a new cat Saturday. He's mostly hidden in wardrobes, terrified of us, the horrible changes wrought in its life (all eleven months of which had pretty much been spent in three small council flat rooms--he's always been an Indoor cat) and, weirdly, of DOORS (they are the worst things, apparently). He's easing up--LOVED the ribbon and bauble necklace/cat toy I made out of discarded cracker wrappings last Christmas yesterday, today willing to sit on the bed with us for before-bed tv. Cat FUCKING LOVES Downton Abbey and Star Trek--less interested in Sarah Jane and Red Dwarf. This is a cat with super-decided tastes--really INTENTLY watched Downton, sat on the bed with us for Trek, but then Katy put on Red Dwarf and it 'bitch please'd and jumped off. It was a very TV night, as Katy and Jo were exhausted from the wedding reception she went to last night, and I was exhausted from the cat waking me up at 4am with a FRANTIC NEED!! to explore the landing, and Molly calling to chat/prolong my awake!agony.

Here are some pics the previous owner took: http://www.gumtree.com/p/pets/male-cat-for-free-to-a-good-home/88885166#gallery-item-full-5 . We chose him largely based off his stupid face. His previous owner called him Sasa, but said he's never responded to it. I am reluctant to change his name if he knows/likes this one at all, but if he doesn't respond to it for a few weeks, I guess we'll have to try and find something he shows some evidence of liking/remembering. (And something cooler, tbh.)

Molly, my sister who is two and a half years my junior, recently announced she was two months pregnant. Mixed feelings on this. Happy FOR her, because she and her new husband really wanted it, and it's not my place to say 'that's not what I'd want and therefor it's an invalid thing TO want'. Also suspicious of having a baby at 23 (our mom and grandma still have her beat--Hill People/Old-Style Jew fusion, y'all) and what it'll do to her ability to do grad school and to do work she wants to do. Suspicious of her and Jake reproducing in, and thus being probably for a few years tied down to, our small town and batshit family therein, which is hardly the best child-rearing environment/environment for the two of them around.

And this is small and petty, but Molly having the BABY OMG BAAAAABY really REALLY overshadows anything I'm doing in our fam's eyes.

Example convo w/ my mom:

'Hey so I finished my thesis--'
'What is thesis? Is important? Is important like BAAAAAAAAAAAABY!!!?'
'I have been accepted by a few more advisors?'
'Will advisors give you BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!?'

'That's nice. Have you noticed the foetus? Now that's a legit life-achievement. By which I mean, BAAAAAAAABYYYYYYY.'

It's fine, I just sort of have to suck up having a family that's very unfamiliar with the benchmarks for achievement in any of the fields I'm working in, and is liable to respond to 'I finished my MA thesis' with 'what were you studying, again?' and 'So it's for practice and I'm not submitting it to anyone (I didn't say: because it's fic, but I consider fic a legit literary form, and this an achievement), but I finished a novel.' with 'Well, I guess I'd be happy if you were as famous as someone only slightly famous, like C.S. Lewis or something.' (Thanks, gay!daddy, for both gems) Or! 'I got accepted by four advisors, at UCL, Birkbeck, Queen Mary, and Marina Warner (with a Booker Prize and titles for being awesome) at (otherwise lame) Essex' with 'Well, it's not Oxford, is it. That's what people know in America, you know, and if you don't go there you'll regret it forever, like I regret not having gone to Yale for law when I was accepted.' (hat tip to bio!dad). Oy.

Officially quit the Tea Box, for NEVER giving me hours and being god-awful at communicating (and being a truly nasty place of work when I was there, due to the vile vile bosses). Good riddance to bad rubbish. Now have to go to bank and check deposit history to make sure Vile Boss paid me when she said she did, and go through my google calendar, any emails from them, and any conversations I had with Katy re: working overtime, because her estimate seems low (even knowing she lied about paying 8 an hour and actually pays 6, thanks for this hot tip, other fed-up employees) and is for July only (I think I also have unpaid shifts for June, potentially May). Not today though, I have like, actual shit I need to get done that doesn't involve double-checking this bitch over like 100 pounds max, because this is the sad little back-alley my working life has detoured into. I'm doing it, I'm just hating it.

Productivity Stuffs )


Sep. 22nd, 2011 02:49 am
x_los: (Avatar)
* (Last night) I made this, and it was weird, but worked: http://www.cheese-burger.net/recipes/cheeseburger-pizza-recipe.html
* (tonight) Also Allegra's new book's Japanese aubergines are a bit salty, go easy next time, and/or eat with pasta, as we ended up doing.
* Leon 3's potato rosemary double cream and mascarpone pizza: surprisingly delish! If weird and totally not pizza-tasting.
* I also did, last night, these figs (sans suggested sauce): http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-figs-with-red-wine-fig-sauce with this sauce (with dried figs in): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Wine-Poached-Figs-with-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-10721 . Worked quite well, but the oven-roasted figs seemed to burn/over caramelize. Perhaps do it at lower heat than suggested, or for less time.
* tomorrow: chili, veg and non, using up veggies before they go off, and old dried beans I found in cupboard
* also Persian dates (rehydrated, they needed rescuing/used/out of my cabinet) with mascarpone, orange blossom and rose water (cheap as anything at Olis)--dates can probably come a WHILE after dinner, as they're too light to immediately follow chili
* FAIR WARNING: I REFUSE to make rice for you barbaric English fucks. Chili doesn't go with rice. IT'S LIKE A STEW, NOT A CURRY. Make that abomination yourselves. I Pontius Pilate what you do with the chili I lovingly made you all, swear to christ.
* Friday: spanish torta, meaty, using up old sausage and bacon before they go off

Beans and dates soaking, they'll be fine over-night (I hope?).

