grad school, politics, knitting and other meanderings. And not enough time for any of it.
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Friday, November 25, 2005
This is my last post on knit me more time. This is sad in some respects as this was my first blog and I've been posting here for 1.5 years. But, I feel I have outgrown it in many ways- and when I feel that tug to move on and out, I have to follow it.
I am thus announcing my new blog watershed. I've been posting on it for a couple of days. It is a wordpress blog with some great features blogger just doesn't have. Comments are back and I am very happy with the title, with no longer being "knit wit" and with being able to categorize my posts. I have some work to do on it, though, as right now I am just using a standard template. I need to move the blog to my own server before I can mess around with the template (or better yet, make my own- but I probably don't need that distraction right now).
So farewell knit me more time!
Change your links and come and visit me at the watershed!
posted by knit wit | 11/25/2005 04:01:00 PM
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
the predictable ups and downs...
...of grad school are becoming a little too predictable and and sometimes even, well, boring.
Up: taking about dissertation with a visiting professor
Down: a not-so-great grade on a stats exam
Up: a bunch of great conversations with my advisor in the past few weeks
Down: a probably not-so-great conversation today about said stats grade
Up: increasing feeling of competence in grad school
Down: having that yanked right out from under me
Up: having a non-awkward time at a potluck with mostly faculty
Down: crying in my office the next day over sadistics
Up: knowing it is *just* stats
Down: needing to get through it to get a freakin' phd
I road the bus home last night with another grad student. We talked about all of these ups and downs. We talked about just being able to literally hang on. We questioned our own sanity for even being here. At least we're in the craziness together.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow- it will be so very nice to take a day and relax. And I am actually looking forward to spending the weekend writing. It is good to be working on something new- feeling progress and movement forward. I'll just hang on to that for now!
update: meeting with my advisor about the sadistics exam wasn't even close to a "down" as now I feel better. *whew*
posted by knit wit | 11/23/2005 07:12:00 AM
Sunday, November 20, 2005
lobstahs love guinness
Last night we went out with friends to eat at Claddagh. The food was okay, the company was great, and the 2-part pour method of guinness was amazing.
On the way out, I noticed this poster. Wow. My two most favorite things! I must own this. There isn't one on ebay right now- I'll keep looking.
I am thinking of changing the name and look of my blog. It feels old- outmoded, and that I have outgrown the frantic-sounding title. Yeah, I do need more time, but I do not want my life defined as a struggle against time anymore. I am also not knitting much (a few rows every now and then doesn't really add up to much getting completed) and I am tired of being Knit Wit.
Changing it to "Lobsters love Guinness" is tempting... but I have other ideas in mind. You'll see soon enough.
posted by knit wit | 11/20/2005 03:12:00 PM
Friday, November 18, 2005
behind the times at the life cafe
I just noticed that they made a movie version of Rent. (It also seems they remade the Poseidon Adventure, and the Fog- how completely unnecessary!) Jeez. I tend to be a purist about these things- I don't think they should have made a movie out of an incredible musical like Rent, especially this one. It just belongs on the stage- not on film. And isn't it kind of not about this generation of college kids? Or is the movie targeting those of us around 30 who lived near nyc and around a lot of theatre people?
I haven't listened to Rent in years. I still probably know all the words by heart. It opened at the Nederlander while I was a theatre major (10 years ago), and as soon as we found out they left the first 2 rows open until the day of the performance for students, a whole bunch of us spent the night outside the theatre to get tickets as soon as they opened (well, it wasn't really the entire night- we were out at some club until 3am or so and then decided to try waiting for tickets). It was the original cast, relatively unknown at the time, and one of the very best shows I have ever seen.
This musical was about us and it had total cult status like nothing else did (even more than the Rocky Horror Picture Show). Being the irritating theatre majors that we were, we used to sing songs from it all over the place- on the train, on the street, in diners etc... and probably annoyed the hell out of a lot of people.
But, like I said, I haven't listened to Rent in years- it was a part of my life back when I used to have conversations about worshiping Stephen Sondheim, but not any more (thank god, although I will still argue Sondheim is the musical genius). I am more excited about the remastered dvd of the Sound of Music (that would make such a great holiday present, hint, hint).
posted by knit wit | 11/18/2005 07:42:00 AM
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
cursing my name
Nina over at the ocean has sent out a challenge for those of us who love the change of season from "nice to awful" (as she says) to prove our love. I don't know how to prove it, but I know that the shift to cold weather lifted my spirits today.
A woman I work with told me she woke up this morning "cursing my name." I found that kind of harsh, but whatever. Why? Because I love the cold, the barren trees, and even snow. I even love the kind of snow we are having today- drifty and crispy in the cold, cold air. I was couldn't help but smile today as my face felt all frosty at the bus stop. I stood at the front window of Bascom Hall for a while more than content with the snow falling on trees that still had orange leaves. I know, I am not in the majority. I might even be totally nuts.
