Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wow. Just wow. (A Stalking Story)

Ok, so Medusa's in the shower, and I was playing around on the internet, just googling random stuff. And I decided (for god knows what reason) to google this guy's name... this guy whom I dated in 1998 and haven't laid eyes on since 1999. This guy, well, he's kind of my one true love, except that I don't really believe in that.

This is not the first time I've googled him, but I've never been able to come up with any current information.

Until today.

All of a sudden, here he is, right there on the internet for me to see.

I bet he's still going out with that horrible girl I dumped him because of. Even though, of course, things were "kind of rocky" when last I saw him in 1999. I bet they're married. God, I hate the fact that in this age of technology it's possible to stalk people from afar. Most often you can just access enough information to tantalize and never is it the information that you really would like. It's not healthy.

Not Sure What to Write

Mainly because I'm in this weird shifting-gears mood related to the fact that I've been living out of a suitcase since the beginning of the month. One of the things about me is that I'm generally a pretty light-hearted, jovial sort of a person, but that I also have a very serious side, and this is the side that makes people ask me if something is desperately wrong with me if I'm not laughing and gregarious and whatever. I think this serious side comes out especially if I'm feeling sort of like I need alone time or like I haven't been taking care of the serious side enough - whether because I'm doing fun things (as I have been all this month) or because I'm overwhelmed by work things (as can happen during the academic year). I find myself fantasizing about the following:

a. Just lazing about with the Man-Kitty.
b. Spring-cleaning my house (and yes, I'm fully aware that spring has come and gone) and painting one of the rooms maybe.
c. Finally buckling down, polishing the manuscript, and getting my book proposal together.
d. Getting going on job market stuff so as to really make a real run at it this year.

I've also been wondering whether that article slated to come out this summer is out yet. Hmmm.... maybe I'll google myself. Yes, doesn't seem to be out yet. Annoying. Very much looking forward to that.

I also wonder when they're going to decide whether I'm teaching on MONDAY (yes, that's right, I could well be teaching come Monday. I don't even know if I wrote the syllabus, though I've convinced myself I did) or whether the class is axed. At this point? Even though I could use the money? I'm hoping for axed. Edited to Add: It is Cancelled! Yippee! Apparently they tried to contact me to tell me by leaving me a message on my answering machine at home on Friday. Did they not realize that I am a globe-trotter? Did they not realize that even if the class had made its enrollment that I had no intention of returning there until the day before it began? Did they not realize that I don't know how to check my answering machine when away from home and so really email is the only reliable way to get in touch with me? Probably not. Most of my colleagues do not have the freedom to leave their homes for a full month to hang out in other locations, as they have families and own homes and things. This either makes me very footloose and fancy free or it means that I am adrift and alone and without a real life. It also means, however, that I don't NEED the summer teaching to stay afloat financially, and it means that since I don't NEED the teaching, that I will be able to spend the month of July working on research and lying by the pool. Who cares if that credit card won't get paid off, really, when we put it into that kind of perspective?

Ok, well, it is my last day/night at Casa Medusa, and so I shouldn't spend all of my time blogging. As she's asleep, though, I feel as if this was a good use of my time.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ok, So We Forgot about Happy Hour....

But we are having a bit of a.... discussion.... over at Dr. Medusa's place. We've come up with some talking points, so if anybody wants to stop on by, I think that would be a good time. Oh, and we've also developed a "phase 4" for the south beach diet, which, while not endorsed by Dr. Agatston, does seem to us the logical conclusion of all of the cooking, eating of fresh and healthy ingredients, etc., that he advises.

Visiting Medusa, Day 4

Well, you will all be happy to hear that Medusa and I did spend our day somewhat sensibly yesterday, though perhaps our food choices were not entirely wise, and perhaps we should have done something other than forage for food, nap, and watch television. I'm here today and tomorrow, and then Wednesday I return to my kitty-cat (whom I miss DREADFULLY, even though that's quite silly) and my parents' house, and then, FINALLY, I return home to where I actually live. While this month of travels has been good, I'm also (I suppose reasonably) ready for it to be over.

