Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Make the Pulitzer Great Again!

Deplorable! This is the bigliest scandal to rock the classical music world since we heard about that opera conductor being a bad hombre...and then allowed him to have a celebrated career for decades. The Deep State has infiltrated the Pulitzer Board and awarded the prize for Music to a Kendrick Lamar. When the “urban” music scene sends its people, they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rappers.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I have lots of friends who are (whispered) rappers. I love (whispered) rappers. They’re fine people! It’s just that rap isn’t art, okay? Art is beautiful. Art is elite. Art doesn’t have curse words!

Russia, are you listening? I hope you’re able to find the missing Pulitzer votes. Don’t listen to the fake news mainstream media. And don’t even get me started on the failing Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times!

Look, I’m not a rap-ist. I just want us to go back to the good old days of the Pulitzer, when prizes were given to hyper-intellectual art pieces whose framework comes from centuries-long Western traditions that definitely don't intentionally exclude specific genres based on outdated paradigms. 

Or at least give it to a piece of music that most Americans don't even like.

I mean, DAMN.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

How To Not Be An Asshole: A 12-Step Program

Step 1. Give the courtesy wave.

Okay, this is the first step, so we need to start off with a soft lob. I don't want anyone straining any muscles. (Did you know the heart is a muscle? Anyway.) When you are driving down a narrow street and a car approaching you pulls over to allow you to pass, give them a little courtesy wave, will you? Please notice that I'm not suggesting you actually be the one to pull over and acquiesce to the other driver. (That's, like, full Step Thirteen Asshole-Sober level behavior.) Just express a quick acknowledgment and show some momentary gratitude for their lack of assholery. You don't even have to do a full wave. Do that thing where you continue gripping your steering wheel but raise three, maybe four fingers from their curved position to, like, slightly less curved and almost straight. Maybe even throw in a nearly imperceptible head nod. You know what the other person will think? "Huh, that was nice. They're definitely probably not an asshole."

(Bro tip: Also give a courtesy wave behind you when somebody lets you merge or turn into their lane. That's super non-asshole behavior right there.)

Step 2. Smile at a stranger on the sidewalk.


Alright. At this point, you should be fairly comfortable with the feeling of acknowledging a complete stranger with a minimally positive gesture. It's time to take it to the next level. Try to catch a person's eye as you pass them on the sidewalk and give them a small smile. Don't be, like, creepy. Give a quick look in their direction; if they reciprocate and you happen to make eye contact, follow through with the smile equivalent of, "Hey." not "Haaaaayyyyyy." Do you know why this is good? Because it allows you to give that other person acknowledgment that they freaking exist. Also, people used to do this sort of thing all the time Before Steve Jobs. And honestly? You will look like a self-confident badass because nobody does this anymore.


Step 3. Do not block an intersection.


I know. You're busy. You have places to be. Here's the thing: SO DOES EVERYBODY ELSE. But even more importantly: Do you know what happens when you nudge yourself in there to catch the tail of that yellow light and end up in the middle of the intersection? You get to your destination roughly twenty seconds earlier than if you had just goddamn waited AND you get to sit there—yep, like an asshole—while everybody throws their rightfully venomous angry eyeballs at you. Just don't do it, okay? As a bonus, you get a few extra seconds to chill in your car at a stop light and do some Kegels or something.


Step 4. Don't leave people waiting.


Don't you just freaking hate waiting? I hate waiting for my burrito to cook for two minutes in the microwave. I hate waiting when I don't realize I'm accidentally connected to my neighbor's unprotected wi-fi and I have to watch my television buffer forever while trying to watch Game of Thrones through a totally legal and definitely not pirated source. Sometimes I even hate the 1.3 seconds it takes for my phone to read my fingerprint and unlock. But guess what? Microwaves and modems and smartphones are not sentient. (Yet.) You are. In fact, you are a sentient being who has successfully completed three steps in gradually becoming Not An Asshole, so you value everyone's time. Don't be that car at a light that keeps everyone behind you waiting when the light turns green because you're too busy texting eggplant emojis or something. If you tell somebody you will be somewhere at a certain time, be there. If you can't be there, tell them. Tell them as far ahead of time as possible including up to the moment you have previously committed to meeting them. Pending a family or medical emergency, anything later than that is asshole behavior and you will not be able to move on to the next step.


Step 5. Be kind to customer service workers.