I don't love summer. I really hate the heat. It makes me feel sick- frantic, not hungry etc... There is an episode of the Twilight Zone were the temperature of the world is rising rapidly, and people are trapped, stifling, dying from the heat. That terrifying- one of the most terrifying things I can think of (next to the episode with the man who loves to read but can't find time, survives the end of the world, finds a libary, is thrilled with having all the time in the world to read, and then shatters his thick glasses).
posted by knit wit | 11/16/2005 06:49:00 PM
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Following in sep's footsteps, I took an online quiz. I don't know a whole lot about Kristeva. Some is true to my interests- intertextuality, semiotics... but not so much abjection or the psychoanalyst part (and I usually shudder when I hear anything about Lacan).
At least I'm not dead!
You are Julia Kristeva! You were a student of
Roland Barthes, and came up with such important
notions as intertextuality and abjection. You
are a semiotician, psychoanalyst, scholar of
literature, and dozens more things. You are not
What 20th Century Theorist are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
posted by knit wit | 11/13/2005 10:02:00 PM
Saturday, November 12, 2005
when the going gets tough the tough make soup
After a morning of studying statistics, and faced with tons of reading to do, I got hit with the soup-making bug. We had tons of squashes that needed to be used up- so why not make the most of the season and make a creamy squash soup? So I spent an hour hacking away at the squash, cutting it up into little chunks. The winter squash was so sweet, it smelled like melon. I just peeked at how it is progressing after being on the stove for 10 minutes- and it looks like my sore wrist will be worth it!
I made this soup last year- it was wonderful and I ate it over rice for lunch the entire week. I just added a tad too much cayenne that time, so this time I added just a very, very little bit.
I don't follow recipes, I don't own measuring devices, and I never make anything the same twice. But, if you want to try making this, here is roughly what is simmering away on my stove right now...
So I started the garlic in the olive oil, and then added the leeks. I let those cook down for a while, and then added the vegetable stock and some of the spices. Once that was simmering, I added my chopped squashes. Cover and simmer over medium. At some point, when the squash is soft, I am going to use my potato-masher to mash some of the squash. I want some left chunky too. Then I'll add the cream cheese. Then I'll just cook it a little bit more (20-30 minutes) until it seems done. Right now it smells incredible.
I'll post an "after" picture later on tonight!
(okay, back to work, I swear)
- 2 winter squashes, cubed
- 3 various-sized acorn squashes
- 1 large leek
- 6+ cups of vegetable stock
- olive oil
- 3 gloves of garlic
- 1 package of cream cheese (not added yet in the photo above)
- some rosemary
- some ginger
- some cinnamon
- some tarragon
- some pepper
- a tiny-tiny amount of cayenne
posted by knit wit | 11/12/2005 07:18:00 PM
Friday, November 11, 2005
okay, I admit it.
This semester I took on too much. I really don't know what I was thinking. I really didn't have much of a choice this time. Usually I am not able to admit this. Sometimes when I take on too much, I am able to back out of something, or at least relax my expectations about accomplishing something. Not this time- if I could I would. There isn't any way out- it will just have to be like this and I will just have to trust that January 5th will come soon enough.
Here's everything on my plate:
* seminar paper draft/pre-dissertation proposal (due 11/29)
* reading for that proposal
* studying for a prelim (Jan. 4th)
* 2-3 more sadistics exams (one this Thursday)
* 5 more weekly reaction papers due for political science
* readings for both seminars
* working 20 hours a week
Well I thought writing it all down would make me feel better. Nope.
But there are rewards to all this, right? Passing the prelim and getting stats out of the way will feel so wonderful. My reward will be going to Maine and doing nothing for 10 days in January. Getting this semester out of the way means I only have one class left. And yesterday when I met with my advisor about my seminar paper, she wanted to talk about who would be on my dissertation committee- pretty exciting! There is a small, small light at the end of the tunnel, I guess.
posted by knit wit | 11/11/2005 07:39:00 AM
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Maine became the final state in New England yesterday to put a law on the books banning discrimination against gay and lesbian people! Yay Maine! We will definitely be moving back to New England (and not to Texas) as soon as possible. (read about it here)
And Long Island (where we used to live) has been taken over by democrats (both the Nassau and Suffolk legislatures)! When we lived there it was all about the GOP and supporting Bush so this is amazing.
I am about to enroll for my last class ever! I'm taking a Journalism & Mass Communication class in the spring along with independent reading credits for my dissertation. I guess despite how crazy and impossible the next 2 months seems... things are progressing forward!
posted by knit wit | 11/09/2005 10:26:00 AM
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Today I actually passed a statistics exam! By a few points, even! Yes, this means I have never passed one before... I came close to passing the last one. Hopefully this all means sadistics will be over for me for good soon!
