Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Finally...[pant]...turned in...[gasp]...thesis!

For real this time.

I don't feel as triumphant this time for some reason, even though it's about a million times more acceptable and professional than the first time. I think it's one of those things where the first time you do it is exciting just because you've never done it before.

However, I did at least get a science high off it last night as I finally figured out some statistical stuff that I haven't really understood for the past seven years or so.

Have barely slept during the past five days, and my quals/comps paper was also left in the dust for the nonce. Have to catch up somehow, but it's really hard to do more than two pages a day on that darn thing. Also must prepare to begin teaching the day after tomorrow. Luckily, this is a class I have more or less subconsciously been preparing to teach for the past five years or so. I must have known somehow that I'd be called upon to do it some day.

So tired!

Only slept 2.5 hours last night.

Music stuck on repeat in head: Moby's My Weakness. Heard it first on an episode of the X-Files, after which it would pop into my head for no reason at various times. Always wondered what it was. Finally heard it on the Moby CD. Yay! Not lost; not even really obscure. I am discovering I really like Eastern European choral liturgical music. Such elaborate, unexpected, lush harmonies.

Now must work. Somehow.

P.S. the new/old laptop (me/argotnaut) : loves it! Loves it.

Friday, August 27, 2004

I think the problem is not with laser mouses, but with my mousery. I am too accustomed to using a (ball) mouse in a similar way to a pencil: small, feathery strokes when I get close to my target. Also, apparently I count on the momentum of the spinning ball to get me that last few millimeters.

I watched bitterly in utter mouse disability as Simon innocently, happily, plied his laser mouse vertically on his trouser leg as he sat computing upon my coffee table. Damn these newfangled contraptions!

Best and also worst hyphen omission found in thesis data sources:

Eliot, A. & Baker, C.W. (2001). Eating disordered adolescent males. Adolescence, 36(143), 535-543.

Recent dream:
Simon actually posted stuff on his website.

Real life:
The next day, Frinkenstein finally went up. Huh.



Teenage sister L. (father’s side) visited last weekend, complete with hot-pink hair and huge black patent-latex platform moon boots.

Took her to EMU campus to feed squirrels, where she experienced the “hanging off trees by back feet for a peanut” trick. (Squirrels, not L.) However, as usual couldn’t get them to allow ear-scratching. Must be skittish with more people about.

Fed mini-goats and other tiny livestock at Ypsi Heritage festival, resulting in revolting paste of animal saliva & grain dust on hands. Luckily, had brought wet wipes.

Stopped for bubble tea with pearls. Basically, flavored iced tea with varicolored tapioca-like globs in bottom of glass, served with huge straw to suck up globs. Fun! (…Try not to think of revolting creature-squishing character in movie “Dune” while drinking / chewing.)

Impulsively bought life-sized chocolate football* at chocolatier in downtown Ann Arbor as gift for Simon.

Was forced to watch Sid & Nancy (which I own but don't generally watch) as L. was watching it, and then Simon also got drawn into it, like a train wreck.

At the end of the weekend, L. announced that she shall:

1. begin feeding squirrels forthwith
2. place birdseed on windowsills at home
3. Acquire English boyfriend, who will be required to say “bloody” and “bugger” for her entertainment. (She is a teenager, after all.)


Yesterday, finally had witnesses to campus squirrels allowing ear-scratching! They subsequently tried to touch the squirrels, too, as they went past. Fools. There’s technique, timing, and tools for such a touchy task. Good lord, make the alliteration stop.

Coerced Simon into saying that sentence about not using the strawberry, but couldn’t get him to sound much like a little girl.

*As opposed to “Meatball”, AKA “American football”.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Just noticed that someone found my blog by Yahooing my first and last names. Since I've been getting various messages from upcoming students today, I bet it's one of them. (Who else would know how to spell either my first or last names otherwise?)

Sheesh, guess I'm going to have to act all professorial online now, since my name is inextricably linked with my blog. I think it was the link about "xyquez." (Plus there's my photo, a dead give-away that it really is me.)

