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my monkied brain
13 April 2015 @ 11:57 pm
it's like planes, trains, and automobiles but not the same at all..

i went to Chicago for the first time at the end of last month to present at the Association for Asian Studies 2015 conference, which was four days of intense networking. I learned that sure, it's important to not have an entirely terrible presentation, but more importantly it's best to ask interesting questions at every panel you go to. (i didn't, but i did try and raise my hand at least once a panel) Because not many people were going to show up to my 8am on Sunday panel to see me speak if they didn't already know me. But they might want to know me if I actually asked something interesting. And also I learned that there's no good reason to eat the frankly frightening canapes in the main ballroom when going to a sponsored organization gets you the pick of the nice cheeses. these are essential survival skills.

And I got to see my favorite people from my year in Japan! Which made everything better. We're sort of evil together, and yet also ridiculously awesome.

then this last weekend my own department, actually, my own graduate group, put on our first grad conference. and yes, I did kind of run the whole thing in one way or another as the conference chair, and yes i know how conceited that sounds. But I proposed the conference format, I suggested a keynote panel, I designed the programs and flyers and posters, I picked up the damn name tags, I wrangled the keynotes and wrote the funding letters and organized the catering. I created and updated the website. And I did have a lot of help from the other grads in our department to do all these things but I pulled all the threads together in every way. And felt a kind of vicious pleasure on Saturday night when everyone continued to come up to ME and say what an amazing job we did, and how much of a success it was (even though we still had another day to go).

now i just want to rest and recover and i'm having trouble going to sleep. but that's ok, i'm sure i'll get tired enough soon.

next up - I'm going to Kansas next weekend for my Grandfather's birthday. I keep forgetting to ask my mom if he's turning 98 or 99, but it's up there. Very far. After that I should be able to breathe for a bit.

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my monkied brain
28 February 2015 @ 10:25 pm
i don't know why i put myself through this, but i watched Wolf of Wallstreet. And it's just as ridiculously filled with self-aggrandizing masturbatory male fantasies of treating other people like objects as i thought it would be. there is no moral in it. the ridiculous celebration of their lifestyle doesn't actually judge it, it just fetishizes it. yay isn't it fun to be wall street men? how did this performance get awards. it just made me sick. am watching The Fifth Element as a palette cleanser

i rearranged my guest room/3rd room/storage room today because grad students are coming to visit this week. and now I want to hang out there, cuz it's all pretty and fresh and new and 2/3rds of the boxes are actually in the closet. with silk flowers and everything. and pictures on the walls. it's not a hotel. and nothing matches. but it's cute.

the dog chased a skunk sunday (and lost), so she got a bath. post-bath, post-windows open all night, post-bathroom cleaning she's super duper soft. i can't stop petting her. And the correct formula to de-skunk is 1 pint hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 tbsp soap. it works.

did great valentine's day party with my single friends. champagne and sausage party. i brought the cookies. and yes, there were actual sausages.

last week i had a fassbender & fondue dinner party, more than half of the people invited canceled on the day of (actually the evening of) the dinner party. However, the 3 people who showed made manful inroads on the fondue (yes, cheese fondue from scratch, with sausage and veggies and two kinds of bread, and chocolate fondue with raspberries and blackberries and strawberries), and were amazing company. And I adore them. We had a blast. I was a bit miffed at everyone else for cancelling though. Not so much that they canceled, but that seriously 6 of them did it within two hours of the event, 4 of them actually at the event start time.

was at school every day this week for one thing or another, so was totally unproductive (except for the meetings, yay advisor!) on my diss writing/research. am going to be pulling a similar schedule next week. i used to do this all the time (and get tons of work done), but right now it's just a pain that derails me.

had proper LA dim sum Friday with some of the other grads from my department. so. much. yummy. food. $14.00 per person. And there were leftovers. so worth driving to Alhambra. (though not a run i will make every week)

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my monkied brain
13 February 2015 @ 09:35 pm
and yet i'm tempted to turn the TV back on. I watched 2001 for the first time tonight after having seen snippits of it over the years. It is definitely a movie from another era - the pacing so molasses slow. That's why I'd never watched it before now - I'd tried, but I couldn't sit still for long enough. Tonight though I made about a million cookies while I watched it, so that kept me occupied enough I didn't just fidget the entire time.

And I'd like to write more about my own take on it, but honestly? It's been written about so much that I feel disingenuous coming to it this late and forming an opinion. It's anachronistic. And to comment on it somehow involves the me pulling it into this contemporary moment, and that just doesn't make sense. I almost felt as if when I was watching it I was being pulled back into the 70s mindset under which it was made.