That said, this visit to Medusa has been really great. I hadn't seen her for about a year, and the last time was kind of lame because it was at a conference and not a real visit. It's also been kind of weird being back in Grad School City for the first time in a couple of years.... In going to our old haunts, etc., it's strange to see how a new generation has replaced my generation of people, and it's strange to see how this place has become so firmly a part of my past and isn't at all my present anymore. I suppose that's what happens when you grow up and move away from a place, but I don't know.... there's something about my hometown that stays stuck in one gear and so that place always feels like "home" or like I could just drop right back in and pick up where I left off. Grad School City is different - because it's bigger? because it's not my home and never was? I don't know.

So. Two days, and then it's back to fetch my kitty and my car and my things, and then it's back to my "real life" once again. And it's back to a lot of work that is waiting for me (scowling, if work can scowl) and to the (somewhat daunting) task of asking people for letters for going on the market and the (entirely unpleasant) task of drafting my own job letter and who knows what else. It's going to be a busy rest of the summer....

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wide Awake and It's Morning

Well, technically it's afternoon, but I am wide awake, and I'm feeling quite chipper, except for the fact that I have some sort of hip injury that comes from a.) something I can't recall or b.) sleeping on Futon (An American Tragedy). At any rate, I didn't recall posting my poorly spelled missive of last night.... and thus I was quite surprised to see it when I looked at my blog this morning. It is interesting to me that I decided I loved and missed G. in my state of last evening - also interesting that I couldn't spell "hiccups," though I did try to sound it out. Medusa and I attempted to reconstruct last night, and I believe our antics can be traced directly back to sangria and champagne (though not really champagne, as it was from Spain). I had quite the soul-searching conversation with that English boy I mentioned, who right about now should be at some lame bar watching England play Ecuador (Is that spelled right? I'm not sure) in the world cup. Or maybe that's over? I don't really know how long soccer matches take....

Medusa is busy with the self-loathing, and i'm trying to make her stop with that. It's not good for a person. This afternoon we're going to go hang out with our friend with a baby, and then who knows what will happen next. I feel like we should stay home and behave like responsible adults today, though the likelihood of that is probably small.

All is Pain

A. Dr.Medusa has clearly made something happen with somebody while I have the hick ups.

B, I megt some Englishh Bohy who clearly was not ointo it.,

C. I hate Hickups.

D. I miss my sweett love G.

E. Whhy is this mhy fate?

Dr. Crazy

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Almost Time to Go Out Again!

Well, I know you all were waiting excitedly for pictures, but I couldn't figure out how to post pics from Medusa's computer, so this will have to wait for later/another day/? The pictures are quite glorious, however, and I suspect we will take even more this evening. At any rate, and as the title indicates, it is nearly time to go out yet again, and I cannot believe that this is the case. After I posted this morning, I had to return to bed because I couldn't face the day. Then Medusa and I rose at approximately 1:30 PM, realizing that we needed to call a bunch of people, go to the store to buy incredients for cupcakes, eat something, make the cupcakes, and get ready for Medusa's birthday celebration, for which people are meeting at 6-ish. Yep, that's right, like 15 minutes from now. Medusa is drying her hair. I am done with the primping, but I should go frost the cupcakes. I have decided to wear flat shoes even though they are not as flattering as heels because I feel like I might be a danger to myself in high-heeled shoes. Ok, enough. I should go and frost away.

In Which I Wonder Whether It's Normal For Forehead To Throb As If It Was Slammed Repeatedly into Concrete

Wowza. Head hurts very bad. Medusa and I were out very late indeed. There was wine. And then there was whiskey. And then I believe there was beer. And there was a party.... and somebody put me to bed (to couch?) at the party because I had put my head down on the kitchen table to have a little rest, and apparently when you're in a house full of strangers it's not kosher to have a little rest at the table. Apparently. You will be happy to hear that Medusa and I did have the presence of mind to take some (non-identifying) photographs last evening, and so when she returns to consciousness we'll be posting those, I suspect. You know what I wish? I wish Dunkin Donuts made deliveries.