True story: My first job was working for Blockbuster Video—which, children, was like if Netflix was a physical place you had to go to in order to watch movies at home and you always ran into people you knew on a Friday night and totally secretly judged each other on your movie choices so you would sometimes pretend to be looking at the box for Remains of the Day while waiting for the other person to pass out of your line of vision so you could finally just bring that rental copy of Dude! Where's my Car? up to the counter. Anyway, one night I was working a register and some middle aged asshole tried to rent, I am just going to assume it was Meet the Deedles or I Still Know What You Did Last Summer out of spite, and I was Blockbuster-contractually obligated to tell him that his account showed that he owed like 32 cents in late fees or something. So then he proceeds to flip out and tell me I'm lying. There's no way he turned in anything late. When I calmly tried to reason with him and say that I am just telling him what my computer showed, and also, that, like, calm down dude, 32 cents is not a big deal, he proceeded to gesture wildly to the rest of the customers in line that I was obviously a dumb lying kid who should be fired. And then I kind of giggled at him. (It was a long time ago, but probably that's what happened.) Then he stormed out in a cloud of accusations and expletives hurled in my direction. And then I calmly went to the break room and told my manager to be aware that some angry jerk was probably going to call in a few minutes and tell them that I was a liar (which he did, lol) who should be fired (which I wasn't, lolol).


Anyway. Don't be this asshole dude. Don't yell at some five foot tall teenager just because she told you that you were one day late returning Chairman of the Board or Barb WireDon't be rude to a server because it's 8pm on a Saturday night and you had to wait five extra minutes to get your water refill. Don't act like you're better than the kid or the fifty year old making your Big Mac. Who gon' make your burger, boo? Don't huff and puff at the checker at CVS who is making polite small talk with the elderly person slowly counting out change to make their purchase. They're probably making somebody's grandpa's day.


Say hello. Say please. Say thank you. You should have learned all of this in kindergarten, but in case you forgot some of it on your way to Assholeville, here it is again. Just be kind. I mean, be kind to everybody. But especially customer service workers.


Step 6. Own up to your mistakes and be open to criticism. 


Alright, we're starting to get into the real serious territory here. Take a deep breath because this is where a lot of people fall of the ass wagon. Repeat after me: "I'm sorry. That was my bad." "Sorry, guys. I totally goofed." "Yup, that was me. I apologize." "I made a mistake and I take full responsibility." "I messed this up. How can I help fix things?" It's really not that hard, especially once you've done it a few times.


Here's an Ancient Chinese Secret® about this particular aspect of non-assholery: Admitting to your own mistakes is like getting a bikini wax. It might sting like the dickens right when you do it, but, afterwards, it's pretty much smooooth sailing, if you get my drift. (Insert eggplant emoji.) But if you try to ignore the issue in hopes that it will just go away, you're in for a tangled mess of jungle weeds. You're welcome for that imagery. Also, never ever blame your mistakes and faults on somebody else. It makes you seem like an insecure little fool who can't take care of their own [poop emoji]. And remember the last time a person wouldn't admit to their own faults and habitually deflected blame on others because of their giant ego and tiny hands heart? Well, they were freaking elected President of the United States. But karma will take care of him soon enough.


On a related note: Did you know that only about 10% of the population has outie bellybuttons? Did you know that men typically have more bellybutton lint because it gets all caught up in their belly hairs? And did you know that all mammals who have a placenta also have a belly button? (*Goes to find my pup's belly button*) Besides this, bellybuttons are kind of boring. So, stop with the navel gazing already. Although completion of this 12-Step Program ensures that you will be a far superior human being than you were before you started, it will not make you perfect. Nobody is perfect. If somebody offers—in a kind or at least not douchey way—some constructive ways in which your behavior may be improved, give it some consideration. It doesn't mean they're necessarily right. But it doesn't always mean they're wrong, either. Continuously strive to be a slightly better version of yourself everyday. But if some asshole is criticizing you unfairly and is being a giant turdbag, then just laugh them off (see: Step 8). And then introduce them to this program.


Step 7. Follow through on commitments and obligations.


Who-o-a we're halfway there and now you can start using that momentum to drive you through these next steps.

The previous steps were designed to make you a stronger, more conscientious, and self-aware person. They also should have somewhat conditioned you to being comfortable with feelings of discomfort. Because you know what?  Sometimes being a functional non-asshole adult means doing things you don't necessarily want to do because other people are depending on and expecting you to do them. Work, classes, lessons, meetings, rehearsals. If you signed up to do it, it's your responsibility to follow through. If you don't and it becomes a habit, guess what? You're an asshole. Try again. Accountability is key and your good reputation as a non-asshole depends on it. 