Had a phone interview with a potential supervisor today, responded to Shalka auditions, and comments. Tired and out of it after late night family drama and making ALL THE SHALKA POSTS EVER/meeting w/ Bess, so didn't get MUCH more than cleaning, shopping for three days, talking to my little bro, cooking, mailing out Katy's package, sending off other people's misdirected mail, errands, and reading new emails re: school stuff done. Behind on laundry...

MUST contact potential supervisors tomorrow--and do other things. Must sleep now, reset sleep schedule, wake up with Katy, make coffee, put chili on for the day, clean, and start work before ten. Much to do--a day behind! :( Still okay for the schedule for the week, though, if I can just make tomorrow count.
x_los: (Russian Church)
**EDIT** Have you read this: http://norsekink.livejournal.com/3231.html?thread=6408607#t6408607 , a HILARIOUS Avengers fic wherein Steve *hates* text messaging? It's well lulzy.

Having accidentally stumbled across a very very pretty Thor fanvid for Set Fire To The Rain, I clicked over to [livejournal.com profile] norsekink, and er, in the past day I may or may have read like half of it? Wtf, I didn't even like that movie much.

Though I did lol at:

"Fact: Loki is God of Mischief

Fact: Sleipnir, a HORSE, is Loki's son.

Ergo, new fact: Sleipnir is, in fact, BAD HORSE!"--sure, why not? It makes as much sense as anything else re: magic horse babies.

This is just proof of the DESPERATE SHIT I will do to avoid PhD aps. Even opening the document labeled 'PhD meeting' with the names of people I need to *look up* to apply to as advisors fills me with nauseous fear. I REALLY need to woman up today--clean the kitchen and bedroom *briskly* and then get on with researching. I've wasted so much time this week just wall-staring. Not even like, procrastinating by watching something I want to watch, or getting personal writing done, but fuck all. I mean I've managed to get that review into the magazine I write reviews for, get registered to a conference, do Shalka shit and domestic chores, but it's under par. I don't know why applications are my kryptonite. I can't DO anything until I finish them, though, I know they're top priority. I have these letters to get out, Shalka edits to process, a script to write, and this week's job aps to do. Get a *grip*, woman.

Katy's cut her hair today: woe. It's her own choice, obviously, her body and all that, but I really really like her long hair, and am prepared to be sad/slip hair-growth hormones into her food surreptitiously. I'm sure it looks fine, too, just--long hair is so flowy/classic/romantic. I prefer it on self and others. When my aunt chopped off all my male baby cousin's
bright copper curls so he'd look more mannish I felt it was a crime against aesthetics.

Eating the red curry we made earlier, having some coffee. Then cleaning and Getting Ap Shit Done.
x_los: (Default)
* Made American Appetizer dinner for everyone:

Potato skins: http://www.chow.com/recipes/29404-basic-potato-skins
Jalapeno Poppers (finding peppers is SUCH a bitch in the UK, I swear, these totally weren't right, AND didn't cook thoroughly
enough--still tasty, if too spicy for the English): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/best-ever-jalapeno-poppers/detail.aspx
Breaded Mushrooms (while easy, these weren't actually very /good/, so maybe fuck Jamie Oliver): http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/member-recipes/Breaded%20Mushrooms%20with%20Aioli/1431
Buffalo wings (cheated and used pre-made chicken tenders from Iceland b/c SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying chicken. Shame. Also bought bread crumbs pre-made for the mushrooms. No longer respect myself):http://www.chow.com/recipes/28068-easy-buffalo-wings

* Still had to go like to four grocery stores though. Annoying errandful day--had to talk to fam, make a lot of food, do a lot of shopping, clean, do laundry, find and instal a water filter, deal with my Uni re: that cultural studies grade, email Kasia about a council tax exemption and the tenant for the downstairs, return to the post office all the mail for people who no longer live here, get deadbolt keys cut for Katy and Jo, blah. Felt very low and incapable of affect--read stuff trying to feel something, but no dice. Found it very difficult to work in that state--I couldn't really like things enough to have an opinion on them/sense what worked. I mean it's fine, I'll do the work tomorrow, my schedule's largely fine, but was annoyed.

* I really hope this isn't a crushing depression I managed to wrestle down because I didn't have time for it while I was getting this degree reasserting itself. I do not really have time for that bullshit, I have so much STILL to do.