Darnit, no room to have a personal life when you're trying to be credible!

Maybe I'll have to start a secret-er blog. I think if I just got rid of those elements, it would still come up for a long while...and also leave too much of a cybertrail.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Still alive, but barely, due to apparent mental reaction to restarting work on --well, everything, after weekend of non-academia. Thought I might get some work done while sister and Simon were both visiting, but that was a ludicrous imagining. Feeling too busy to begin sentences with anything but verbs, apparently.

Thank goodness I finally got to see Simon. Was becoming positively neurotic after a freakin' month of long-distance relationship, and am unfortunately not exaggerating when I say I was about to have an emotional breakdown if I didn't get to see him soon. Now it will be yet another two weeks before we see each other again, but both our travel schedules will cease and desist come September.

Must remind self (à la entry in Frinkenstein) that I am living my dream!

Now, must go back home and work more.

The sucky thing is, I can't prepare for teaching my new class in the detailed, organized, and fun way that I would have if I didn't also have thesis and quals/comps paper due the day before class begins.

Oxford commas rule!

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Just wasted 15 minutes I don't have posting a comment, and then when I tried to put some italics in it, the entire thing disappeared and only the italics tags remained. Post completely gone. Blogger has been acting really crazy since they changed to this format, but dammit! That's the last straw.

Spent most of the day today catching up on my requisite two pages from yesterday. I stayed up until 12:30 but still didn't finish. Will likely spend another 5 or 6 hours today writing today's two pages...sigh. The part that takes all the time isn't the actual *writing*, (maybe italics later, huh?) but figuring out what to write and then trying to find the research to back it up amongst all the texts and notes from the past 3 years.


To unwind, about the only thing I can even bear to read is children's books these days. I also sometimes watch kids' TV programs...even preschool ones! The other day I saw part of Teletubbies, which featured a film clip of two little English siblings (Chloe and Mahk) who were frosting and decorating a cake together. "Mahk is eeh-ting the choco-litt buh-tons. He thingks I doewn't noewtice." "Let's noh-tews this strawbury, let's eeh-tit!" Good lord, they were cute.

Yes, I was previously just generally a xenophile, but now because of Simon I must confess that I have definite Anglophilic tendencies. >tsk< How...common of me!

Well, better get back home to work now...I just wish that there was less construction occurring right outside my front window. And by less I mean NONE!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Man, do I ever need a chair massage.

Feel guilty taking even five minutes here to post an update about where the heck I've been. Home! That's where I've been, home doing work. A lot of work.

It turns out that writing 10 pages of that exam is simply too much for a weekend, unlike normal work where I might be able to pound out four pages of something an hour. I have had to revise my schedule so I am now doing two pages a day. Every day, no matter what.

Even so, it has been taking about 4 or 5 hours to do so, and this is just the cruddy rough draft. Jakers! Unfortunately, this is not the only thing I have to do, either.

I've been freaking out a whole lot about deadlines (usually about 2:30am nightly), because I also have to do my thesis revisions (AKA redoing the entire freakin' thing), give it to my committee members, give them two weeks in advance to schedule a defense, and then do the defense--all before I can turn in this giant exam paper. Which has to be turned in by September 15, preferably much earlier but I can see there's simply no way that will happen. I don't know how I am going to be able to accomplish this!

Also have been increasingly miserable because Simon and I haven't seen each other for what is now nearly a month due to our conflicting busy-ness and travel schedules. However, I did get my APA presentation done, and he did get his certification in being a Microsoft - solution -grand- vizier- thingy, or whatever it's called.

Well, I tried to comment on my own site the other day about things people had written, but there was some kind of Blogger disorder happening. The long and short of it was that I am glad to have a laugh about some only tangentially school-related thing. Thanks!

Okay, now must go try to change my internal circumstances (attitude), since my external circumstance (time frame) isn't going to change.