Step 8. Have a sense of humor.


Look. I'm a music academic. Music is serious. Academia is serious. Pooping is serious. All these things are also funny. Long story short, do you know the piece Leck mich im Arsch? Look it up.


What I, and Mozart, are trying to say is just have a laugh sometimes. Often. At yourself. At minor annoyances. At unexpected surprises. At life. At assholes. Especially since you are well on your way to not being one anymore. Good work.


Step 9. Stop telling other people how to live*. 


We're on the home stretch, friend, so listen very carefully: You be you. At this point, you can probably be classified as a Pretty Cool Person, so being you should be a pretty sweet deal. However, there's a caveat. In order for you to be you, you also have to let him be him. Or her be her. Or, yes, them be them. Everyone is just living out their own story as we ride this giant rock through space together. You don't have to agree with or even approve of everyone. But don't ever think for a moment that you have the right to tell another person how to walk, march, or twirl down their path.


Just be a good person, okay? You're on the home stretch. You can do it. Look how far you've come already!


* Except for predators, murderers, and bigots. It's totally okay to tell them how not to live. See Step 12.


Step 10. Show gratitude.


These remaining steps are highly crucial towards your Freedom from Assholery.


Nobody goes through life alone. Unless you are Ted Kaczynski (and look how he turned out). Which is to say that there are plenty of people along the way who were at the right place and the right time to help you. Say a damn thank you. When you are hangry and somebody goes out of their way to get you an afternoon snack so you don't commit murder, say thank you. When your pot-smoking bumpkin next door neighbor comes over wearing only a pair of jorts and sneakers offering you a bunch of tomatoes he grew in his garden, say thank you. When somebody gives you support in a time of need, say thank you. When somebody does good work, say thank you. When somebody helps you to become a better person, say thank you. When you see someone giving of themselves so much at an otherwise thankless job, be the one to say thank you.


Step 11. Practice empathy.


Hoo boy, this is a big one. There's a reason this is the penultimate step. If you can pass this, you're basically on the last straightaway of the final lap of the Olympic Marathon of Not Assholes.


Countless of our fellow human beings have been tasked with living out their time on this planet as part of one or several marginalized groups. Often times it can be difficult to understand someone's actions or motivation only because you do not share their context. Put yourself in the place of another person and really understand them through their perspective. This is incredibly important when trying to make sense of the wildly and often times violently opposing viewpoints that exist in this world. This is also incredibly important when you are the partner of a very overworked, often stressed, and chronically exhausted individual who has a tendency to leave his shoes in places other than the Designated Shoe Place and a stray fork or two unwashed in the sink. (This is all hypothetical.)


Step 12. Don't be a bigot.


Hey, awesome person, you've made it to the final step of our 12-Step How To Not Be An Asshole program. Congratulations! Skills and traits you have acquired during your journey towards non-assholery include:


Courteousness

Kindness
Self-Awareness
Humility
Humor and Cheer
Accountability
Altruism
Gratitude
Empathy

With these attributes, you are ready to take this final and incredibly critical step: Do not be a bigot.


Just don't. Don't do it. Don't defend it. Don't justify it. Don't tolerate it. Don't.


Does this mean we aren't allowed to feel superior to anyone else? Of course not. I feel superior to most people most of the time, but that's only because I make really good lumpia. And, honestly, if you enter and complete this 12-Step Program on How To Not Be An Asshole, you will be, in my estimation, in at least the top 80th percentile of human beings on this planet.


Reasons to feel superior to others:

1) good grammar
2) capacity to respond to work emails in a timely manner
3) lumpia making skills

Reasons not to feel superior to others:

1) amount of melanin in skin
2) what gender(s) make underbits tingle
3) Spaghetti Monster of choice

***

Grant us the serenity to accept the assholes we cannot change,
the courage to change the assholes we can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

I made this! Celebratory Multicultural Ambiguously Ethnic Tacos Edition.

Today, Schmoobs finally came home after spending the near entirety of June traveling to and fro, hither and thither, participating in a multitude of musicky symposiums and workshops and such. The good news is that we have had plenty of experience dealing with long summertime stretches apart (read: Nerd Corps and summer festivals), but it's still always a nice return to banal normalcy when he comes home. Fast forward to two days later when he has an errant sock or something on the living room floor and I'll be ready to send him away again. Hahaha. (I KID.)

