I hate conference submission season

I never seem to know when to quit. This year, I have submissions for:

1. A Boston Conference (two papers, one on West Wing, Arthurian myths, and political opportunities, the other on Doctor Who, biothreat, and First Contact)
2. BNC (Four papers, two of them new--memory and the First World War / Spanish Influenza, and public health blogging communities as academic enterprises--plus reworkings of the NE papers for a panel on pop culture and one on teaching IR and science fiction)
3. Other BNC (this September, Priya and I are doing a poster session of the blogging paper; no idea what I'm submitting for next year, but the proposals are due this summer. If I'm smart, I'll submit something that requires me to do serious work on the diss before September 2007.)
4. Three other small conferences, one on pop culture stuff, one on public health, and one in NYC on identity and digital technology.
5. I really *ought* to submit to British BNC, but can't think about it at the moment; same for a regional systems conference that I skipped last year and then got asked about.

Basically, the only one I'm missing is the big SDS conference in Europe this July. I can't teach and go to the conference, and I'll probably be too exhausted by the end of the month to get anything useful out of it. That's what I'm telling myself, at least. Otherwise I feel like a slacker because I *know* that I ought to be there, but I just couldn't bring myself to send something in.

[You knew those titles were temporary, right? Because of the whole "pretending to be anonymous" thing.]

Why yes, I am writing conference abstracts today

pleonasm: the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea.


What's this? A link to a research-relevant article?

Surely it isn't so! This link couldn't possibly lead to an article in Slate about bacteriophages.

Also, when I pause iTunes, Adium tells people I'm quiet. I can hear Serena laughing from here at that possibility.

Filed under cool but useless

Can I have this? Pretty please?

The occasional post of substance would not go amiss

Sadly, I have nothing to offer but linkage. And not even fantastic Doctor Who linkage; rather, a livejournal penned by none other than that godfather of the pathologically depressed, Haml3t. It's just getting started, but oh, it's funny. Good stuff. Go read it.

Sure, Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog, but this is pure emo!genius.

I'm going to turn off the lights, light a candle, and write depressing poetry in my little black book over in the corner.

Oh fuck. The stupid servant came in again. CAN'T THEY SEE I'M TRYING TO BE DEPRESSED AND ALONE?!

Oh. She wants to bandage me up.

Wait, I do have some content. It's not as exciting as Our War for Human Rights (which, for the record, I don't carry everywhere. Just yesterday I left it in the living room while I went to the kitchen for a snack. I am not obsessively attached to a 90-year-old book. Honest. I can't put it down *anytime I want.* I just don't want to.) But still, it's some comments on life in general, and my particular life in, um, particular.

Things I learned today:

1. One of the ambassadors is arranging his chapters chronologically. The other is tackling the subject matter thematically. Guess whose job it is to get the two parts to flow coherently?

2. Any section for which I complete the footnotes will, inevitably, be cut from the next draft. Three times is a pattern, folks. A pattern that says, "hey, stupid, wait to write the footnotes until the draft is finished." Sure, I'm wearing a striped sweater and a flowered skirt, but that doesn't mean I can't recognize a pattern.

Well, maybe it does. Because I'm not supposed to wear stripes with flowers, am I? Damn it. At least my shoes are cute. And the skirt matches the new ink. Not that I chose it for that reason. That would be silly.

3. People don't believe it when you call one person, find out they're in a meeting with someone else, and then claim to be working hard on something you owe to the someone else. Don't know why it doesn't work, but it doesn't. It's possible I didn't really sell the "working hard" bit. Could be the laughing. Could be that I answered with "are you working all afternoon?" and "I'll call you later, then."


4. The stars seem to be aligning in order for me to attempt a comp this summer. Hooray. Sure, the one time the bureaucracy works, it's in furtherance of me adding one more thing to the To Do List of Perdition. *sigh.*

5. Adium plays the title and artist from iTunes as my status message. This would be cooler if I weren't trying to force myself to enjoy the shuffle feature. Excrutiating, but I had forgotten how much I like Ben Lee. So this could be useful. As long as the people on my IM list don't assume that I listen to Styx all the time.

And the new Goo Goo Dolls album is much better than it has any right to be. I'm sure they sucked before. Didn't they?

6. It's much easier to control the randomness when I'm not taking any sort of medications. I think I even make sense. Not so much here, but in conversation. A to B to C to podcasting. Even if my sentence constructions are a bit wonky because I was up until 4:30 this morning editing a draft written by a native speaker of Russian. And hanging out on livejournal, where no one says three words when twenty-five will do.

Only, I just realized that I meant to talk about Collingwood and why the lectures I suggested won't work after all, because no one else has read The Idea of History. And also, the part about how much easier it would have been if someone else had asked why my cohort wouldn't argue in class. And there was one more thing, but it's gone again.

See, here I can accept the randomness. Become one with the randomness. Inflict the randomness on you, Loyal Reader.

7. How is it possible to estimate IQ based on standardized school testing? Has Mensa never heard of Kaplan? Also, apparently law school made me dumber. It made me very good at analysis, but bad at math. And math = smart, while analysis = sitting inside on a sunny day reading pre-Spanish Influenza propaganda.

And listening to the Gin Blossoms. And trying not to sing along. Maybe it wasn't law school that lowered my IQ, after all.

[ETA: I don't suppose that I could convince you that my inability to spell is a function of my keyboard? Didn't think so.]


Because I know there are comics!geeks lurking out there

A link to the 50 greatest Marvel characters. Now with snark! It's democracy in action, folks.*

A quote, just for Priya:
33. Cyclops, Scott Summers
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The irritatingly dependable solid core of the X-Men, Scott Summers is basically Dr Jack from Lost - serious, manly, handsome and authoritative, but with all the personality of a Microsoft paperclip. "I see that you're fighting a Sentinel. Would you like to hurl Wolverine at its head while Iceman impedes its progress?" I can only assume the mutant boy scout placed at number 33 in this list by sheer force of nostalgic inertia.
* No, I'm not linking to this because it has a CE reference. That's a bonus.

When a deadline looms, blogposts multiply exponentially

As you can tell by this weekend. God help me if I ever actually get to the stage of dissertation writing.

Today, the Birthday meme. Because I haven't done it before, and my birthday isn't coming soon. And did I mention the deadline? The one that's looming?

Go to Wikipedia.

Type the month and day of your birthday (but not the year) into the search box.
Review the results, and pick out three events, two births, and one death. Post your results.


▪ 1794 - Whiskey Rebellion begins: Farmers in the Monongahela Valley of Pennsylvania rebel against the federal tax on liquor and distilled drinks.

▪ 1945 - President Harry Truman announces the successful bombing of Hiroshima with an atomic bomb while returning from the Potsdam Conference aboard the heavy cruiser USS Augusta (CA-31) in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

▪ 1964 - Vietnam War: The U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving US President Lyndon B. Johnson broad war powers to deal with North Vietnamese attacks on American forces.


▪ 1560 - Elizabeth Báthory, Hungarian serial killer (d. 1614)
▪ 1966 - Jimmy Wales, American founder of Wikipedia


▪ 1957 - Oliver Hardy, American comedian and actor (b. 1892)


Some thoughts on the weekend

It is entirely possible to lounge on a sofa all day (Saturday), with frequent trips to the kitchen to replenish one's appetite. In fact, it's fun to eat even when not hungry because you have loads of healthy food (for once) and the fridge is stocked with fantastic stuff only available after a long trek to Silver Spring's Thai Store.*

Lounging on said sofa allows one to read five books, none of which are guaranteed to make you intellectually superior to anyone else, if that is your aim. Me, for instance, I managed to read Eragon (which I'd never read till now. Yes, I know it's a children's book. So's HP); something I already returned to the library so I can't remember what it was called, except that Canada ruled the world and the people (unsurprisingly?) wanted to rise up against that; The Concept of the Political (it's thin and written by a Nazi-sympathising Catholic. Fits right in with Canada taking over the world somehow); Blindsighted (mainly because I'm a sucker for thrillers/mysteries but this one was rather gory in bits, even for me); A vampire one which was really bad because it had vampires hatching out of eggs--yuck. I'd saved this till the last since, as all PTSD readers should know, vampires are fantastic. I, probably in the minority of one, rather liked the film Van Helsing. It did help that VH had not one but three** of my favourite Australians in it.

Then today, topping off the weekend by watching X3. X3 was actually extremely good fun--great special effects, not too much emoting, loads of people dead and dying, inconsistencies which are then talking points after the film ends, heaps of special powers (I'm not spoiling it for readers if I mention Frasier from the telly plays a Mutant version of the Tasmanian Devil). I'm all ready to go watch it again when LilSis gets here. She's not here yet since she apparently missed the only bus from small town to big city. Did I mention she's the organised one in the family?

