- Dr. Crazy has a great post about the ways that grad school affects most of us on a long-term traumatic level. Spoiler alert: the best line is the final one. "Summation: critical thinking is a motherfucker and it will fuck your shit up."
- I'm having a little trouble keeping my mind focused on writing at the moment, because I'm going home in just a few days. I'm dawdling on packing up everything, which is stupid, because a frequent issue for researchers doing long-term study in Research City is how to transport all the stuff they acquired. Last time I did this, I had to go so far as to buy a humongous new suitcase, a situation I'd like to avoid this time. But I won't know if I need another suitcase if I don't start packing everything now. Crap. I hate packing. At least I have relatively few books to transport this time.
- Did I mention that I'm having trouble focusing on my writing? I think I did, right before I veered off into the suitcase issue. So yeah, it's a little hard to write, with all kinds of exigencies around to deal with. I'm just barely engaged with the online writing group, since I have trouble remembering to check in. Lack of routine makes these things more difficult, you know? And since I'm trying to multi-task my book manuscript and two separate journal articles, as well as struggling to keep up my field notes, writing everything that I should be writing at the moment feels like herding cats. (Oh, and thanks to Anthea for introducing me to a seriously funny commercial featuring professional cat herders!) Still, I'm slowly making progress on all fronts. Slowly. Once I have a little time to breathe in the States – and that will be a pretty short window of time, I have to admit to myself – I need to bang this shit out. The mostly-developed article needs to be polished up and submitted to the target journal, and I need to get a dirty, ugly, functional first draft of the book manuscript on the scene so I can structure a convincing book prospectus and tone up the MS itself. As always, I struggle with drafting perfection versus drafting a draft that can then be improved. Sigh.
- I've pretty much finished my research here, just because I'm running out of time and whatever I end up with is inevitably a kind of synchronic snapshot of Research City at a particular historical moment. But wow, so much is still going on! If I expanded my field notes to track everything going on in the region, rather than RC and its associated country, I'd die of starvation while trying to finish the field notes for a single day. Interesting times we're seeing over here.
- The 2011-2012 job hunt has already begun! (Sob!) My success at scoring a VAP in early May allowed me to push the job hunt out of my mind entirely for...let's see, counting the days...thirty-nine days. Yep. That afterglow fades, don't it? Universities have begun to post their want ads for positions to start in the Fall 2012 semester, so I'll have to keep an eye on this stuff all summer. I wonder: is there any point in bothering my soon-to-be-colleagues for letters of reference? I can't imagine what they could say about me before they have worked with me and gotten to know me a little, so I assume that they only reasonable path for the early applications is to call up my erstwhile professors and ask them for an encore performance for Fall 2011. My thought is that, by the wintertime, when I'll have been teaching for a semester, I should really switch over to tapping colleagues, my department chair, etc. I'll look foolish if I'm employed somewhere and still calling upon former advisors from several years ago for recs, won't I?
- Lady Gaga continues to colonize my brain. I resisted for a while, but she's devilishly persistent. I started loving at least some of her music a while ago, as I have mentioned on a few occasions. I also admire her politics, which helps a little: lots of famous people make little feel-good statements about this or that to curry favor with the public, but not a lot of celebrities are willing to take a serious economic penalty by pulling out of an endorsement deal with a company they consider oppressive. I'm a harder sell on her videos, though; I'm not a huge fan of big, weird music videos that turn upon images that have no purpose other than to call attention to themselves. I find it slightly unsettling, really.
I'm kind of surprised, then, that I'm starting to dig the video for Born This Way. In some ways, I can't even explain why, since it's very much of a piece with her other videos: images of the monstrous, the self-consciously freakish, the reality-bending. But something clicked for me here, and I'm perfectly willing to admit that it may be because I am irredeemably tethered to text, and I didn't get the aesthetic until I became familiar with the lyrics to the song. Somehow, though, that did the trick: the monstrous, the freakish, the surreal, mixed in with the plain old gender-bending, the androgynous, the queer. And then I got it. Gaga is taking drag as a broad-based visual metaphor, expanding it to include a wide variety of costumes and roles that (please forgive the scare quotes) "aren't real." Look at that get-up of hers as the tuxedo-clad corpse — that's a serious genderfuck costume as well as a serious Halloween costume. And Halloween itself, as I once heard someone observe, is "the only holiday with a distinctly gay feel to it." Whoa, is someone working on this? I'd love to read an article on this stuff!
- I think I just spent more time crafting this blog post than I have spent so far today working on my professional writing. Have I mentioned that I'm having trouble focusing on my writing lately? Well, I am.
1 year ago