Also, while I was playing Miss Independent for the past month, I have been trying really (really really) hard to maintain a somewhat healthy, disciplined, and responsible lifestyle, in the way of not buying convenient and easy fast food. And since I am completely incapable of cooking meals for only one or two people, I usually ended up cooking one meal that yielded enough to last me an entire week. Which is fantastic in theory, given my aforementioned goals. But no matter how delicious a home cooked meal is, there are only so many straight days of eating the same thing that you can take before your taste buds begin waging protests. Long story short, I made this tasty spaghetti dish at the beginning of this past week. It had chicken, and marinara sauce, and watercress (healthy super food!), and vegan cheese (blergh). It also yielded about twenty servings. I was pretty over it by Wednesday. And really over it by Thursday. But I pushed through like a champion and ate that goddamn final serving for dinner on Friday and dreamt that night of the Trader Joe's cabernet beef pot roast thawing in the refrigerator just waiting to be turned into a New Freaking Meal At Last the next day, just in time for Schmoobins to come home!

So here's what I did:

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dog Vlog!

Yes, my dog has a vlog. It is the twenty-first century.

I made this! Hipster Toad in the Hole Edition.

I present to you a breakfast specially curated for Instagram if ever there was one: Hipster Toad in the Hole. This toad carries organic beard wax in his ironic fanny pack and brings his own French press out to brunch. Rye sourdough pumpkin seed bread, two eggs, butter, and avocado.


Recipe:

1. Go to Costco and buy this amazing looking and tasting rye sourdough harvest bread with pumpkin and other seeds, at a very reasonable price. Do not tell anyone that it is from Costco because it can totally pass as being from a local organic bakery. Hipstergrammers prefer local organic things over Costcto things. Damnit, I already messed up on the first step of this recipe. Oh well.


2. Slice off as many slices of this Secret Costco Bread as people you are feeding. On this morning, it was just one (me.) as Schmoobles has been away on work trips for pretty much the entire month. HEY WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT EMOTIONAL EATING? Oh I did. Then carve out a hole in the middle of the bread slice. Large enough to hold the number of eggs you envision cooking in there. (I did two. #emotionaleating) You can eat the bread scraps, or, do what I did, which is head outside to your backyard wearing only an oversized t-shirt, and toss the bread scraps onto your lawn while singing Mary Poppins tunes while your neighbors call 911.

3. In a large pan (preferably copper because copper cookware is freaking beautiful and if you're not cooking for Instagram, who even are you cooking for I don't get it), melt some butter. Jesus, we're not on a diet here. Put more butter in there. Make sure your pan is on medium or medium-high.

4. Place your Secret Costco Bread Slice in the pan and allow the butter to work its magical sexiness on that toast. Leave them to do their business for, what, like a minute? Two? I don't know. Just don't burn it like I came about ten seconds away from doing. But when one side is golden and toasted and buttery, flip it over and do the same on the other side.

5. BUT immediately after you flip it over, quickly grab your butter and put some more inside the Secret Costco Bread Slice hole. Don't be scared. You need to make sure there is plenty of butter in the pan in preparation of the eggs.

"Be not afraid. I come before you always. Come, follow me, and I will give you rest." - The butter singing gently to your eggs, probably (Is this joke sacrilegious? Do I have to go to confession now?)

6. Crack your eggs gently into the buttered Secret Costco Bread slice hole. Depending on how hot your pan is and how much butter you put in there, the length of time it will take to cook your egg whites will vary. If you are getting impatient and are worried that the bottom of your toast and eggs may burn before the eggs fully set to your liking, you can always put a lid on the pan. Just know that this will facilitate more cooking through of the egg yolks, and you may not get as Instagram-worthy of an egg action shot.

7. While you are waiting for the eggs to cook, you can go ahead and slice half an avocado. Again, make sure it is organic. Avocados don't even show up on Instagram unless they are organic. But not local, unless you live in California or a south American country. I mean, what even is a Kentucky avocado, or a Michigan avocado? Crap, that's what.

8. When everything is ready, plate your Hipster Toad in the Hole on your favorite social media-worthy serving dish (I prefer plain white dishware myself, so as to not distract from your Instamasterpiece). Arrange the avocado slices on top in an aesthetically-pleasing manner, being careful not to completely cover the eggy center. After all, you want everyone to know that this is not just some stupid ordinary boring old avocado toast. Sprinkle on top with some type of pretentious salt: Himalayan pink? Volcanic black? At the very least, make sure it's not granulated table salt *shudder*. Also add some freshly ground black pepper. And then some red chili flakes. Not necessarily because you are fond of chili flakes, but because it looks good

9. Position your plate casually next to a carefully-chosen ironic coffee mug, find the best natural light in your kitchen (or, hell, go outside to snap your photo), and set the world ablaze with your Instagramtastic meal. 

