Tuesday, October 28, 2008

deadline reminder

I'm trying to reach people through as many different ways as possible, so consider this to be a warning...and not your last one.

The Popular Culture Association's 2009 conference is in New Orleans from Wednesday, April 8, through Saturday, April 11. The deadline for submissions is November 30. On their website, they have a complete list of areas, each with its own address or call for papers.

While this conference is used by some academics as simply a vacation spot (and, hint-hint, it is in New Orleans, a great place for a vacation), there are still good panels and papers (including mine). So everyone I know should go.

Plus, it's New Orleans. Jazz clubs. Awesome food. Drinking on the streets. Voodoo stores. How could this not be fun?

Please go. I want to get everyone I know there, so we can act like a street gang and take over the place.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

little known facts about me

It's a secret that I've been hiding for ages, and it's finally time to come clean. My soul can't take the deception any longer. Yes, I, themikedubose, have physical deformities. To wit:

  • I have a mysterious spot on my left leg where, in a perfect circle, no hair whatsoever will grow. This is puzzling, because I'm quite hirsute otherwise. My parents know of no birth defects, forceps gouging, or massive burns. My theory? Alien abduction.
  • When it is cold outside, my pinkies are significantly more chilled than the rest of my hand. Maybe this is a sign my hands will still turn into hooves or something.
  • I get hot entirely too quickly. When I told my doctor this, he thought about it, and then diagnosed me: I have heat intolerance. Oooooh.

Okay, so maybe it's not enough to let me join a circus...but have pity anyway. And quit looking at me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Star Trek and deadlines

One of the best things about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, other than the very awesome Kirk scream, is its applicability to real life.

Bear with me here.

The Genesis Device (all such sci-fi devices are unique, destructive, and therefor must be capitalized) is about to go off. The Enterprise's warp core is not working. Someone's giving the countdown of doom. Kirk keeps asking for distance from the explosion and time until detonation. If they can't travel fast enough, they are all dead...and with the warp core down, they will certainly be obliterated in the explosion.

Kirk looks worried. But it is not him with whom I identify. Sulu is at the helm, and in a resigned voice, asks no one in particular: "We're not going to make it, are we?"

Star Trek is infamous for putting the ship in mortal peril. They always seem to escape. Sulu knows this. Yet his voice gives away a hint of awareness that their luck might have finally just run out.

It is now October 22. I am supposed to have the book done by the end of the month. And boy, is this thing fighting me. I am having to go do mortal combat with the damn thing every day. I've cut my football back to almost nothing. I've eliminated most of my television viewing...and for that matter, culture enjoyment of all sorts. But the book is working against me at every turn.

Nine days. I know how Sulu felt.

Of course, they did make it, so maybe I will. But they had Spock, who was willing to sacrifice himself in order to save the crew. The good of the many sometimes outweighs the good of the few.

Where's my Spock? Who will take my classes, the dilithium crystals of my life, and fix them so I can heroically escape death by missed deadline?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Zappa Plays Zappa

A brief time out/work avoidance moment to tell you about our experience at Zappa Plays Zappa last night.

I'm a big Frank Zappa fan. I got into him while he was still alive but (unfortunately) after he had stopped touring. I'm a biggest fan of the One Size Fits All era, but I have several timeframes represented. Even so, I feel inadequate...I've only got about twenty of his seventy or so albums.

When I found out that Zappa's son Dweezil had put together a touring Zappa tribute band, I was intrigued. Dweezil always had the technical skills, but he was much more manic than his father, and I wondered if he would have the discipline to pull this off. However, every time I checked their tour dates, they seemed to be focusing on festival shows, and they seemed to never be around where I live, so it was all a moot point...until last night.

Zappa Plays Zappa came into Ann Arbor last night, and I managed to snag two 4th row seats...the joys of working at home. First, it was nice to be so close, I felt like the luckiest little girl in the world! Second, it was one of those shows where the spousal unit and I were lowering the average age...pretty much the exact opposite of what happened when thmarn and I went to see My Chemical Romance. Third, I love knowing that there's no opening act for me to groan my way through.

The band was utterly amazing...almost three hours of music. We got a lot of the classics: "Peaches," "Zombie Woof," "I Am The Slime," a couple songs off Joe's Garage, a dance contest, a smokin' "Cosmic Debris" that featured solos from everyone including the awesome Ray White, and a version of (get this) "Billy the Mountain"...it must've went on for a half hour, weird and funny as all hell.

Dweezil smokes. Having to sit and learn all of Frank's music was really good for him...he's more fluid than I've ever seen him, both faster and with more emotion. He's starting to look a lot like Frank, and he sure as hell can channel his father's playing. More importantly, he was sporting the "how lucky am I?" grin through most of the evening.

I'll never get to see Frank, but this evening made me a little less sad of that fact.

ps: With a crowd that old and a set list that long, people were constantly getting up to hit a bathroom. If Dweezil was more of a commercial slut, he should've had the whole deal sponsored by FloMax.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

another beverage

I call this one the "Writing Depression":

  • Fill a pint glass up with ice
  • fill 1/4 with vodka
  • 1/4 wild strawberry liquor
  • splash of triple sec
  • top off with club soda (preferably Big K brand)
  • sip while watching football, trying to figure out how to fix your manuscript problems, become self-deluded that you'll actually finish the book in 11 days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

so, how's it going?

I have just finished stitching together a draft of the completely new chapter of my book. It has 100% of the structure/organization, 85% of the sources (and I know where to find the others), and 70% of the actual language. I should be able to get it more or less complete by the end of the week, if all goes well.

Then I just have to stitch it together with the rest, stitch in the conclusion and expand it, and reword the entire thing. And I have 17 days to do it. Piece of cake!

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone whom I might've insulted, ignored, or generally treated in a questionable manner during this process. I think I've been handling the stress and workload pretty well, but one thing I learned in the dissertation is that perspective and judgment are the first things to go.

Kind of like in a whiskey drunk.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

lazing on a sunday afternoon

Somewhere in Matt Groening's book School is Hell, there's a piece about graduate school, where someone is in the doorway of a graduate student, asking them if they wanna come to a picnic. The student, without looking up from his book, replies with "Sounds great! I'll be there in four or five years.

I spent until 10pm yesterday at my computer busting out job applications. I worked until 9 most nights last week. Today, I'm sitting at the computer again, going over some criticism. It's warm, and in order to battle the heat from the cpu, I've got the window open.

Across the street is one of those mega-apartment complexes for undergrads. If you look through the trees, you can see the "kids" playing volleyball. I assume there's also beer involved.

I remember spending weekend days at a friend's house, drinking beer, playing volleyball in the front yard. Now, I'm thinking of that experience while I watch some other lucky teen punks play volleyball in the sun. In between bouts of bitterness and loathing, I write about really horrible literary criticism.

One would hope this eventually evens out.