Eating some more. This time, it wasn't Thai snacks but home-cooked chicken and potato salad and cake and ice cream at E's place. The cats are probably tired of this constant company by now. Oh, and the Doctor, of course. I find it hard to actually criticise much of the news Doctor probably just because I'm so blasted happy to have the show back on so I like pretty much anything. Of course, there was the old Doctor on telly last night where Doctor 3 beat off pterodactyls with a mop and messed around in broom cupboards with the Brigadier. Not much has changed, you might say, except the pterodactyl is now a hungry alien woman in a TV and the Brigadier is probably Rose. RFD shouted a lot but the TV woman was still creepy enough and the 1950s prettiness was well done (where was the grime and the pollution and the traffic and the crowds of London? I always thought Cardiff was a much cleaner city and the new DW shows this every episode).

I also just received an email from Workshop in SmallTownVA folks telling us, among other things, that the dress code would be "casual" but that we were expected to wear "business formal" for two dinners and "pants" for the field trips. I would have thought pants would be necessary, no matter what one was wearing (I shall not mention E's comment about Logan's costume in X3).

Back to Conference-ing now and trying to decide if it's worth it to submit a paper abstract for BigNameMeeting 2007 on a topic which has nothing to do with my actual dissertation or just stuff it and be present, if all goes well, as an observer rather than as a participant. I've got a couple of days to decide so will think on it.

* Said trip is also useful because SS accomplishes many tasks in one visit--Thai Supermarket, excellent Thai restaurant, a bookstore with loads of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Thriller books, a store with cheap yet comfy shoes and clothes, two Cinemas and a BigNameBookstore.

** Hugh Jackman, David Wenham and Richard Roxburgh. Yes, I do watch far too much television.

You really ought to just bookmark this

But in case you don't, this week's link to nostalgia-lj and the screencap recap.

In which the caps lock key becomes stuck, and the preview for next week is noticed.


My only comment for this week is that Rose has the Greatest Shoes Ever. And DT shouts rather a lot, which creates uneasy parallels with the father that we're not supposed to like. So that's three comments, if you count the one I made when we rewatched it about how, even if he's abusive and domineering and close-minded and a bit of an ass and shouts a lot, he's still a father. And you can't just walk away from that. Rose is sometimes smarter than she ought to be, and I think this is one of those times.

[ETA: That skipping thing that's been happening in all the new episodes? It didn't start this series. The first one is in PotW, when the Doctor (my favorite Doctor, I mean) doesn't use the delta wave. There's a hitch that I called an editing error over at OG. But honestly, who leaves an editing error in a series finale?

And once is an error, but every episode this season? Sometimes a pattern really is a pattern, for whatever reason. And always at a moment of choice, from what I can remember of the last few episodes. I'll have to go back and take another look.

At the very least, it's something to think about, especially with the rumors of someone coming back at the end of the current series.]

Sometimes you find the quiz, and sometimes the quiz finds you

I swear I didn't rig this. I haven't even seen half of these Doctors.*

You scored as 9th Doctor. Running from the past but deadly when faced with it you where leather jackets and will fight to the end.

9th Doctor


10th Doctor


1st Doctor


3rd doctor


4th Doctor


5th Doctor


7th Doctor


a Dalek




2nd doctor


8th Doctor


6th doctor


What Doctor Who character are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

* Although we did see part of the Invasion of the Dinosaurs last night. I like the Brigadier. He snarks at the Doctor.

And is is it possible that Elizabeth Sladen actually ages backwards, like Merlin? because I swear she looks older with the Third Doctor than she does with the Fourth.


I know, I should be working

Or at least cleaning the house. But how cool is this? That's right, very cool. I can't wait until July.

[ETA: Also fantastic: this. Enter your own page here. Via Pharyngula.]

Saturday randomness

This time, music. Because this *isn't* a Friday random ten, and because I love Gravity Kills beyond all reasonable estimations of their actual talent, you get eleven.*

1. Shoplifters Of The World Unite, The Smiths (I need to call Amy. Maybe this afternoon.)
2. Forever Young, The Pretenders (I think my parents are flying home today. This is one of my mom's favorite songs. This, and If I Had $1,000,000. She's much cooler than her midwestern-ness would imply.)
3. American Wake, Black 47 (Love, loss, and longing. One of my all-time favorite songs. Yes, I sing along.)
4. Naturaleza Muerta, Sarah Brightman (I think this is in Spanish, and so I ought to know what the hell she's singing. But it could be Italian. That would explain the confusion.)
5. See The Constellation, They Might Be Giants (Who doesn't enjoy a little TMBG on a Saturday morning?)
6. Smoke, Ben Folds Five (Poor Ben Folds. His life is so harsh. You can tell, because his music is emo.)
7. Tomorrow, Wendy, Concrete Blonde (Yes, I *really* need to call Amy. Thank you, iTunes, for reminding me again. I also ought to buy hair dye. This song is still all about the college goth memories.)
8. Superhuman, Gus Gus (The greatest band that nobody's ever heard of. Well, third greatest.)
9. El Distorto De Melodica, Everclear (Pretentious, yet peppy. Much like TFG.)
10. I Fought the Law, The Clash (There are no words. Worship The Clash!)
11. Forward, Gravity Kills (I've already mentioned my fanatical and irrational adoration of this band, right? Good.)

* Did I mention that I've got a new applescript for Adium? That lists the iTunes track that my computer is playing as my status message? I don't know why I'm so entertained by it, but I am. I keep asking Shannon to open his window so that I can watch the song change.

[x-posted to LJ]


Sometimes, the universe gives you a bit of entertainment

Well, the panels are done. I've decided that I *can* have too much of a good thing, and so the third NE paper (the only one really related to my diss topic) is chucked in favor of looking for a smaller conference to present it at, maybe in early spring.

As a break, I've been carrying on with listing our books in LibraryThing. I've talked about it before, probably. And there are random titles from our library floating over there in the sidebar.

Anyway, a few minutes ago I switched over to check a title, and found out that I just crossed the 1000 book mark. The latest entries?

999. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus
1000. Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics
1001. Andrew Abbott, Chaos of Disciplines

Don't tell me the universe doesn't have a sense of humor. These books didn't even start out next to each other on the bookcase. They just ended up in the pile that way.

Friday's bloglink of goodness

Conference proposals are due today, I just picked up 300+ pages that need to be edited by Monday. I have a comp to negotiate and schedule, a lecture to digitally record, and chicken barbeque and potato salad to make for the Sci-Fi Geektastic Sunday.* My syllabi for summer still aren't done, and the house is a mess.

There will be no serious posting from me until sometime next week. S has even gone out golfing in an effort to avoid my impending stress-induced psychotic break.

So I offer you, Loyal Reader, a blog link. Because who doesn't wonder where the nerd girls are?

* Oh yes, it has a name now. A 2:15 showing of X-Men, the new Doctor Who (about evil televisions, which is strangely appropriate), unhealthy food, and the possibility of board games and ps2. Really, there's nothing else we could call it. The question is, do I send out actual e-vites and turn it into a party, or just wait to see who shows up?


Formatting issues and the weekly Doctor Who viewing

Right, sorry about the messiness of the images in the last two posts. This one should serve two purposes: it'll shift the previous posts down the page so that the photos won't overlap with our sidebar, and serve as a temptation for you, Loyal Reader, to show up for the weekly Doctor Who viewing.

This week we're prefacing Doctor Who with a group trip to see X3 on Sunday afternoon. Then, it's back to the apartment for The Idiot Lantern. It'll be a good time, everyone's got Monday off, and who *doesn't* want to hang out with Priya, S, IntLaw, and me? And beer?

What? You say that's not enough? Well, did I mention that we also have actual, you know, food? For instance: dinner last week was baked chicken with lemon and parsley, fresh gnocchi with a caramelized onion sauce, crispy green beans, and chocolate cake.

It looked like this:


I'm not sure what we're having this week, but I can almost guarantee that it will be better than sitting around eating ramen and cursing the impulse to apply to grad school. So, whaddaya say?

Notes on a prospectus defense, part two

E: Okay, they do understand that it isn’t all about Levels of Analysis, right? That there are bits of IR other than that? What the hell difference does what it leaves out make? AARRGGHH!!! Should have drawn terrorism menacing the faculty.


P: Yes, The Briefer had it easy!

Historical / everyday *use*. How tough is *that* to get?

E: Okay, seriously, there’s a difference between categories for analytic purposes and Class, Race, Gender as things to be analyzed. Why is this confusing?!?

P: I don’t get it either! Also, C, R, G, E are not things out there! They can be analytic categories. Have decided RS is good at this! But, He Who Must Be Named is *so* going to hate my paper. :)

E: Shit. Must stop smirking. A committee member is trying to figure out what I find so amusing.

P: Oh, he’s been smirking, too.


E: RS *so* wants to say, “I reject your reality, and substitute my own!”

P: J I’ve read his proposal—he does answer this. Liked how he just talked over He Who…what’s the difference between a Real and Fake person??

[He Who…asks about RS’s intellectual heroes. He is not being at all sardonic.]