10. Enjoy your delicious Hipster Toad in the Hole. (But never forget that eating your dish is only secondary to posting a photo of it on social media.)

But what if I am a little stubborn, AND a little nutty?

So I started this other other blog a while ago. Again, I kind of got distracted by life and forgot to write in it. Whoops. But now I'm kind of getting the blogging itch again, and can't decide whether I want to forge ahead with Stubborn Tomato or Acadaemia Nut. Well, I mean, seeing as how I'm writing this new post here, I guess I've decided to go along with Stubborn Tomato, mainly because it has more already-existing posts. And maybe because I'm more in the mood to write about stupid boring domestic non-academic life. Because I'm more in the mood to have a stupid boring domestic non-academic life...? Hm. I'll let myself ponder that on my own.

It's been a Q.U.I.E.T. summer. My office desk job is in an arts center on a University campus, so, while there is still the occasional event that takes place during the summer months, 99.9% of the time I can be found sitting at my desk, propping my eyelids open with toothpicks, browsing the internet, occasionally reading about sixteenth-century Spanish mystics, engaging in stressful and frustrating political discussions with Bossman, refreshing all my social media accounts every ten seconds, daydreaming about what I am going to cook and eat that evening, and generally feeling guilty about not spending more time dissertating. The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Anyway. This week our arts center is hosting the big State Pageant, and on the schedule for today are talent rehearsals in preparation for the first official evening of competition tonight. The best part is that my office is separated from the main concert stage, so Bossman and I are being treated to a wonderfully eclectic office soundtrack today:

Pageant contestant: *general caterwauling*
Bossman: "Oof. Terrible."
Me: "I don't even recognize what that song was."
Bossman: "Nobody would."

Hahaha.

I may spend a portion of my day transferring some old posts from Acadaemia Nut on over here. And maybe some past recipe/cooking posts that I've been wanting to blog. Anything to get the sounds of Aretha Franklin and Adele songs being sung a semitone flat over a canned orchestral track out of my head.

Update: One of the pageant contestants just wandered into the office hallway and started warming up her Smooth-Criminal-on-violin routine. Bossman immediately banished her. Hahaha.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

It's seriously only Tuesday?

Here's the thing about working in the office of your school's director of graduate studies ("Office Job 1"): You develop a level of collegiality and familiarity with this Very Important Person in your doctoral program that not many other graduate students attain. However, this also means that, if you screw up -- like, say, completely miss the registration deadline for your dissertation residency course and run the risk of losing your full-time student status -- and have to go to said Very Important Person for help, the groveling intrinsically comes with an added bit of personal shame and embarrassment. Luckily, I am exceptionally good at simultaneously accepting blame and groveling for mercy. It's one of my many charms. Honestly, I find that the combination of ownership, proaction, and a sprinkling of humor can get you out of almost any bind. And doubly luckily, I was not the only graduate student in my program to make the same mistake, so I was able to pull him down along with me to bask in the combined groveling.


"Dear Dr. ---,

Please remember, first, that Scot and I are two of the best -- Musicology students {happy face emoticon}.
But our conversation reminded me to check, and I had not registered for MUS 767 this semester! Neither had Scot, it turns out. But, do not fret! I have already spoken to the Registrar's Office, and they will register us for the 'course' with your signature on this form. Thank you!

Mea culpa
Mea culpa
Mea culpa"

Long story short, our director of graduate studies signed our Late Add forms, I was able to register for the course two weeks (oops) after the deadline, and all's well that end's well. I actually saw him later that afternoon and he greeted me with "Well, if it isn't one of our best Musicology students...!" Haha.

By the way, I'm too tired to blahg about it right now, but someday I will write an angry post about this ridiculous dissertation residency "course" and the also ridiculous fee (over A THOUSAND DOLLARS) that we are required to pay EVERY SINGLE SEMESTER. So, basically, our funding support is cut off at the same exact time that the University requires us to pay this fee to take a "course" that basically entails you trying to research and write a dissertation while concurrently having to work a day job (or two or three) in order to live and eat and pay this stupid bogus course fee. Ugh. Acadaemia win. Hency, my ever ongoing quest to obtain a full-time job on campus so that I waive that freaking bane of my existence fee.

Anyway.