Friday, June 23, 2006

From the Road

Howdy, all! Well, I've arrived in Grad School City and I'm writing from Dr. Medusa's tower and the thunder is beginning to rumble outside. At any rate, I'm very excited for this long weekend, and I suspect that Med and I will post periodically to tell of our adventures. We're also considering doing a happy hour.... maybe Monday? Not sure. At any rate, as I'll be here until Wednesday, I will not post for a bit about my ruminations re: identity, academia, the state of the profession, the market, etc. But those issues aren't off the table, they're just tabled for the moment :) Thus, until I return to them, thanks all for your comments on the last post - whether supportive, in commiseration, or somewhere in between. It helps.

Ok, I think I need to go find a cocktail or something.... Or read up on Cat Astrology (Med bought me a book about it in the checkout line of the grocery store! What did I do to deserve such an awesome friend????)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Musings on Academic Identity....

One's academic identity is a strange thing. It's linked in many respects to one's "real life" identity, but it is also this weird fragmented thing all its own, which mutates and and morphs based on the company one keeps - am I with grad student friends? friends from conferences? and which conferences are we talking about here? current colleagues at the institution at which I work? students? former students? and I suppose even virtual friends in the blogosphere (for surely "Dr. Crazy" is, in fact, one of my academic identities...)? I suppose I'm thinking about all of this in part because I've just returned from a conference that only happens every other year. Some of the people whom I know through this conference I see at other events or I might run into at MLA, but for the most part, it's only every other year that I see them, and thus it shines a light on the ways in which my academic identity moves and changes. Also, this conference tends to attract a academics who work at certain kinds of institutions that tend not to resemble my current institution but rather my grad school institution. When I began attending as a grad student, I felt like an outsider because I was a grad student, but still I think I felt a certain sense of belonging because of my institutional affiliation. Now, I feel like an outsider in some ways because of my institution - and because of my generational status in this field, and because of my sex, because even if literary studies tends to be feminized, whoa nelly is this particular sub-area stuck in a sexist past in at least some respects and related to at least some individuals - but I also feel a certain sense of greater belonging because I am now an actual colleague and I now have actual "friends" when I attend this thing - I'm no longer a novice. Incidentally, the return is still all fucked up - I don't know why - so this will be a big long paragraph and I'll have to fix it when I get to a decent computer that is not my mother's ancient machine that connects to the internets with the dial-up. But to continue. I suppose one reason that I'm thinking about all of this is that I've been seriously considering going on the market this year (i.e., I've decided that I will do this and I'm strategizing about how to do this both discreetly and yet with the blessing of certain key people in my department) and as I consider this, I know that I am a different person now from the person who went on the market in 2002. I've grown up as an academic in many ways, but also, well, I wonder how to characterize myself in light of how I've grown up. And I wonder whether any of it makes a difference anyway, given the state of the market and the state of the profession. I know I've done good work as a scholar in the past three years, but can that override the fact that I'm in a teaching institution with a 4/4 load? Do I want it to? I'm basically happy in my current position, so should I stop whining and be happy with what I've got? Is the fact that I feel like my current location is a dating wasteland really reason enough to consider leaving (and this, more than anything, is the main thing that is motivating me)? Do I really want to start over someplace new? Even if it might end up being worse? I'll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, but these are my initial thoughts/questions/ramblings. And it's all related to this identity thing - who I see myself as right now and who I see myself becoming. The bottom line is that in my current position, I kind of see myself becoming a burnt out teacher, a mediocre scholar, and a lonely spinster. Not immediately, but within the next 15 years. And that's just not who I want to become. But maybe what I'm seeing as a certain future is really more about fear than about reality, and so I suppose I want to blog about these things to think them through. I will say this, however. When I got my job, my dissertation director said to me, "This sounds like a good first job." At the time, I thought he was being insulting. Now? Well, I think I might agree with him. Since I pretty much need to construct him as my antagonist at all times - the mean daddy who is always wrong and who doesn't appreciate me - well, the fact that I think he might have been right and not being a jerk to me kind of kills me :)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Back Stateside, Recovering