E: My intellectual hero is Eric Idle. Just for the record.

P: Damn you! I’m going to get in trouble for that snigger!

Yay! He said guys!! (Which they are!)—Good answer J

E: Only The MacGeek is okay with the pragmatic use of theorists. Shouldn’t the others have mentioned these issues before? (Also, I get the feeling RS’s proposal is the Philosopher’s Song in 20 pages).

P: It is! He does not mention all these people there. This is a tough-ish defense.


E: The Bowler: “One could say that war is the American trope.” One could, but why would one want to when it’s been said so often and isn’t all that interesting / useful?

P: I just think that most of them want a REAL, TRUE picture.

E: Ya think? Other than The MacGeek, who’s probably chatting online.

P: No, he’s typing all the ? and all the answers (that’s what he did for me). Now, The Bowler and He Who… are fighting? Yahoo!!

E: He’s clearly not going to the same parties I do, if he thinks people don’t talk about class.

P: I think maybe neighborhood watch people don’t?

E: Ha! Yes they do.

P: Damn, I could have answered the Foucault-Tilly question!!

E: Throw all the dead white guys in a room, give them clubs, and see who wins. *That’s* how to pick a methodology. Last DWG standing is the one to follow.

P: It’d probably be a pragmatist. Or Hobbes. Hobbes wins everything always. Unless Foucault sneakily hides in the loo and pops out to say “boo” at the end.

E: Rorty probably fights dirty. Plus, he has the advantage of not being dead.

Fucking bowling leagues. Again.

[As Priya reads this note, Putnam is invoked. Much like a Greek god. Or great-aunt Marge.]

P: Bowling alone. Let’s send The Bowler to Bowl Alone.

[Elizabeth doesn’t quite laugh at loud at this comment]

E: Yeah, that cough was *so* not convincing. SOLIDARITY! Woo hoo! Solidarity and bowling! And beer!!

P: Bloody Leftist propaganda.

[An audience member asks when the ethnographer knows he has enough information from his research.]

E: The Voice of God cries “Stop! You have enough data!” And then he blows up something. And then you stop. Seems simple enough.

Notes on a prospectus defense, part one

Some of our readers will know the context for this. The rest of you will just have to make something up. Do note the helpful illustrations, which I have scanned from the original notes.

We sat quietly and calmly for the first 35 minutes of this defense. Eventually, though, the snark potential reached critical mass, and I was forced to choose between passing a note to Priya or watching my brain crawl out my ear and break a window to escape. Things went swimmingly for the first thirty minutes. Then everything went a bit pear shaped.

E: So maybe not so much with the tattoo not showing when I wear pants. Should have checked that, I guess.

P: :)

E: Interesting crowd dynamic in here—six white guys and us.

P: At least the white guys are not *all* dead. Debatable?

E: That’s true—but no chance of any of them being mistaken for terrorists at a neighborhood watch meeting.

P: Apparently, I could be.

[One committee member begins asking a Question that Never Ends]

(What’s this bloke on about?)

E: “The practice of terrorism in a suburban neighborhood.” This would be what? Poisoned Girl Scout cookies? Gangs of suicide soccer moms? That guy on the corner who refuses to mow his grass on Sunday, so it’s always the wrong length?

P: Why don’t we *all* have this bloke on our panel? No need to answer questions! I thought the project was about using / noting what terrorism did in specific situations—this guy seems to be doing “what is terrorism?”

[The committee member finishes asking the Question that Never Ends. It lasted 4.5 minutes. Felt like an hour.]

E: I have no idea what this guy is talking about, really. Hey, did you get The MacGeek’s cd to him yet?


P: Yes, *did*. The MacGeek’s on my team now since he likes 2nd season Doctor episodes. J

RandomStudent (RS) could *blast* him about knowledge as perspective, etc. Silly bloke on the phone! As if knowing Arabic would lead to a complete picture. Bah.

E: Seems to think that there’s some way to get at what “terrorism” really is—but that quote from RS’s proposal makes it clear that he doesn’t. This could be bad.

P: I can see trouble brewing for RS, what with The One Who Must Be Named and this bloke (in the future). “Political tactic”? NOT generalizable!!

At least he talks on and on…

E: Oh my god, this guy is a nightmare. Other than the question thing. Does he have a point?

P: Okay, I want to help out now (but not sure how). Should say not *generalizable*--the bloke seems to think it is! I can see trouble looming in the future.



The Sun Does Set on Globalization

A tidbit as I slog away at formatting the bibliography for my (blasted) paper:

The dictionary for OpenOffice*, which I use, does not recognise the word "Globalisation". Or, it's its** American variant "Globalization".

I am liking this programme more and more.

* Recommended for use by E, as I was panicking since my easy access to cheap software has been drastically reduced after moving from Thailand to the USA.

** Oh, the horror! I shall flagellate myself with Strunk and White just for that.

I would know how to recognise a witch

I wouldn't ever say "Australia Rules" though.

What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?

G'day, you're Bruce! You think like a philosopher, especially after you've had a few cold ones...Australia RULES!
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

A literary blogquiz?

Picked this up somewhere, but I have no idea where.

Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?

You're Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen!
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

On the perils of French theorists

Or at least referencing them. Off you go, read Jeremy Freese.

Of course, as my intellectual hero is Eric Idle, I will never have this problem. I have the ready-made adjective, Pythonesque. As in, "this defense is positively pythonesque. Let's go get a beer."


Shopping and Ice Cream

First off, congrats to yet another TUWSNBN student who has successfully defended his prospectus. For those of you keeping score at home, I am now officially two years behind. But that is neither here nor there. It only matters because, had I not gone to his defense, I would not have been in the shoe store at 6:30 tonight, after dinner and celebratory beers. And Priya and I would not have decided to wander Bethesda in search of a bookstore that we knew was around somewhere.

Which we finally found, and because I didn't buy a pair of shoes, I treated myself to some lovely used books. For half off (the whole store was on sale! All the books! For very, very little money! I will tell you exactly how much money, and you will be jealous! And you will want to know where this store is! But I will not tell you, because I do not want you buying the books!)

Now happily waiting for a home on our bookshelves (and yes, there is a frighteningly long wait for shelf space):

Shoaf's edition of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. I think this was the universe apologizing to me for the five shelves of medieval lit and history that I sifted through, only to find that not one of the books was in the original language. Not one. They had all been translated into modern English. Even the Chaucer and the primary source collections. Even my old standby for long train rides, Gawain and the Greene Knight. I don't understand--if it's been translated, it's hardly a primary source. T and C was on the other side of the store, misfiled under drama. I only recognized it because it's the same edition I read in college. I love this poem. And it was $4.25. I can't believe someone else hadn't already bought it.

Hanning and Ferrante's The Lais of Marie de France. Also not with the rest of the medieval lit. Translated from the French, but it's a good translation and pretty faithful to the original poems. Another old favorite, and one I've missed reading. Given the choice between spending $1.50 on a cup of coffee, and "Bisclavret," I'm going to go with the one about the werewolf.

In retrospect, I should have held on to more of the medieval poetry I read in college, because I've started to pull themes out of it for other writing. Nothing says "respect my authority!" like 12th century French love poetry.

Also, it makes me happy. There is little talk of causation in medieval literature. Things just happen, and people get on with it. Sometimes totally contradictory events happen to the same people. This is okay. No one is bothered by it. Everyone continues with the fighting and the falling in love and the venturing out into the forest in search of a good story.

Although, for the record, I think I'd have relocated Camelot after the fourth or fifth knight went to the corner store for milk and never came back. Maybe that's just me. The cost of replacement horses alone must have been staggering.

Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death. This is specifically for papers I'm submitting to upcoming conferences. Also, no self-respecting academic goes through life without a copy of this book to throw at undergrads. Not when you can own it for $2.50.

Le Blanc's A Short History of the Working Class. I had been looking for this, but the chain stores don't seem to carry it, and I've used up my Amazon allowance for, oh, about the next decade. At $6.25, it narrowly beat out a copy of How to Succeed at Globalization, which has entertaining cartoons but not very much informational value.

Dakota, by Kathleen Norris. I've just realized that I may already own this. I know I have the rest of her books, but can't remember if I bought this or checked it out from the library. I really ought to figure that out. Oh well--I can always send the extra copy to my mother.

Greenberg and Olander's International Relations through Science Fiction. Words cannot describe how brilliant this is. Not the book itself, which is good but not fabulous. But the fact of its existence. That 30 years ago, someone put together a collection of science fiction, added some analysis of things like balance of power, arms control, and the art of diplomacy, and published it brings me glee the likes of which I cannot describe. I would have paid much more for it than $1.25. And also? The LoC category says "International Relations--Fiction." Heh.