The other day, I purchased a new squeaky toy for BB. 1) It's a freaking turtle with an opening in its belly where you stuff squeaky turtle eggs inside. And 2) I obviously couldn't resist. Come on. I also realized that I could also stuff its belly with BB's absolute favorite most treasured toy, which is her corduroy Santa bear squeaky head that has long since been disembodied from its tennis ball body. So now it looks like the turtle is in the midst of a c-section with this disembodied bear head. Awesome! 


Oh, and we decided to have just a few people over for Superb Owl Sunday this past weekend. Professor Schmoobles had just returned from a professional state conference the day before, so we weren't sure if we even wanted to do anything. But, you know. An excuse to have chicken wings and such. And since we are who we are, we also did shrimp cocktail and oysters. Oh, us.



Guess who's stomach felt like a vat of fiery hot bile later that night and into the next day? Ugh, even looking at that picture of spicy fried wings makes my stomach turn. Was it worth it? DUH. But spicy wings and I probably need to take a little break. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Commentariat of the mundane: a photo dump!

"Gee, I love going back and forth between the frozen windy weather outside and overly heated indoors during the winter!" -- nobody with extremely sensitive skin and eczema ever

Here, I took a selfie:

Who needs face skin, anyway?

Sometimes, I look in the mirror to check on the whole face situation when I have these extreme dry skin spells and it looks like a patch of my skin has dried donut glaze on it. Which, considering I scarfed down a half dozen glazed donut holes in my car this morning after I parked because I had two minutes before my 8am appointment, is actually entirely possible. 

Anyway, not much terribly exciting news on the front line, or even the back line. I achieved decent office time dissertation progress last week, which is what I am going to assume caused the acute right wrist pain that I am currently suffering from. You know what are daily actions that you totally take for granted until you decide to develop a mystery wrist injury on your dominant hand? Opening doors, turning the steering wheel, and...um...cleaning yourself after a visit to the Little Disgruntled Doctoral Student's Room. Anyway. Dissertating is a dangerous business, especially when trying to do it while working an office job! I'll probably have to start using one of those ergonomic mouse/keyboard wrist cushion things that old people or nerds use.

In any case, lots of mundane things have happened in the last couple of weeks. I took pictures (doy):

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow Day check-in!


Today's Bro Award goes to our postman, who just delivered our mail in this arctic tundra. I think we could have waited for the one envelope of Costco coupons, but the effort was appreciated nonetheless.

Honorable mention goes to the guy who just BICYCLED past our house on the sidewalk while pulling his little kid behind on a sled. That's Snow Day-ing and adulting right. Ah well, back to my fireside blanket burrito.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Important dissertation progress milestone!

I reached fifty pages!


Those dissertation pages sure fly when you're sitting at an office job all week with absolutely nothing to do.

I (and by "I" I mean "Professor Schmoobles") rewarded myself with chicken wings and a martini after work yesterday. Because what else does one reward oneself with after reaching a dissertation progress milestone?

Precioussss.

That being said, fifty pages is like NOTHING BARELY ANYTHING in Ph.D. dissertation terms. It's still all just introductory exploratory stuff. But whatever. I'll take it. Here's to the next fifty and my next round of celebratory fried food products and martinis!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Back to work.

Both in the office drudgery sense and in the dissertation progress sense.

Ugh.

Is it just me or did last week go by in exactly ten seconds? More sleep please.

Anyway, two important dissertation-related things happened yesterday:

1. I  learned that a sixteenth-century Spanish mystic shares the same name as a current-century *ahem* adult film thespian. Things I will not be clicking on on my work computer for 400, Alex.

2. A 15-16c. Spanish mystic named Juana de la Cruz, who is not to be confused with 17c. Spanish mystic Juana Ines de la Cruz (somebody tell me how to get the hour of my life that I wasted trying to clear up my confusion), dressed as a man to escape her family's attempts to marry her off to a man at the age of fifteen. Years later, she would claim that God had designed her at conception to be male, but that the Virgin Mary intervened in utero and requested she be changed into a female. This was why she was left with an Adam's apple. Scholars have suggested that this androgyny (or maybe transgender...?) allowed Cruz to arbitrate more successfully than most in her time the different levels of power assigned to males and females--she was allowed to publicly preach, which was an extremely rare allowance for a woman. Her writings also blur the distinction between male and female, resulting in the elevation of the female as an authoritative voice. FASCINATING! I mean, for me. Anyone else? Bueller?

Oh, also I was able to finish putting in information about one key figure into my ever-expanding Excel Spreadsheet of Dissertation Doom and even managed to add maybe a page worth of text into my actual dissertation document. Woo hoo!