This will be a sort of listy scattered post, as I'm still kind of a mess after the symposium. Why, you ask? Well, put together a) very little sleep, b) a miserable head-cold, c) jet lag, and d) conversations that veer wildly between the professional, the personal, and the just plain random, and, well, you'd be a bit of a mess as well. Something funky is going on and the return
key isn't working, and so I will have to just post this in stream-of-consciousness style. Or maybe it is working and it just isn't registering on the screen... whatever the case, I shall ramble about my trip. 1) All conference everything was late, and LOTS of papers ran long. Everyone kept complaining about the conference paper format, the fact that people went on too long, etc., but if everybody agrees that this sucks, why is it this way? A question for the ages. 2) My paper went fine - very small audience as I was up against the Famous People, and that was fine by me as I wasn't particularly into my paper, anyway. 3) I met a great many people this time around (it's the 4th time I've been to this conference, and it's so much better when it's small) and saw many old friends and made new ones. 4) Wednesday night I ended up playing a drinking game in some bar with an English Rugby team of 18-21-year-old boys. They were darling. My friend ended up trading socks with someone in some after hours place where people's bags got stolen. We all ended up going home when the rest of the world was going to work. That was the craziest night. 6) Ummm.... I'm not sure what else. At any rate, though, I started getting sick on Wednesday and just totally ignored it, which was not smart, and so my flight home was miserable. My bag, however, was not lost on the return, and my cold is dissipating, and I hope I'll be back to my happy self by Friday, when I fly to Grad School City to celebrate Grad School Friend's birthday. I think my summer class is not going to make it's enrollment, and this makes me kind of happy. That said, I kind of can't wait to go home to my own bed with my little kitty cat, who missed me during my journey, but who really loves staying with his grandparents. I guess that's it for now. I have to go catch up on my blog reading!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hunky-Dory? Well, kinda....

I'm not sure if I spelled "hunky-dory" right, but I couldn't resist the whole play on "Hunky" thing, as, well, being of Hungarian descent, I must take advantage of being able to use such a term. At any rate, I have arrived in Hungary safely on Thursday. My luggage has yet to arrive, though the hotel people seem hopeful that it might come today. Apparently, this is a normal problem when traveling to Budapest. FYI, I had only one bag, only one connecting flight, which was in the states, and my connecting flight arrived two full hours before the direct flight to Europe was to take off. Friends, I do believe that this is total bullshit. I'm not sure if it's my destination or Delta that's to blame, but thank god I'm paranoid and I packed clean undies, all my toiletries, and an extra shirt in my carry-on. Also, thank god that all the stores take visa, as I've been busy shopping during the past two days.

In other news, I had a kind of dramatic series of experiences at St. Istvan's yesterday, which I've diarized about and which I will post about on my return home.

Nothing else to report, though I'm exicted for the Symposium to begin. Oh, and I'm LOVING the food. Pork fried in breadcrumbs? Yummmmmmmmyyyyyy.

The above is why I will never be truly thin.

Perhaps more once before I leave - perhaps not. I must now away to the opening of the symposium! Yippee!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Well, See, I Have This Blog...

[Before I get into the meat of this post, I want you all to congratulate me on the fact that I spent the day doing laundry and writing my paper for the conference (pedestrian though all of the ideas therein are - which, of course, I only realize now that the paper is 90% of the way completed) and beginning packing for my travels. I also booked my flight to visit my grad school friend. I am very productive.]

Since I began blogging what is now lo almost 2 years ago, I have kept this activity very quiet. Only one person in my real life actually reads my blog and really knows about it. I've mentioned the fact that I blog to a few other people, and they just really aren't the type to be interested, and so that's where the discussion of my blogging began and ended with them. As a blogger, I'm pretty much in the closet.

I don't have any particular reason for keeping things this way. When I began blogging I was somewhat paranoid about people (i.e., colleagues) finding out about my blog, but that really isn't the case anymore. Now, I think I just keep things quiet out of habit. Yes, I still have a pseudonym, but I'm pretty free in revealing my identity to those who are curious enough to ask, and I know that some of you have deduced my identity by other means. This is fine with me.

So I've done something now that is... novel. I've told a person - a real person - about my blog.