But that's not the best bit. Oh no, it gets even better. Hidden among the children's books, in a back room, next to the crafty how-to crap, are the old ratty not-quite-antique books. And there, for the criminally low price of $4.00, was a 1917 copy of Our War for Human Rights, by Frederick E. Drinker. (Who was the Well-Known and Popular Writer, Author of "The Lusitania, etc.") I can't describe it better than the original subtitle:

"An Intensely Human and Brilliant Account of the World War and For What Purpose America and the Allies Are Fighting. Including The Horrors and Wonders of Modern Warfare, The New and Strange Devices that Have Come into Use, etc."

And, just in case you're still on the fence: "Fighting for the Rights of Mankind and for the Future Peace and Security of the World." Don't forget, it's "Illustrated with 128 genuine pictures from recent official photographs, also outline map drawings made especially for this volume."

And that's just the title page. I haven't even told you about the Lustful Cruelty of the Germans or the Varied Occupations of Women or Chemistry in the War. Words fail me, even though Uncle Sam was Not Bothered. Long have I coveted this book. I have made visits back to my undergraduate institution in order to visit their copy, so that I could reread passages regarding the Dakin-Carrel wound-flushing system and picturesque Turkey.

What? It was for a paper. Honestly. Well, mostly. Did I mention the cover? With its silver leaf and shiny torch of goodness? First edition, people.

No, Loyal Reader, you may not borrow it. But if you ask very nicely, I might let you hold it and peer at the photo-illustration of Newton Baker drawing the first draft number. Maybe.


Socialism online

I'm still re-reading my paper and discovering the many many ways it can be better and how unready it is to be sent off. I've got 58 minutes left. I think that's enough time for one more read-through.

I shall later post on how one may well start to write a paper but end up writing a completely different one, with a different argument and different, if I may call it, results. I had a clear image in my head what this paper would be like when I started it but when I was writing it, it ended up being something else. The end product needs a lot of polishing but it's something I'm well-pleased with. It has a rather "funky" argument along my usual line of "SuperF Rocks", which really is an easy conclusion to get to. But, I manage to slag off a whole bunch of hot new theorists along the way. As I was telling E yesterday, most of the questions that I would like to ask and most of the answers I would like to give were already asked (and given) by SuperF so why bother with much else?

Right now, do please entertain yourselves by checking out how socialists actually have a good sense of humour. The entire Socialist Register is online and available for your reading pleasure. I can't wait to be done with my paper so I can start reading Socialist Register 1997: Ruthless Criticism of all that exists.

Via Crooked Timber

Hurrah for Google

Who have a brilliant icon for today (22 May, 2006) commemorating the birthday of one of my favourite writers.

Yes, I really should be writing but now want to go off and read some Holmes and Watson adventures.


Life goes on

In-between frantically finishing off 50-page paper. It's due tomorrow. I wonder if that means midnight? I'll liberally interpret it that way.

Watching the new Doctor episode--the second part of the Cybermen. Could RFD look any more fanciable in those glasses? Yes, well, add a tux. Let him do his "Oh, I'm so clever" dialogues. I don't even care about the many plots holes and inconsistencies anymore. Well, I do but I usually leave that for the second viewing.

Having a Jane Eyre moment. I was walking to the train station this morning when, from the top story of one of the apartment buildings near where I live, there was a scream. A woman ran out on to the balcony and started shouting (in some foreign language) and waving her arms. Instead of just thinking she was an absolute nutter (but then, who isn't?), all I could think of was the mad wife locked up in the garrett. I'm sure Mr Rochester was up to mischief somewhere nearby.

Eating home-cooked food. Half of PTSD (this half, in case it's not obvious by now) lacks culinary abilities. The other half happens to be a dab hand at cooking and made a gnocchi-in-a-marvellously-yummy-sauce dish. As an accompaniment to the cybermen, it was perfect.

Wanting to get a tattoo. After seeing E's, I was almost convinced I should get one too. Almost. Then, I remembered the only body modification I have occurred when I was too young (three days-old) to remember it and led to Dad feeling woozy and nearly dropping me. Not a good record for any future piercings or tattoos. I've offered LilSis2, who will be visiting on Memorial Day, as a sacrificial victim instead.

Choosing an avatar. I've decided to name myself Stryder*. This will be a joke that will only be funny to PTSD and that too only after copious amounts of alcohol, probably.

* Yes, Stryder with a "Y".


Adventures in buying sandwiches

I just took a break from last-minute working on 50-page paper (really better not to ask how it's going) to go get nourishment.

In the course of my getting a sandwich, the sandwich-maker used a type of meat that I don't normally eat. I asked for it to be removed, she pointed out (incorrectly) that I had asked for it. After a couple of back and forths regarding whether it was my fault ("but you asked for X") or hers ("No, I asked for Y, which doesn't have meat"), the manager stepped in, fixed my sandwich without the meat.

Later, when I went to pay, I said I was sorry for having caused trouble during the holiday. The manager's response was:

"Don't say sorry, say 'I apologise'. It wasn't your fault."

While I'm well aware it wasn't my fault, I still don't get the distinction made between "I'm sorry" and "I apologise". Why is the latter acceptable and the former not? Funny.

Filed under: things that make me laugh, but are not related to television

On the perils of dairy.


Poetry blogging

Song by B.H. Fairchild

Gesang ist Dasein.

A small thing done well
, the steel bit paring
the cut end of the collar, lifting delicate
blue spirals of iron slowly out of lamplight

into darkness until they broke and fell
into a pool of oil and water below.
A small thing done well, my father said

so often that I tired of hearing it and lost
myself in the shop's north end, an underworld
of welders who wore black masks and stared

through smoked glass where all was midnight
except the purest spark, the blue-white arc
of the clamp and rod. Hammers made dull tunes

hacking slag, and acetylene flames cast shadows
of men against the tin roof like great birds
trapped in diminishing circles of light.

Each day was like another. I stood beside him
and watched the lathe spin on, coils of iron
climbing into dusk, the file's drone, the rasp,

and finally the honing cloth with its small song
of things done well that I would carry into sleep
and dreams of men with wings of fire and steel.

Bert Fairchild, 1906-1990

Friday randomness

1. I really like the new two-blog system. Livejournal's like that high school party that everybody went to but nobody remembered in the morning. Complete with the geeks in the corner talking about the TARDIS.

2. The new tattoo has just hit the itchy annoying stage. Expect copious whining this weekend, as I try to remember not to scratch the ink out. I hate this part.

3. My parents are leaving in the morning for an Alaskan cruise. With The Aunts. They've promised to call, but I still hope they packed their bail bonds.

4. It's possible to run the battery dead on my portable phone. It's not even that hard.

5. Cheesecake and shoe shopping. [Just didn't want to forget about this plan.]

How could they not live up to expectations?

For one reporter, the Maoist "rebels" in Nepal weren't what he had expected. In his words,

"But I had thought, perhaps naively, that we might see them in their natural environment in the bush, rather than this grassy schoolyard. I want to see them doing whatever rebels do during a cease-fire: cleaning their weapons, reading 'Das Kapital,' playing football, flirting with the female comrades.

I am glad to see them with my own eyes, to know they are real. But to see them assembled solely for our cameras makes it somehow less authentic, despite the cold metal of their weapons, the very real smell of their campfires and the palpable intensity of their purpose."

There you have it. The rebels just weren't real enough for him.


Somehow the German "uniform" is rather frightening

I've just been told off at TUWSNBN's office for laughing too loud. Why, yous ask?

Check this out.

When the Germans are advancing in two rows, slapping their thighs to that music, don't they look scary?

ETA: And, for some fantastic ones (with music and voicovers by various members of U2), check out ESPN. Most folks seemed to have liked Anthem (with Bono) while I much preferred the Tartan Army one (narrated by Adam Clayton). As a Nepali whose team will never qualify for anything in my lifetime, I can identify with that feeling!

Via World Cup Blog

Metaphors gone wild

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. But this post, from PunkAssBlog, definitely makes me want to do one or the other.
RM: Oh don’t get me wrong, you do get a chance to change you circumstances in this metaphor just like the working class do in their lives, you see, you’re butt naked and cold and wet, but you get the choice to wear this lovely thermal suit made entirely out of freshly killed meat, or not.

SD: Bu..WHAT!? I’m in a pit with some ferocious…

RM: …And really quite hungry…

SD: …tigers, and you ask me if I want to put on a meat suit!?

RM: Exactly, and the reason why is because the ferocious, quite hungry and highly territorial tigers represents both the class system itself and the upper classes who keep it maintained against outside influences.


Why don't I ever overhear amusing things?

Like this:
4PM Paradigm Shift

Boss #1: What's he doing up there? We're not supposed to park there now.
Receptionist: Subverting the dominant paradigm?
Boss #1: Which means?
Receptionist: Breaking the rules?
Boss #1: Hah! That's great. Hey [Boss #2]! You're subverting the dominant paradigm!
Boss #2: You don't know what subvert means!
Boss #1: I don't know what the hell paradigm means!
Boss #2: Now as for dominant. . .
Boss #1: Shut up!