Speaking of deserving a reward, Bossman said yesterday that he was going to bring in donuts this morning. I literally planned out my entire morning around this. And by "planned out" I mean "planned to eat donuts." But we've both been in the office for ten minutes now and there is zero evidence that he brought in any donuts. Grumble.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 30 minutes later: I think Bossman could feel the heat emanating from my fingertips as I typed that last paragraph because he just got up and said he was going to go take a walk to the fancy donut place near campus and pick up some donuts. SUCCESS! 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: A Year in Review.

Let's take an adjudicated journey back through the year that just passed in the blink of an eye, shall we?

January

January would be the beginning of what would end up being probably the most insane and arduous six months of my life. Was I fleeing a war torn country with an oppressive political regime and seeking asylum in a foreign society that misunderstood my history and culture? No. Was I on an airplane that crash landed on a mysterious island with strange magical powers and smoke monsters and despotic inhabitants trying to murder me and my fellow crash survivors? No. Did I awaken in the aftermath of a biological apocalypse with no discernible hope of survival beyond fighting off hordes of undead meat sacks with unquenchable bloodlust? No.

But was I facing my final year of doctoral coursework, culminating in the writing and defending of a dissertation prospectus, teaching two sections of a general music class, taking both Spanish and French courses simultaneously, working Office Job 1, taking my written and oral doctoral qualifying exams, and planning my wedding all at the same time? YES.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I made this! Quizza Edition.

Guys! I did this thing, and you should, too. Unless you're watching your calories or something. But actually, even then, you should still do this because


and we all have to die sometime. Yikes, how morbid. Scratch that. You should do it anyway because it is freaking delicious and easy and you're allowed to do things like this in moderation, OKAY?

Okay.

I'll have a Blue Christmas.

A Bluegrass Christmas. 

I took photos to document everything, because it's only true if it's on the Internet!

This was the first Christmas I've ever spent away from my family. It was something I debated in my head and thought about for a long time all through the late summer and fall months. But, at the end of the day, it just seemed more financially responsible to save up our money this December, especially since we will be doing some traveling (including seeing my family!) in the summer. Do you know how much it costs to fly home to see your family in California these days, especially when you also have to fly with your little adorable ewok puppy as well, which adds nearly another $300 to your travel costs? About as much as a new mattress, that's what. (Joke callback.) And due to the nature of his job, we never know what Professor Schmoobs's holiday schedule is going to be like until fairly close to the holiday, and, by then, all the ticket prices have skyrocketed to oblivion. (BELATED FESTIVUS GRIEVANCE.)

So Professor Schmooblebottoms and I stayed at home this Christmas. I fully expected to cry a little, not going to lie. And, yes, there was some undertone of melancholy throughout the holiday. But, honestly, once you become an adult, doesn't every holiday season kind of feel a little melancholy anyway? It's not just me, is it? I don't need to go on Zoloft, do I? Maybe just more donuts? Some Vitamin D-onuts?

Anyway, I knew I had to find a way to find joy and peace in the holiday celebration and not turn it into some sad, depressing, tear-soaked Lifetime movie. And we did!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Existential ponderings. An ongoing series.

Question: What the hell?

Specifically: What the hell am I doing with my life? One minute, I'm in my twenties going to graduate school to pursue my love for music. The next, I'm in my mid-thirties working towards a Ph.D. that has a highly debatable degree of consequence to this universe. 

I mean, at least when I was a performer I could offer the justification that I was contributing to society by sharing the gift of music. Now? Working on a dissertation whose topic is probably only marginally interesting to myself, my advisor, and possibly four other people on the planet? And (TRUTH BOMB) what if I sometimes don't always fully totally completely care about my dissertation topic? I mean, it's interesting and I have a brain crush on it. And today I may be apathetic whereas tomorrow I will be obsessed again. But will it cure cancer or end homelessness? And assuming we have a hairless puppy or two someday before my uterus completely turns into Tatooine Jakku, will my work even matter to their world? How much of my life do I want to spend gazing into the dark lifeless abyss that is my navel? Am I the World's Worst Doctoral Student?

DO NOT ANSWER THAT QUESTION.