* Saw Just a Minute being taped with Katy last night. Host had amazing navy blazer with white pinstripes. Sue is a love, as is Julian. Quite like Paul Merton. Feel increasingly that I could and would like to play that game (possibly at parties?! And you know, for the shittonnes of money to be had at the beeb...ha). Perhaps should practice. Also I want, at some point in the Shalka!series, Nine to have been captured during the war, and after six months, having worn down the initial refusal of the bored Daleks left guarding him, for him to have taught the Daleks the rules so they could play together, occasionally shouting DEVIATION! DEVIATION!! and THAT WAS NOT HESITATION! THAT IS JUST HOW DALEKS SPEEEEAK!

* Re: the Cultural Studies thing (several more emails with my BELOVED Breda to get this info *eyeroll*--this is like the new Many Bothans Died): they DID grade that other paper!! A seemingly high (got told generally by a secretary rather than given an exact number) 2.1 (or B+/A-), so not ideal, but it's been graded rather than like, eaten. So woooo. So surprised it's not going to be like, a SAGA. I feel the paper (which getting the necessary info out of them TO write, and then having to entirely re-write it with no notes when my computer crashed, in the face of a TON of shit from them about getting any extension) was more a 1 paper, and am as usual frustrated by their failure to communicate standards, the absence of pedagogic progression (for me, but also any INTEREST in this, from them), the absence of any sense of accountability on their part, the seeming poverty of their academic practice, etc., but I'm so fucking worn down I'm just glad to be out, and however bad the thesis grade is, at least now, due to weighting, I have at LEAST an unshakable 2.1. This is probably what the over-all grade will be. Not what I wanted, what I worked for, what I was willing to work for, what I was capable of, reflective of how (very) well I did in my actual courses/seminars, or what I NEEDED for the places and scholarships I wanted to compete for, and brain-meltingly frustrating, and potentially even actionable, but here we fucking are. Katy said "I wish you hadn't been so beaten by them. You deserve so much better." and that was sweet, but I'm so ground-down now that I don't even know if that's true.

But I guess that's pretty much--it. REALLY it. My year in hell is over. You can all call me Master now. Ohyes.

* Builders coming tomorrow--will have to get out of the house and work elsewhere for that.

* In funnier news, here is a tale of my little sister and my old/her current high school mascot, the Bruin (aka a bear):

meghan: btw im the mascot
im bringing sexy back
hard core

me: wait
you're--the bruin?

meghan: yep
ikr its hot ohhh just so much sexy in one bruin suit

me: Meg
Meg what?
did you VOLUNTEER to be in this bear suit?

meghan: yah its cool

me: *shakes head*

meghan: the hottest guy at school is my partner for games its hot

me: what is he, another mascot?

meghan: yah we do it for only half a game because its so hot in the suit

me: this is the saddest story

Apparently when she said 'it's hot' she means 'VERY LITERALLY'.

* Need to calculate what people in the house owe me for groceries and suchlike also... and read the meter...

* Also, Southern Recipes Katy might like:

http://www.realcajuncooking.com/2010/07/cajun-meatloaf-with-mushrooms-video.html --in fact may check out this whole blog, as I know little about cajun cooking

* My sister Molly coached gay!daddy to call and congratulate me on my degree (you could here her prompting in the background). He didn't know I was getting a degree in English. FML. Bio!daddy made a fair attempt to convince me that he and my mother had tried to order my flowers and stuff!! He was a bit caught out when I was willing to wager good money that mom didn't even know my new address TO send flowers, but rolled with it gamely. I appreciated the credibility of the attempt. Still, pft. My parents. Just wanted a damn card or some shit.

* Must remember to get Molly a birthday present...
x_los: (Default)
I have to acknowledge here, as I will in the actual thesis, the work of Jon, Katy, Nadja, Jade and innocentsmith in helping me work through bits of this essay. The current state is choppy as fuck, and I haven't had time to make all of Jon and Nadja's smaller revisions yet as I was mostly interested in getting the structure hammered together, but I can do, now that I'm posting. My friends are fucking invaluable and brilliant.

I'm still plugging in footnotes and seeking/plugging in quotes, but this is D3 of the paper due at the end of next Friday. I'm still open for MAJOR revisions, but problematically, even w/out the quotes and footnotes all in place, it's already 2,000 over, so I'm going to have to majorly shave flab to win the ability to squeeze in anymore points. Already a long discussion of how stupid anti-Stratfordians sound and the X-Men films' discussion of 'mutant' status as homosexuality have been ditched, not to mention an illustrative point about the Eight audio "Living Legend" and the Eleven episode "The Lodger".

I figure I'll accommodate any comments form y'all, the quotes and footnotes, maybe some prose tidying from Katy, and the PhD student's comments when she gets back to me, and have D4 up in a few days, in time for Katy and the Intarwebz to vet it before it goes to my supervisor for a check (so D5 and D6/Final, I guess).

Draft 3 )


Apr. 22nd, 2011 08:53 pm
x_los: (OMG)
Does anyone know anywhere around London what does Mac data recovery? My hard drive died with no warning at all, and I've had to go to the Mac Store to get a new one. Old!hard-drive took my finished paper with it, and all my writing.


x_los: (Default)

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