The shiny newness has cheered me right up

After yesterday's unwelcome news and accompanying rant,* it was nice to know that this afternoon, I was lined up to get a lovely new tattoo. And it is quite nice, if I do say so myself.

From there, it was off to the regular Wednesday night writing group meeting, where I wrote half a fancy new short story. It's too early to tell how nice it will be, but I like what I've got so far.

And, as one final indication that it isn't time to give up on the universe, my beautiful (fully legal) dvds of Doctor Who: Series One were waiting on the doorstep. All wrapped up in plastic and straight from their Canadian distributor.**

Maybe that last one is actually a signal that Canada is a wonderful place, full of science fiction television shows and single-payer health care.

* As usual, Bitch, Ph.D. wrote a much better response than I did. You should go read it, too. Along with her nuanced discussion of why it's maybe the Post, and not the CDC, that is obnoxious and offensive.

** And complete with extra features! All new whoness to enjoy!

Since I'm procrastinating, yous get a meme

It's about women writers. The usual rules (bold if you've read the book, italics if you'd like to, question mark if you're thinking "who the hell is that?" and regular if you're disinterested).

Here're my results:

Allcott, Louisa May–Little Women
Allende, Isabel–The House of Spirits

Angelou, Maya–I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Seriously lacking in American lit reading history. Should really try to read more of it.
Atwood, Margaret–Cat's Eye: I've read others of hers and liked them. Never read this.
Austen, Jane–Emma: Am a sucker for Austen. Have the entire collection and BBC TV serials/films of most of them.
? Bambara, Toni Cade–Salt Eaters
? Barnes, Djuna–Nightwood
de Beauvoir, Simone–The Second Sex
Blume, Judy–Are You There God? It's Me Margaret
Burnett, Frances–The Secret Garden

Bronte, Charlotte–Jane Eyre: Always thought (still do) that Jane was a bit of an idiot for returning to Mr. R.
Bronte, Emily–Wuthering Heights
Buck, Pearl S.–The Good Earth
Byatt, A.S.–Possession
Cather, Willa–My Antonia

Chopin, Kate–The Awakening
Christie, Agatha–Murder on the Orient Express

?Cisneros, Sandra–The House on Mango Street
Clinton, Hillary Rodham–Living History
?Cooper, Anna Julia–A Voice From the South
?Danticat, Edwidge–Breath, Eyes, Memory
?Davis, Angela–Women, Culture, and Politics
Desai, Anita–Clear Light of Day
Dickinson, Emily–Collected Poems
Duncan, Lois–I Know What You Did Last Summer
DuMaurier, Daphne–Rebecca
Eliot, George–Middlemarch

?Emecheta, Buchi–Second Class Citizen??
Erdrich, Louise–Tracks
Esquivel, Laura–Like Water for Chocolate
Flagg, Fannie–Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Friedan, Betty–The Feminine Mystique
Frank, Anne–Diary of a Young Girl
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins–The Yellow Wallpaper

Gordimer, Nadine–July's People
Grafton, Sue–S is for Silence
Hamilton, Edith–Mythology
Highsmith, Patricia–The Talented Mr. Ripley

hooks, bell–Bone Black
Hurston, Zora Neale–Dust Tracks on the Road
Jacobs, Harriet–Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
?Jackson, Helen Hunt–Ramona
?Jackson, Shirley–The Haunting of Hill House
Jong, Erica–Fear of Flying
Keene, Carolyn–The Nancy Drew Mysteries (any of them)

Kidd, Sue Monk–The Secret Life of Bees
Kincaid, Jamaica–Lucy
Kingsolver, Barbara–The Poisonwood Bible
?Kingston, Maxine Hong–The Woman Warrior
?Larsen, Nella–Passing??
L'Engle, Madeleine–A Wrinkle in Time
Le Guin, Ursula K.–The Left Hand of Darkness
Lee, Harper–To Kill a Mockingbird

Lessing, Doris–The Golden Notebook
Lively, Penelope–Moon Tiger
?Lorde, Audre–The Cancer Journals
?Martin, Ann M.–The Babysitters Club Series
?McCullers, Carson–The Member of the Wedding
McMillan, Terry–Disappearing Acts
?Markandaya, Kamala–Nectar in a Sieve??
?Marshall, Paule–Brown Girl, Brownstones
Mitchell, Margaret–Gone with the Wind
Montgomery, Lucy–Anne of Green Gables

?Morgan, Joan–When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost??
Morrison, Toni–Song of Solomon
Murasaki, Lady Shikibu–The Tale of Genji
Munro, Alice–Lives of Girls and Women
Murdoch, Iris–Severed Head
Naylor, Gloria–Mama Day
Niffenegger, Audrey–The Time Traveller's Wife
Oates, Joyce Carol–We Were the Mulvaneys
O'Connor, Flannery–A Good Man is Hard to Find
?Piercy, Marge–Woman on the Edge of Time
Picoult, Jodi–My Sister's Keeper
Plath, Sylvia–The Bell Jar
Porter, Katharine Anne–Ship of Fools
Proulx, E. Annie–The Shipping News
Rand, Ayn–The Fountainhead

?Ray, Rachel–365: No Repeats
Rhys, Jean–Wide Sargasso Sea
?Robinson, Marilynne–Housekeeping
?Rocha, Sharon–For Laci
Sebold, Alice–The Lovely Bones
Shelley, Mary–Frankenstein

?Smith, Betty–A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Smith, Zadie–White Teeth
Spark, Muriel–The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Spyri, Johanna–Heidi

?Strout, Elizabeth–Amy and Isabelle??
Steel, Danielle–The House
Tan, Amy–The Joy Luck Club
Tannen, Deborah–You're Wearing That
?Ulrich, Laurel–A Midwife's Tale
?Urquhart, Jane–Away
Walker, Alice–The Temple of My Familiar
Welty, Eudora–One Writer's Beginnings
Wharton, Edith–Age of Innocence
?Wilder, Laura Ingalls–Little House in the Big Woods
Wollstonecraft, Mary–A Vindication of the Rights of Women
Woolf, Virginia–A Room of One's Own

Upon looking over the list, I realise how many authors I just don't know of. There's the next hour or so of procrastination right there (Hello, Google!).

I got the list off here. There're some more recommendations in the comments over there but I'd like to add a few:

Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South--both the book and the BBC TV series--is a particular favourite of mine. There're not many books written during that time which end--sorry, folks!--with the man accepting a woman's money and help in order to make a living. Oh, and it also helps that the BBC TV series guy has a marvellous Northern accent. Yes, well, we all know all planets have a North)

Helen Garner

Oh, and why not J.K. Rowling? Yes, she's just got one series out but considering the number of people who have read her books, I reckon she should be on the list.

Christina Stead

Ann Radcliffe (yay for Gothic novels!)

and, finally, an author who, as one of my siblings put it, "probably inculcated what is called morality into all of us since Mum and Dad thankfully never bothered. Why can't I ever lie without feeling like I should confess about it?": Enid Blyton. Yes, she had terrible books. Yes, it was all about impossibly adventurous children in post-war Britain (or during WWII). But, they were still enjoyable, in my opinion. Along with Biggles and Tintin, they formed childhood/young adulthood reading in my household and in many other households through South-east Asia that I know of.


Parsing the text and trying not to choke.

I'm sorry, when exactly did I fall asleep? And how did I manage to wake up in The Handmaid's Tale?

Quotes are from the Washington Post:

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

That's right, from now on, we're either pre-pregnant, pregnant, or too old to bother with.

The sad thing is, I can't even make the argument that this is a new approach. It's just that usually they aren't quite so obvious about it. Seriously, Canada has universities, right? And camera shops? And my mother would be so happy if we moved to Windsor, or Toronto.

Plus, they have something that could be called, without irony, a health care system.

...experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.

So, because I *could* get pregnant without intending it, sometime within a thirty year period, the focus of my health care, as provided by whatever doctor I choose as my primary care physician, should be the health of a potential fetus. Quantum physics in action, folks. It's all about potentiality.

Unless, of course, we're talking about the sort of potentiality harmed by things like badly funded schools, underpaid dangerous jobs, and violent conflict. It's just during the period that a child might theoretically be conceived up to birth that it needs government oversight and protection.

"We know that women -- unless you're actively planning [a pregnancy], . . . she doesn't want to talk about it," Biermann said.

Right. It could be that, unless I'm planning a pregnancy, it's none of your damn business. If I decide that I want pre-pregnancy care, I'll let you know. Until then, kindly fuck off.

So clinicians must find a "way to do this and not scare women," by promoting preconception care as part of standard women's health care, she said.

Excuse me? They don't want to scare women by talking about pregnancy? Because this is a surprise, and we don't know that we can get pregnant unless told so by a doctor? Or because, like other dumb animals, any sudden movements might cause us to run for the hills?

Actually, that's a pretty good idea. If this doesn't give every woman in the country a case of the screaming heebie jeebies, we're in trouble.