Instead of saying "Yaaahhhh! I have no time to get everything done! I am insane and freaking out and will never meet these deadlines!" must tell self: "I am relaxed and I have plenty of time to get this stuff done." (Kind of like fooling yourself into feeling okay so you actually can get your stuff done.)

I'll let you know if this technique works.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

In the category of "things that present themselves when I don't have time to look at them, yet I do it anyway" :

You are Susan Gezi.Your father was killed by a planned motor accident. He was the former Zimbabwean Minister for Youth & Gender Equality. You have $22,000,000 to share.  You want to assure me this transaction is 100% risk free.
Which Nigerian spammer are You?

Monday, August 09, 2004

It seems that Australian beer companies have discovered that women like the taste of beer, but find its image "too blokey."

Now, considering my interest in gendered food, how could I not make this into a contest to create a non-blokey beer?

I'm putting it in guestbook form, so that it won't necessarily fade away with the blog comments as time passes (but watch out for excessive pop-ups):

Free Guestbook from Bravenet.com

(I hope you all make me laugh, 'cause I could sure use the stress relief.)

Hawaii highlights:

(The speed-posting version.)

1. Having a wild chameleon on my shoulder eating bugs. (Her, not me.)

2. Discovering that for all I angsted about my poster presentation, it turned out to be one of the nicer ones. A shocking number of people were still using that old "individual pieces of paper stuck up on a board" which looks so...1978. Too bad that the poster hall contained thousands of posters at any given hour, and I was in the furthest row from the door, so that not too many people even got to our row in the 50 minutes allotted.

3. Salt water is good for dog bites.

4. Mmmm...crab--the ocean's delicious arachnids!

5. Earplugs go a long, long way in making life okay when you have to sleep in a room with 6 or 7 strangers and you're all jetlagged.

6. Cave spiders are very webby, but don't seem to bite much.

7. Snorkeling is very good after the initial 5 minutes of the suffocation sensation.

8. The pineapple is so tender and delicious I could have eaten it all day. And the papaya--it was so good I don't even have sensory memory of what it was like.

9. No matter how little I pack, I always find I could have packed a lot less.
Here I go again posting an email, but there is a reason for this one. It also contains the reason I have hardly posted anything since my return from Hawaii! (Well, this and the inability to find somewhere to download my photos, which make all the difference.)

The thing is, people have been inviting me to an average of two events per weekend, as though I now have free time simply because it's warm out! I think I probably gave people the wrong impression by having some fun around the 4th of July...it was only temporary, not a new lifestyle.


Dear Favorite Cool People,

Many of you have invited me to do all kinds of really neat and fun things throughout the summer. They have been things I wanted to do, and anyway you are people I would even do boring things with just for the heck of it. (And I have in fact done one or two things with nearly all of you, at least those of youliving in the same state!)

The reason I am writing this email is to beg you all to not even tell me about anything fun you are doing during August, (and probably not September either), let alone invite me, because the only thing I can do about it is feel a combination of guilty and envious.

I know you have heard it all a hundred times since I started grad school, but it really is this bad. I feel like I need to explain what this is like, since it probably seems like I just constantly turn things down for no reason. I want people to know why I am rejecting your invitations, and it's not because of you.

(I probably also just feel like complaining about how crazy this really is, and also possibly like warning people away from entering a PhD program unless totally informed!)

Okay, here it is, the stuff I have to get done by the end of this month, so my next four weeks will consist of:

1. I have to write a 10-page paper every weekend during August. Every…weekend. And not just any old 10-page paper where if it sounds pretty good and everything is spelled right and I widen the margins I can kind of BS my way through, but rather a total of 40 pages combined that is my qualifying exam paper. This is the hujambous exam where I have to show in minute detail, with about 10 pages of references, everything I have learned in the past 3 years of grad school. It has to be a serious, big, heavy, scholarly paper in 10-point font and with all these APA specifications. (Including the dang statistics stuff.) This will have to be graded by three separate faculty members individually before I can basically pass to "the next grade". And then at the end of this month I have to put it all together and make it sound like a cohesive whole.