The doctorate was a goal that I set for myself over a decade ago, and it's a difficult thing to not see a personal goal like this through. Especially when it has been a longer road than I first anticipated, as we traversed through different moves, miscellaneous job changes, and other such life turns that delayed the process. So I see it through. I go along and I make baby steps towards the finish line and I tell myself that it will all be worth it in the end. But, in the meantime, I'm not teaching, I'm not making music, I'm not earning a salary, and I'm working menial office jobs that pay a menial hourly wage because there are still bills to pay and life still costs money and apparently nobody wants to hire an intelligent and skilled clarinet-playing musicologist-in-training who has experiencing working ALL THE JOBS and can also make an awesome quiche, and this is nobody's fault but my own, really, so I should stop whining. 

But it's my emo party and I'll whine if I want to.

This all would be so much easier to stomach if I were younger and the prospect of devoting years of your life to a higher (education) calling still seems noble and righteous and any foreseeable ramifications are but a blip on the horizon. Well, now I'm tottering over the precipice of middle age (and not even the fun Monty Python Knights Who Say Ni kind of Middle Age) and it's not really so carefree anymore. 

I suppose at the end of the day this is just a struggle about feeling purposeful and significant.

What am I doing in this world? What am I doing for the world? (Besides making awesome quiches.)

I wonder what the next year will bring. Hopefully a checkered flag and the start of a new chapter. So to speak.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Blogmas 2015: Day Twenty-Four and TWENTY-FIVE!

Merry Christmas to everyone who's not reading this blahg because nobody is reading this blahg because nobody knows I'm writing this blahg!

Christmas post coming up. Although we did not fly home to California this year, it has been a wonderful holiday so far. I mean, I haven't even cried once, which I totally thought I was going to do today. Well, I almost did when my dear mother called the other day to say she would miss us. But I was at work when she called and I couldn't let anyone at the office think I had feelings. Professional decorum and such. And unreasonable crying is only publicly acceptable during the week before Woman Time and if Sarah MacLachlan is talking to you about orphan puppies.

Anyway.

Merry Christmas!

Look at Pumpkin BB-8's poor misshapen crumbling head. If you could zoom in close enough, you'd see that he is starting to grow mold. Sorry, BB-8, I really needed you to stay with me through the Force Awakens premiere and Christmas because I am psychotic. "Beep boop beep." - BB-8 probably (which means "It's okay.")

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Blogmas 2015: Day Twenty-Three



In today's Daily WTF: My dream last night was that I had some sort of growth or abscess on the roof of my mouth (GROSS), and when I reached in there to pop it with my fingers, pesto sauce came out.

WHAT THE EFF.

Also, a Happy Festivus to the rest of us.

I GOT A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE!
My grievance is that I had to be at work on campus today at 8:30 in the morning for Office Job 2 even though classes closed last week. Harumph. But I just have to survive this eight hour workday and then my vacation officially begins! 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Merry Blogmas 2015: Day Twenty, Twenty-One...and Twenty-Two!

Jeebus, I'm really starting to fall apart here.

Well, here's what has happened today: I've spent the last three hours sitting at my desk for Office Job 2, where it is so excruciatingly slow because everybody has gone home for the holidays and the campus is closed, that I've been doing data entry work for Office Job 1.

And I just realized that everything I've done for the past three hours has been for the WRONG FREAKING SEMESTER AND I HAVE TO START OVER.

I think that's my cue to leave my desk for a few minutes and go scream silently into a cup of Star*ucks. And probably a chocolate chip cookie.

***

ETA: OH YOU THINK YOU CAN BE CLOSED STUDENT CENTER STAR*UCKS JUST BECAUSE ALL YOUR STUDENT EMPLOYEES HAVE LEFT CAMPUS?! WELL, SOME OF US STILL HAVE MENIAL OFFICE JOBS TO DO IN ORDER TO COLLECT OUR HARD-EARNED PENNIES, YOU KNOW! Blargh.

I need to take some deep breaths and think happy Star Wars thoughts. 

Merry Blogmas 2015: Day Eighteen and Nineteen

Sorry not sorry for missing yesterday's blahg post (and pretty much today's as well). I was busy watching a certain film:

SO MANY PREVIEWS.

Eeeeeeeeeep!
Long story short, the movie was FREAKING AWESOME OH MY GOD I LOVED IT YAY YAY LET US NEVER SPEAK OF THE LAME ASS PREQUELS EVER AGAIN.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry Blogmas 2015: Day Seventeen

Happy Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening day, everybody! And--because how could it not be this way?--I have to wait to watch it until tomorrow because Professor Schmoobles is out of town at a National Nerd Convention until tomorrow.

On the plus side, strategic stalking of a flash sale site, a gift card that has been in my wallet awaiting use for an entire year, and a deal on free shipping resulted in this:

I'm going to need a moment.