Make of it what you will

But after a Bravo rewatch and a bit of checking on LIbraryThing, I'm pretty sure that the prop in last night's West Wing was Foucault's Society Must Be Defended.


What? You say we have no screencaps?

Well, off you go, then. Go read the new "Rise of the Cybermen" review. Don't miss the part where she says

UR TARDIS ASPLODE! Because she's fucking SICK OF THE SIGHT of Ten'n'Rose. Godammit, I'm with her on that one. This is cos the vortex has SPAT THEM OUT. Spat them out like the annoying gits they are. NO ONE LIKES THESE TWO. EVEN THE UNIVERSE ITSELF HATES THEM.

Got your attention now, didn't I?

Getting our act(s) together

Regular readers of PTSD and mates of either/both of us in RL know well that we are probably not very much alike. After all, E relaxes reading Joseph Mitchell. My blankie of support is P.G. Wodehouse. I fancy skinny blokes in geek gear. She goes for the leather-jacketed types. She reads physics books for fun and talks about the Doctor and complex systems. I run screaming away if a physics book deigned to appear in my vicinity and talk of how good the Doctor looks in glasses (and a tux).

But, I guess E'd agree that we both seem to share a marvellous tendency to procrastinate. While watching Part I of the Cybermen episode earlier this evening*, we realised we were far more efficient in organising ourselves and getting together ideas and folks for panels for BigNameConference and SmallRegionalMeeting last year, when I was in the Outback of Denmark, rather than this year, when both of us are in the city about which we do not talk much about. Here, proper work-talk hardly ever occurs when we meet up and, instead, we watch telly (and eat food).

Here's hoping that blogging about this will lead to us getting our act(s) together and producing something in the next week or so. Deadlines are looming.

* This reminds me to check on how the cybermen killed people in the classic Doctor series. I know they did something. I just don't remember what. Also, it's seriously bad casting to have Trigger play an Evil Mastermind (EM). I can't forget him mistaking Albert Einstein for the Beatles' manager (a mild gaffe for Trigger) and now I have to believe he's an EM? It's just not possible.


The finale play-by-play

Because this is a one-time thing, I'm cross-posting my West Wing play-by-play. I even put in little time stamps. And used a few complete sentences.

00 Nice swooping morning-in-DC scenes. All that pinkness. It looks so peaceful on television.

01 Josh is back! And Donna. So she didn’t chop him up and feed him to the sharks after all. They’re so cute together. Oh, it’s sweet but very, very sad. No rings, so there's a fandom hope dashed to pieces.

No talking, either. What, now they only communicate in meaningful looks?

Coffee! It’s all about the coffee on the West Wing. Always has been. Now I want some coffee.

02 Sniffle. “The contents of this computer have been archived.”

Apparently tonight the role of Toby Ziegler will be played by a red rubber ball.

03 King George lining the founding fathers up and shooting them was a nice bit of dialogue, but does Stockard Channing usually sleep in her eyeliner?

04 Was that the original credits? Or at least closer to them than the rest of this season?

06 Will and Grace is still on I thought they cancelled that a long time ago. How long has she been pregnant, a year?

07 Hee. Long underwear is going to make him look bulky. And she doesn’t take his fashion advice. Good for her.

08 Oh, don’t go there. Not the necktie cliché. Nope, she went there. And I was just thinking about liking Mrs. Santos.

Charlie! Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. And the snark has arrived.

09 Sorry, guys, repeating the same line is not the same as being funny. When Charlie says it, it’s funny. After that, not so much.

Isn’t funny the second time you do it, either.

10 Hot diggity dog. *snerk*

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. That’s so deep, man. *sniffle*

11 His favorite song is “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” I’m not sure if that’s a joke, or just a little creepy.

12 Margaret is still amusing. Why haven’t they discussed where she’s going?

Bad day for New England, I guess. Hope the “Get the hell out of Dodge” plane can land in a blizzard.

14 A team of cartographers. Heh. With the Mission: Impossible theme playing in the background. When they're done, they can go rogue and travel the world, turning all the maps upside down.

Anybody know which governor he just ordered around? Yeah, me neither.

17 I’m so uninterested in the ER finale. I really don’t care. I could care less, really. Have I mentioned that I don’t care?

19 I bet it’s a framed napkin in the box. What else could it be?

20 “You do realize that you turn into a pumpkin at noon!”

Heh. They could get Margaret to forge the President’s signature. You know, in a pinch.

22 Aww. It’s an inspirational post-it note. A crumpled inspirational post-it note. Everybody misses Leo.

Goodbye, Larry. Goodbye, Ed. I could always tell you apart.

23 Dear God. Don’t give him a mallet. Have you forgotten the tree thing? It was just on an hour ago. Someone might get killed.

That’s so much cooler than the Westlaw Constitution I carried around. And he’d have gotten laughed at in the tie. Good choice. With a Constitution and a carving knife, he’ll be all set.

25 Lily Tomlin is trying not to tap her foot. They should have let her do it.

Dude, make up your mind. Just sign it already. We all know you want to. We’ve seen the “Three Years Later” scene. The one where Josh may or may not have been wearing a wedding ring.

That was the shortest two minutes in history, there. And what’s in the package? Right, a napkin. An inspirational napkin, even. S. won’t take my bet, by the way.

27 No jail for Tobias. Now Huck won’t have to grow up to be all bitter and angry and estranged from his father. I mean, no more than the average son of workaholic political parents.

30 Ooh, Studio 60 preview! Bradley Whitford! Timothy Busfield! Yay!

31 There goes Ron. Don’t they ever give him a day off?

32 “I don’t want you to look stricken when you see them.” That sounds like the kind of warning my mother would give.

Driving a car is just like riding a bike. Uh oh.

33 “JFK really screwed us with that one, didn’t he.” Hey, if Toby has been pardoned, does that mean he can work for Josh? He’s not an ex-felon. Technically.

34 One last biblical reference for the road.

35 I’ve never heard MSNBC use the word “eschewing” during a broadcast. So much for true-to-life. Now we *know* it was all just a fairy tale.

36 Not sure Harrison is the best former President to reference, guys.

37 “Guess what? You win.”

Funny exchange, but I hope I never hear Teri Polo talk about putting out ever again.

39 It’s Aaron Sorkin! At the inauguration! It’s the squee heard round the world!

40 He had a copy of Foucault in the Oval Office. That’s awesome. Didn’t catch which title it was, though. Power/Knowledge?

41 Josh and Donna look so happy. But wow, Bradley Whitford’s hairline sure has moved since the Pilot.

42 Hey, CJ, the phone is ringing. Shouldn’t someone answer that? What, they swear in the new guy and suddenly everyone quits working? What if there’s an earthquake in New England? Or a swarm of killer bees?

45 Not that I’m waiting for one or anything, but we’re fifteen minutes from the end and there hasn’t been any actual J/D conversation. Now where did I put that John Wells voodoo doll?

46 “Home, sweet home.” Aw, I missed Sam.

Ronna’s the new Mrs. Landingham. Except Mrs. Landingham wouldn’t have gotten all weepy and shit. Somebody smack her.

47 “Make me proud, Mr. President. I’ll do my best, Mr. President.” What is this, Abbott and Costello?

48 “A young and vigorous lunatic.” Hee.

49 I’m sorry, but Bram is no Charlie. Dude, listen to Charlie! Don’t be unpacking your shit when he’s talking to you! He can take you, don't think he can't.

50 Press Secretary CJ is back. Nice little reference to the early years. Isn’t this a parallel scene to ITSOTG?

51 Donna gets an office. Finally. And her office is bigger than Josh’s. I’m just saying, now we know who wears the pants in that relationship.

As if we didn’t already.

53 Okay, I was fine till CJ said she didn’t work at the White House. Now I’ve got something in my eye.

54 My, look at the row of pretty white guys there to help the President. So much pretty. All together in the Oval Office. And we get a “What’s next?”

55 Here comes the present! And…it’s the napkin!!! Ha! I was right!

And now S. is looking at me funny. Think I said that a little loud.

56 That’s it? There’s four minutes left! What the hell?!? It's not over already, is it?

Here's to Mum

My Mum, in true time-honoured Mum-like fashion, has tried her best to make me into a partially-socialised human being who is able to hold up (okay, let's face it, probably not hold up. Maybe "slightly nudge") my end of a conversation (especially if it involves footy). As challenges go, that's fairly monumental and instead of kicking her heels on the floor and tearing her hair out, my Mum stuck to it. For that, she has my gratitude. I think if I'd not left home before turning 18, I would have had more time to absorb the many lessons of and about life I have yet to pick up on.

Still, while other relatives gallop about bleating about the sad state of her (oldest) daughter still studying who-knows-what (no one in my very large family is entirely certain what I am doing--neither am I, really), my Mum blithely ignores them all and flits about like a butterfly in spring. Or would, I presume if she were not always very busy with working, cooking, cleaning up, feeding humans and animals and still managing to follow various (Pakistani) TV shows involving people who die and then a)come back to haunt the living or b)come back alive somehow or c)have a twin who then proceeds to bugger up the lives of the dead person's relatives.