2. I have to pretty much rewrite my entire thesis. I was supposed to be completely done with it and have it defended at the end of June/beginning of July, but of course one of my committee members (a mean one!) returned it to me with 4 (four!) single-spaced pages of things he wanted me to change, which means completely redoing roughly 75% of it. (This is the thing that has already taken me three years to do so far.)

3. I have to create, upload, and lesson-plan my entire class semester from scratch: I begin teaching my first class September 2.

4. I have to design the research plan for my upcoming dissertation. Of course, I can't actually propose until I rewrite and defend that thesis (above) and turn in my quals exam paper (above). But I can't begin applying for internships—-which I have to do this fall—-until I propose my thesis.

5. I still have clients, assessments, case presentations, supervision, write-ups, and other clinic work to do throughout the week, every week.

6. I have to completely plan out and then promote a therapy group for the fall semester. But before I can even begin the planning stage, I have five texts/resources I need to read. They total nearly 2000 pages. And since I need a co-leader, I am also going to have to train one of my colleagues in the particular type of therapy it will be, since I'm the only one who's done it so far.

7. I have to write this dumb report thing for a class that was over last year, but the professor changed the instructions on the very last day of class during the actual final, so that several of us ended up with incompletes for the class, including me.

8. I have to attend colleagues' weddings two of these weekends. I am actually pretty unhappy about that, (even though I love them personally,) as Saturdays and Sundays are my prime working days, so there go big chunks of two of the four weekends. Furthermore, my teenage half-sister (dad's side) will be coming up to stay with me on yet another one of the weekends.

Also, since Simon and I have had so many reasons we've each had to leave the town/state/continent over the summer, we have barely seen each other at all. When he returns from Texas in a couple weekends, we won't have seen each other in nearly a month. So yes, it will be a priority to squeeze in some time to see him, even time I can't afford, or technically we won't even have a relationship. (Naturally, that weekend will also be the weekend my little sister will be visiting, and I still have to be writing 10 pages that weekend somehow too.)


So there it is, the stuff I have do finish THIS month—-and yet I know there are other things I have left off this list but can't think of right now. So if you feel that I have been blowing you off, or you wonder why I won't take just one night or just one afternoon to play, now you know what kind of fun things I've been doing instead. I'm at that point where every single freakin' hour of every day from now through September is already completely planned out, with no wiggle room at all.

I spent about four or five days around the 4th of July not doing very much work, so I guess that was my summer. Oh yeah, plus the APA convention. (And of course I even feel guilty for having done that.) So please, please—-don't even tell me about the barbecue/ dance night/ funeral/ swim day/ party/ wedding/ birthday/ movie evening/ open-mike night, because I simply can't do it, and I feel bad for having to keep saying no over and over and over like a big jerk!

"Loves It!" (<--if you can tell me what that's from you get some kind of metaphorical prize, though it can't make up for having seen the source)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I'm going to be extremely lazy and post the text of the "I'm back" email

I just sent out to important people:

I made it safely home and am tanner than I have been since I was 15
and living in California. (Also, my skin is magically perfectly clear!)

Saw lots of fantastic trees, waterfalls, fish, birds, etc., but photos will
have to wait until Simon's return from Texas so I can download them
from my camera to his computer.

Looks like L* [sister on [dad's] side] and a pal will be coming from
Chicago to stay with me for the weekend of the 20th! I guess she is
getting to that age (what, 16 now?) I guess I'd better goth up the
apartment for their comfort, but I draw the line at listening to loud
scary music at my advanced age.

Well, quite exhausted and jet-lagged, so I will now go home and
nap before doing some work there. Maybe even unpack. luckily,
"someone" was kind enough to tidy up my kitchen while I was
packing to leave, so I didn't come home to week-old kitchen filth.

Squirrels are probably hungry, though.

[I don't know what the heck is wrong with the text in this post, and
am too tired and busy to figure it out just now.]