And I just saw a rerun of the White House press briefing on Countdown with Keith Olberman (my favorite news show). Holy crap! If you haven't seen one of these lately, you should go here and read the transcript or watch it. Journalists are actually acting like journalists. They are pounding Scottie (who might explode of these days) and the White House. It is just beautiful. It makes me tear up, it is so awesome, but so overwhelming that it has come to this. The transcript doesn't tell you who the questions are coming from, but it wasn't just Helen Thomas (one of my favorite people, ever) it was also other reporters- April (last name) from MSN totally lit into Scottie. Wow. Just wow. Even Chris Matthews did a whole show last night on how the administration fabricated the case for war. I am no fan of Chris- I mean- this story was not news to me or anyone else with a brain, but to see him do a whole show on it as factual, without spinning it as a crazy, liberal conspiracy theory is awesome. Now that is some progress.
There is nothing I love more than watching the crack grow in the facade of this administration. Of course, not having him in office at all would be ideal, but at least I can cross my fingers and hope now that I am watching their demise. They are certainly not good at not being on top, are they?
posted by knit wit | 11/08/2005 07:14:00 PM
Saturday, November 05, 2005
a few of my favorite autumnal things
In a vain attempt to keep from panicking over all that I have to do within the next 2 months (prelim studying, pre-dissertation paper, seminar paper, stats, work, reading etc...), I am try to focus today not just on the readings I have to do for class, but on the beautiful autumn day we are having. We ran errands this morning and I had a hard time concentrating on driving given the incredible colors of the trees against the grey sky. We left the co-op just as it started to rain. The rest of the afternoon I drank tea and sat in my office looking out at the grey, grey sky and the brightly colored leaves, listening to rain and distant thunder. And I have sweet potatoes in the oven for dinner.
I just wish autumn lasted longer than 2 weeks here in Wisconsin. I love winter and snow, but hands down, this is my favorite season. Here's why.
- the colors of the leaves on the trees and the ground- reds, oranges, browns- sometimes so stunning they take my breath away (these are also the colors I most often wear, but nothing is as stunning as what the trees are displaying)
- the sound of rustling wind through dry leaves
- crunching leaves under my feet as I walk- I try especially hard to walk through leaves instead of avoiding them.
- sweet potatoes and parsnips (my 2 favorite vegetables)
- making soup with squashes, leeks and potatoes (my plan for tomorrow)
- cold, rainy days like today
- wearing cardigans
posted by knit wit | 11/05/2005 06:21:00 PM
Friday, November 04, 2005
what kind of crap is this?
This article from BBC is exactly the kind of "science" that makes my blood boil. The "scientists" have found that men prefer "pretty" women who have higher levels of hormones as they in better evolutionary shape to have children:
"In evolutionary terms, it makes sense for men to favour feminine fertile women - those that did would have had more babies."
Ugh. Just ugh. This must be from the onion, right? Nope.
First of all, their sample is a serious joke. 59 photos of women, and 30 volunteers deciding whether or not these women are "pretty." How they can make any sweeping universal claims about the preferences of men for "pretty" women with that small, volunteer sample (not random and they use the word universal to describe all men's preference for pretty women) is beyond me.
They also do not consider the known fact that beauty standards not historically static nor the same among all cultures, races and ethnicities. What might be considered attractive right now by some volunteers in Liverpool was not considered attractive by others years ago. For example, women in Victorian England painted their faces chalky white, which was considered very pretty. While it certainly isn't a sign of health, having a pale face was attractive and woman poisoned themselves with lead-based powders to achieve beauty. That is just one example of many of how measures of attractiveness change over time.
And what about this photo they include? It is digitally altered to show what a "pretty" woman would look like (with higher hormone levels). The one on the right, I guess, that is what they consider a less-then attractive women, with lower levels of estrogen. First of all, the woman on the left is frightening- she looks like a plastic doll, or some kind of genetic hybrid person. I find the woman on the left much more attractive- she has more character and it doesn't freak me out to look at her. Jo agrees with me. There is my sample. See how subjective it all is? Or maybe their "logic" would be that it is that b/c I am gay and not looking for an evolutionarily fit woman to have a baby with? Oh my god- someone should study that!
I'll leave you with this gem of a quote- "Women are effectively advertising their general fertility with their faces."
posted by knit wit | 11/04/2005 08:13:00 AM
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
getting my head shrunk?
I decided this semester that seeing a therapist again wouldn't be a bad idea. It took me a while to get a recommendation for a new one. I finally found someone and met her for the first time last week. She is nice enough and I think I like her although I am unsure that I actually need to see an actual shrink instead of just a therapist. She passed my first screening test of not recommending medication in our first meeting. My last therapist was like talking to a good friend. This woman seems very nice but is considerably older than me- more like talking to a grandmother. She also knows (as she told me) many faculty members in my department. Interesting. And I can't get over that she is a psychiatrist, my last therapist was just a counselor. I just think it is funny and interesting that she seemed typically like I would expect a psychiatrist to be like- Freudian. She thought my immobilizing high standards for myself must come from my school-teacher mom. I told her no- while my mom may have helped with some science fair projects, I don't think it comes from her (or my dad) at all.
So she gave me the task of thinking about powerful (mother-like) women in my life for our next session. There's some food for thought.
I'm not totally sold on her yet- but I don't dislike her either. She was nice, and I guess I am willing to give her a shot.
posted by knit wit | 11/02/2005 06:18:00 PM