But, I digress so here's to Mum:

A mum is always definitive*. It is reality which is frequently wonky.

* Apologies for Douglas Adams for that though, since he's dead, I wouldn't assume he'd care much.

Where're all the long-haired Welsh Nobel-Prize winning blokes?

Not a speculative comment about the state of men's hair in Wales or even a philosophical one wondering about the existence (or not) of such types but a brief comment about yesterday's Doctor. The one those of us having non-cable TV get to watch on Saturday nights on public TV.

It was this one. A right good one, memorable mainly for Jo deciding to run off to the Amazon to look for mushrooms with her long-haired Welsh Nobel Prize-winning scientist boyfriend and thus foresaking the (rather miffed in the "how could she leave my lovely curly mop of hair and my Shakespeare discarded and op-shop rejected shirt") Doctor. Oh, it also had an evil computer masterminding events and controlling giant slugs.

And they say scientists have no fashion sense

I'm not sure if I'm more amused by the idea of theorem-proving in sarongs, or by the guy collecting pictures of them. Bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, really.

Today's dictionary.com word is

cupidity: eager or excessive desire, especially for wealth.

Not sure about the wealth, but I bet this applies to how Priya feels about the new Doctor Who episode. The one sitting on my hard drive right now. With the cybermen in it. And two(!) Mickeys for the price of one. And DT in a tux and the glasses. And Something Bad happening to the TARDIS.

Even if it were a crap episode, it would still be awesome. And it's not a crap episode.

Matter of fact, I think I'm going to go watch it again.


There should be a decided reduction in fannish outbursts around here

after some recent restructuring of my blogging capabilities. No need to thank me--I can hear the sighs of relief, Loyal Reader. It was really the banana jokes that were the final straw.

Now, I'm not saying you won't be reading about the Doctor (for instance, CYBERMEN!!!) or West Wing or other such things. Just that the squeeing will be kept to a dull roar.

The linking will continue unabated. Off you go, the Master has a special request, just for you.

Is this what Happy Tenure feels like?

Probably not. But, I'm filling in all day at the LS as superflunkie during exams/graduate study. The thing about being SF is that I can't be fired (since I'm not actually here you see) so, as long as I do my flunkie tasks, I can do other things which are normally not within flunkie guidelines.

This means the morning today has been spent dealing with cranky LS students panicking about exams but with the best FA Cup in memory playing (off a dodgy 'net feed from Chinese TV--another one of those "what did people do before the Internet?" moments for me) in the background. Yes, it's not the local pub but I don't get paid to watch footy when at pubs so this isn't half bad.

A perfect match. But, again, why, oh why, can't Liverpool ever win a match without (almost) giving their fans a heart attack? 2-0 down and a comeback and then penalties. Sound familiar?


One last thing

Sorry, but I just saw a piece on Showbiz tonight. The headline was "Richard Dreyfuss concerned about 'swollen executive power.'"

That's so funny that it's clear I should already be asleep.

For the total Numb3rs experience, a bloggy commentary track

Same with this one. And while I'm at it, I'd like to apologize to all our readers with rss feeds. Sorry about that whole "what this show needed was more strippers" comment.

Friday night play-by-play: The Doctor Dances in the States

Upon further reflection...yeah, who am I kidding? Upon any reflection whatsoever, I've moved this over to LJ where it can frolic with other posts of its own kind.

At least if a present or future employer finds it there, someone should have the sense to be hesitant about explaining *how* they ran across it.

Let's just call today "Random Media Recommendations" Day

And be done with it.

First off: News from Kevin Smith. Clerks II will be opening early, on July 21st. So you know where S and I will be that night. Bit of an early birthday present for both of us.

If you're looking for a more permanent expression of birthday good wishes, I recommend an autographed copy of Evening Harder, which is not as kinky as it sounds. I hope.

I've already posted a music idea. Angsty, emo, melodic ballads. But she can sing. And the lyrics are great. So get over that need to be seen as tough, and go find a copy of it.

What's left? If you can't figure out what television programs I'd list as "Must See," you must have been reading someone else's blog.

Right, books. Two good ones:

Science, Technology, and Society: A Sociological Approach, by Bauchspies, Croissant, and Restivo. Fun to read, and featuring a methodological stance that I find to be comforting, if a little ontologically weird. And it's short and portable.

Up in the Old Hotel, Joseph Mitchell. I've probably mentioned this before, as it's the old favorite that I pull out when I can't concentrate on anything else.

And for your web entertainment needs, there's the "Bird Flu and You: A quick guide to protecting yourself and your family from bird (pandemic) flu." I'm pretty sure the "Fowl Plague" pun was accidental, but I could be wrong.

Nobody works on Friday, anyway.

So here's a music recommendation instead.

Dar Williams, The Beauty of the Rain

What not to do when planning a surprise party.

I can say that yesterday was a learning experience. I think it was a success, but you’ll see why I’m not the best qualified person to decide that.

As Priya mentioned, I was part of the planning for the Happy Tenure party. Was it my idea? Not really. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t take the idea and run. The phrase “evil geniuses” is a bit melodramatic, especially since I’m convinced some sort of evilness feedback loop took over. So it wasn’t *our* fault. Not entirely, anyway.

If anything, the recipient of the party got lucky. The original plan was for Someone in Charge to discuss cancelling a favorite class in order to get everyone in the right place at the right time. I’m thinking a bit of confusion about the topic of a meeting is better than that.

So, things that I learned:

1. When planning a surprise party, do not take any prescription narcotics. Even if the alternative is hobbling around like an 85-year-old.

2. This is especially true the day of the party. Remember that the medications tend to suppress an already limited understanding of What Not to Say to People.

3. If the first two rules have been ignored, the following apply:

a) Do not invent a brilliant plan for picking up the cake, going to work for a meeting, buying party supplies, and meeting with the surprisee within a single three hour period. It isn’t possible, and any arguments to the contrary are a side effect of the medication.

b) Do not plan to drive a car in order to avoid the bus. This is a silly idea, and the reasons will become clear when you attempt to start the car and discover on the third try that you must first put the key into the ignition.

c) Do not take the bus. If you must catch a bus, read the schedule very carefully to make sure the bus is traveling in the desired direction. If you are already on the bus and realize that it is headed the wrong way, wait until you can see a bus stop on the other side of the street before pulling the stop request cord.

Wait for the little green light before pushing on the door to exit. This will reduce the likelihood of smashing your nose on the door and entertaining your fellow riders.

d) If, during the meeting that you have arranged at work, your boss asks what you think of his current book draft, lie. He doesn’t really want to know what you think. You’d realize that if you’d followed rule #1.

e) The party supplies are in the same aisle they always occupy. No one moved them to confuse you. They are not shelved with the candy bars. Ever.

A good place to look for plastic silverware is at eye level, next to the paper plates. Not in the toy aisle.

f) In the meeting with the surprisee, which is a real meeting conveniently scheduled to prevent the surprisee from wandering campus, remember that you will not be capable of actually lying (see above) and will therefore ramble incoherently about trombones.

Yes, trombones. And the RIAA plan to acquire the tenure contracts of copyright-abusing faculty and redeem them for federal jurisdiction. And Cybermen. And how much you hate various aspects of the phd experience.*

“Unmitigated disaster” is the phrase you’re looking for.

[I stand by my claim that I was much better at being a lawyer than I am at being a phd student. After that conversation, I’m betting at least one of my committee members agrees.]

g) When the surprisee mentions a summons from the Dean’s office, try to act convincingly clueless. Do not snicker. Do not suggest possible reasons for the summons. Do not mention the RIAA.

Do not talk about how much the cardboard cutout in the office freaks you out, or the way its eyes follow you around the room.

h) Try to pay attention to the entrance of the surprisee at the party. So that everyone yells “surprise” at the same time. Otherwise, you’ve just got a bunch of people standing in a dark room. With cake.

4) Pick up the cake last. Don’t carry it around all afternoon. Especially if you want to be able to walk the next day. It’s the painkillers that make it possible to carry the cake at all, and they’ll wear off before the further damage you’ve done goes away.

* There was some comparison to fanfic, too. Which was really funny at the time, and now I have totally forgotten the context. Damn it. This is going to bother me. Got it. It was about The Da Vinci Code as Gospel Fanfic. And not even good fanfic, I might add. Gospel crack!fic, really.**

**While I'm back on the topic of fen, I have to recommend a fanvid that combines two great things: Doctor Who and Weird Al. Go get it here.

And you should go visit the site for the Mauve and Dangerous Awards. If only in order to read the items submitted for the "RUSSELL T DAVIES AWARD FOR POST MODERNISM."