Except this person isn't really a real person in some ways. Well, he's real - he's not imaginary - but this person... let's call him... J. ... well, I met him right before I began this job, and really we've only physically been in the same place like three times, but somehow we have become pen-pal type friends. And I got in touch with him a few days ago (because in the summer I like to email boys randomly) after not having heard from him in a while (like months) to learn that he quit his job to travel for the past few months and he directed me to his travel blog, and I mentioned that I have a blog, and he asked me for the url so that he can check it out.


And I hesitate to give him the URL.

Why? What does it matter, really? How is it that the most public writing I do in this context makes me feel weird and shy?

Note: I do not know J. in a work-related context, so this is not why I hesitate. In fact, we have absolutely nothing in common except each other, so telling him about the blog - and letting him see it - is ultimately a really low-risk move.

And yet I hesitate.

I think I'm just chicken. What if this person thinks my blog is lame? What if my blog is lame? I mean, I know that you all don't think it is (I'm not fishing for compliments), but what if this real-life person who isn't exactly part of my real life thinks that I'm a big loser?

This is ridiculous. Enough with the wishy-washiness. Enough with the insecurity. It's time that J. learns about my secret "Dr. Crazy" identity. I certainly hope that I don't regret this decision.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Summer's Here - And Where Has Dr. Crazy Been?

Ok, so before I get to the why of it all (for there is a why of it, and it's a lame why) here's what I've been doing:

1. Counseling friends about their love-lives. (An activity that I enjoy, even though clearly I am no expert in this area so all friends should be very suspicious of all advice that is dispensed.)
2. Counseling my mom about the job that she hates. (Something I've been doing since I was like 10? She always hates her jobs.)
3. Writing in my journal, having deep introspective thoughts about the state of my soul, etc. This is a lot more fun than it sounds.
4. Laying out. Yep, you've got it: I've been lying beneath the rays of the hot sun so as to roast myself like a rotisserie chicken and to turn a nice golden brown color. I have almost, after approximately 5 straight days dedicated to lying poolside, achieved "Tannest Woman Alive" (for me, which isn't really all that tan, as I'm not olive-skinned) status.
5. Reading books about Eastern European country that I'm visiting in just one week's time! Also making many lists of what I might like to pack for said trip. Also wondering what it will be like to go on said trip without good-friend-who-doubles-as-my-conference-boyfriend at this conference every two years.
6. As of yesterday, beginning to write conference paper for conference that I will go to in just one week's time!
7. Editing duties for the mini-journal, which go along as well as can be expected I suppose.
8. Drinking wine, in preparation for my trip to Eastern European country that I will visit in just one week's time! (A nice healthy tolerance for alcohol is of great use for the conference that I will attend.)
9. Reading Chelsea Handler's book My Horizontal Life - hilarious!
10. Trying to learn imperative words in Eastern European language before my trip. (So far, I know yes and no. Also, I do know the word for underwear in this language because I am descended from people who come from this country. Why "underwear" is the word that has been passed down through the ages, I do not know. However, for a girl like me, I'm thinking that it might come in handy?)

But if you really want to know why I've not blogged, it's because I'm a dork who accesses the internets through her university, and my university's server or system or whatever has decided that it will not let anybody access any blogspot blogs or the blogger site. No, I'm not kidding. Apparently they are "working on the problem." And so I've been keeping up with people's posts through bloglines (as I am very resourceful) and forcing myself to take a break from blogging thinking that it would be good for me. I knew that I had enough of this break when I had a dream about blogging last night and a couple of nights ago.

I hope all is well in blogworld, and I certainly hope that I will be able to blog more frequently in days and weeks to come. I definitely will try to blog at least once from Eastern European Country (henceforth known as EEC). Oh, and I should note my travel plans in June more concretely here: I'm flying out of Hometown, as my Man-Kitty stays with his grandparents for long trips, so I head there on Tuesday. Then I leave for EEC, and I return on June 16. Then I'll be in Hometown for like a week, and then I head to Grad School City to visit my best friend from grad school who will be turning 40. Then I head back to Hometown, and if I'm not teaching in July, I stay there through the 4th, but if I AM teaching in July, I leave to return to my current location to be ready to start teaching. Whew! So it's going to be a busy month, and I'm pretty excited. Of course, I may end up in negative dollars by the end of it, but this is no matter. One must live for today without worrying about petty things like finances.