No, for once, it's not about the Doctor

or not quite. Since PTSD so loves lists, here's another one for you. Thiis is all about me. Me. Since, I'm oh-so-fascinating:

1. Flunkieness at the LS continues. The more time I spend there, the more I realise how much I would hate it if being a flunkie was my only option for the future. I reckon I'm an utter snob even to write that sentence since people do spend their lives flunkie-ing (though it's called posh names like "Media services facilitator", which means the person who flicks on the switch which turns on a projector somewhere). This leads to no. 2

2. I have a job for the Fall. Sort of, as it's only a verbal confirmation but it's a job all the same. I will be teaching a class. An entire class all by myself with my name on it. Can I write fantastic here? I just did.

It probably does not bode well that the 3 people (apart from E) who have been told about said job have had expressions on their faces which (hopefully) denote happy surprise. It could well be horror at having me let loose on a bunch of unsuspecting students, especially those learning this particular topic. Let me just write that it is not the usual course that PhD students are offered. Maybe that's why the looks of (I refuse to call it dread) happy surprise came about? I can only hope.

This job means...

3. I will be here for the rest of the year. Any potential fieldwork not involving spending much time in musty depths of dark libraries will have to be shelved. Since I don't plan on dragging this PhD-ing process much longer (yes, I'm in a "let's get this over quickly and get the quickest possible job" mood these days), that may or may not be a good thing. I shall keep yous updated.

4. Only two days till the new Doctor. Two days. And this episode involves Cybermen. Cybermen in any fashion can only be a good thing.

5. And, I have to write about E. E and another mate ended up planning a surprise party today with military precision, organising things and gathering up the rest of us (who milled about like sheep, often getting in each other's way) and ensuring everything worked out well. It was probably the only occasion where the surprise party was actually a surprise. The free food afterwards was much appreciated.

6. On that note, off to eat said free food while spending more time in TUWSNBN's PhD office, trying to write that 50-page paper which (shhhh!) I've not actually started yet. Oh, it's due next week. Yup. Loads of time. Loads. Perhaps this would be a good time to flee the country/state instead.

A non-rambling, well thought out post about something useful follows at some future date (Yous know it doesn't. I have to write that in case E thinks I'm hijacking PTSD for nefarious ends like me, me, me). In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled (and visit PTSD often) for who-knows-what. Maybe E will write more on the Surprise.


WWHS? the May edition

Continuing on a tradition here at PTSD of linking the Doctor* up with almost anything else we write on these days, here's the May edition of WWHS:

What would Hobbes say to (or of) people/human beings and social relations?

I was thinking of responding to E's earlier post on the Doctor but I realised it's a) better not to try argue with E on her topic of choice and b) physics, apart from a brief entanglement in high school (though if I'd had a teacher like RFD in School Reunion, my interest would have increased dramatically), is not a subject I'm fascinated with. Therefore, it'll be difficult to argue with the points E raises. I'm also of the opinion that the Doctor's world is pretty messed up (and inconsistent) and obsessing about it will just lead to more questions (and related headaches). So, I reckoned I'd write about something I know even less of (and, unlike physics, can't learn off books or online): social relations or, specifically, relations with humans.

Now, I'm sure all PTSD readers have a passing acquaintance with the Leviathan. A brief read of Hobbes' book will tell us that people are pretty nasty folk, all ready and willing to kill each other. Social relations consists of war (and potential war), probably fine if you're into murder and mayhem but not so fine if you'd rather prefer to sit in a quiet nook somewhere and meditate upon the state of your navel. However, Hobbesian folk do realise that this is a pretty miserable situation to be in (killing each other, that is, or waiting to be killed) and, with pressing needs to contemplate navels upon them, make contracts with each other and then with this thing called the Leviathan (which only comes into being when these contracts are exchanged so they make it exist) for protection and safety. The Leviathan now takes on the task of providing security and ensuring all those pesky you-have-your-definition-I-have-mine terms like justice, peace and all that are properly defined and enforced. Social relations, of the non-war sort, are now established and people are happy to go about contemplating navels (or each other) since the Leviathan's there, looking out for them. But, the Leviathan also pays a price: if it doesn't protect the people or tries to harm them, the contracts can be broken and it ceases to exist. Chaos follows (and, this is a bad thing).

What does this have to do with the Doctor? Well, leaving aside how Doctors are made, DIB from last season wouldn't much care about the Leviathan-esque role of the Doctor as protecting the people and providing them with security. Despite a few stirring speeches about the wonderfulness of ordinary folk (Fathers' Day) or how a "little island" managed to keep off the rampaging Hitlerian Army,** (The Empty Child/Doctor Dances) DIB didn't actually seem to like people very much. He liked Rose, of course (a lot), but his relations with other people were not what one may call social (Mickey, Jackie, Adam and various others they run into from time to time). I think Nancy (from Empty Child/Doctor Dances) was a bit of an exception but, even with her, the Doctor is more interested in the role she plays in the mystery he wants to unravel, not in protecting her. For DIB, people are curiosities (would I be breaking the no past Doctors' rule here to point out that he's actually seen and lived with loads of people before so why is he still so curious?) and it's Rose who matters most. He is quite willing to sacrifice people (even those he praises, as in Fathers' Day) to make sure Rose is safe and gets what she wants. DIB is a bit of a selfish git ("Ohhhh...look at me. I'm the last Time Lord. I'm really really lonely. I have only Rose. I need to keep Rose safe," gets rather old after a bit).

VFD, on the other hand, is rather different. He, like Hobbes' Leviathan, has the role of being a protector of people. Yes, he wakes up when Rose whispers "save me" (or some such--I can't remember her exact words in the Christmas Invasion) but then he fights for people, for humanity as a whole (as their protector), not just for Rose. At the end of the Christmas Invasion, he tells the Sycorax that they should leave Earth and tell other beings that the Earth is defended (by the Doctor). He later warns off ASH from ideas of universe (Earth)-domination (though that didn't work very well). He also seems to quite like humans (he is charming towards Jackie, jokes around with Mickey and establishes a rapport with the laird. Of course, there's Madame du whatnot--he definitely likes her). Unlike DIB, he's not too keen on protecting Rose to the exclusion of all and sundry.**** I guess we have to wait and see what happens but, so far, RFD is a more Leviathan-esque figure than DIB but the uncertainty of knowing how he may react (similar to the uncertainty about how the Leviathan could react if faced with too much power/another Leviathan/breaking of contracts) makes Season Two fascinating.

For uncertainty and randomness have been constant features in Season Two. The Doctor (especially RFD) might like humans. He might have put himself up as their protector. They do call for him when they need help. All VFD stories so far (except New Earth) have established this pattern. But, he's not averse to turning on humans when he thinks they have stepped out of line (Harriet Jones). What does Hobbes say would happen if the relations between people and the Leviathan are broken? Would we revert back to the state of nature? Perhaps (since the SoN lurks beside and around us) but it's not something that can be predicted with certainty. Keeping in mind RFD seems quick to forget lessons learnt by DIB, social relations may well unravel if/when RFD acts first and thinks later*****.

* Following E's earlier example, I shall limit my Doctor remarks to DIB and RFD. I still refuse to call them Nine and Ten because that's just too boring. The numbers also sound like I'm talking of addresses, rather than versions of the Doctor.

** Hitlerian is deliberate. This speech was a brilliant example of the continued assertion of British (mostly English, perhaps some Scots and Welsh, not much Irish) national identity as being that of a small, eccentric country (emphasise "island" here) defeating the large, scary, efficient hordes of Germans. This, of course, conveniently leaves out that there was a whole bloody Empire at that time, at Britain's beck and call.

*** I just interrupted writing this post to murder a centipede which inadvertently wandered (well "scurried" would probably be a more appropriate term for its actions) into my room. After a brief period of concern, I threw the nearest book at hand at it. It ended up being crushed. I picked up the book to return it to a nearby pile (my room, being short of bookshelves, has piles of books strewn about) and only then noticed its title.

**** I admit to an anti-Rose bias here. Again, being Hobbesian about this, protecting one to the exclusion of the many is not something the Leviathan would be capable of doing (even if it could do so) as the reason for its existence is to prevent one person's meanings taking precedence over others' (see Chapter IV, last paragraph).

***** Perhaps the Doctor as the Master? Though see Sarah Jane warning him about how all things (should and do) end, a sentiment which DIB expressed (so RFD, being the Doctor too, should have known it).


Proper football or footballers' wives?

Reminding PTSD readers that the world cup is now a month away. Only a month. Be prepared to read long, rambling rants about the way footy/my research all work together. I really hope smalltownVA has somewhere I can watch the matches.

In the meantime, read (and vote, if you like) for the "Sexy Kicker". First up: Germany (next up: England and Argentina). I'm not too sure what the rest of the (German) stuff says but I hope it's not dirty.

Funny, I usually have to buy a book

To get great writing prompts. These have the added value of being either 1) funny, 2) disgusting, 3) impossible to complete, or 4) all of the above.