Doesn't help that I'm writing Vivian Sobacheck's Screening Space (a book theorizing SF film written right at the beginning of the 80s). It's huuuuge help with my dissertation on the theoretical side. But the part that I'm struck by, continually, is just that the body of film she looks at, because of when she was writing, is just SO different than the body of film I think of when I think "Sci Fi Film". I think her book includes the first of the Star Wars movies, but not the second or third. Imagine that mindset for a second, and think about how you'd conceive of science fiction if your only experience of science fiction film went up to the end of the 1970s. It's different than if someone was writing a paper on 1950s film now, because even if they've lived in a vacuum, they still had some kind of interaction with contemporary notions of what science fiction should be. And while it wasn't so different back then, especially in film, it wasn't *the same*.

I kind of want to go see Jupiter Ascending for that very reason. I've read a ton of reviews basically saying it's terrible, but that we should go see it anyway, because it's big budget SF, both in the best and worst ways ever. Besides, the costumes look cool.

maybe i'll turn the TV on and get the external hard drive open and make some graphics. it's that kind of night. i'm missing being a producer in fandom. funny how that happens now that i've finished my second chapter, and am on the preliminary research for the third.

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my monkied brain
15 November 2014 @ 10:30 pm
It's 10:30 pm on a Saturday and I'm home with the dog feeling accomplished because I actually wrote for about an hour today on my dissertation. I'm struggling with the rewrite of my second chapter, because I needed to pretty much reverse the polarity of the argument (which in all honesty meant I needed to go back and rewrite the chapter). I did that AND 2/3rds of a fellowship application that's due on Monday.

I started an Instagram account. Because I need *more* things to check online that aren't lj. And I'm mostly posting pictures of my dog. She's more photogenic than I am.

Dog and I have been doing pretty well lately. She loves having me home every day, and now that it gets dark so early (curse you, daylight savings time!) I've been taking her on a walk at 3 pm instead of 5 or 6. Our schedule changes all the time because it seems like every department or college event this semester happens at 5 pm or from 4 - 6 pm, or somewhere thereabouts. And I've found that my fuzzy friend over there pouts if I'm not home during that time UNLESS I take her on a walk earlier in the day. Which is great and all, it's not like I can't use the excercise, I just wonder if I used to be this concentrated on taking care of the dog? I know I took her out a lot after dark, but I'm realizing these days that she *really* doesn't like that. And truth be told I'm not too big of a fan of it either.

In weird news, my ear continues to do odd things. I now seem to have tinnitus in my left ear. My awareness of it goes in and out, and sometimes it sounds like the loudest buzz imaginable, while at others it fades into the background ambient noise (which include buzzes from the fridge, and powerlines, and at night, crickets). It is uncomfortable, and a little scary, and because of that I haven't called a doctor to go see what is actually wrong. That's what the internet is for right? WebMD or some other site noted that smoking, since it affects your blood pressure, can affect your ears too, and that scared me enough that I cut down to about 1/3 my daily intake (3 - 4 cigarettes). Which is good. I should/can/will try actually to keep cutting that down, but that was a big reduction from my 8-12 a day so I'm counting it as a win. And actually, excercising *really* helps me not notice the buzz, which is also part of the reason for the weird Domino walking times.

But we're both tired of walking around our neighborhood. Two months ago I did a hike with some other grads and my friend up to Griffith Park (with the dog), and since then the dog and I have gone three more times. If I went fast it would be a 15 minute uphill walk, but since I don't it's more like 25, and I huff and puff my way up the trail.

Have some pictures of thatCollapse )

now, if I remember, in my next post I'll tell you all about how I threw an awesome murder mystery party (theme: post apocalyptic zombie cannibal asylum), how I showed up on a Japanese academic's twitter, how I helped interview an up and coming Japanese writer, and how my nemesis (though I dunno if she's that now) provided me with about three days worth of schadenfreude (which i know is not nice, but it happened, ok).

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
28 October 2014 @ 11:35 pm
I'm applying for a job that asks I write a diversity statement that explains my personal experience with diversity, my past contributions, and my future goals that will help achieve the university's commitment to diversity. My first draft was just me spitballing, my second was culled from all kinds of diversity documents, and my third (still draft) hopefully is getting a little bit better. I don't know for sure though.

I don't know for sure that I've done a good job because I can point out my own privilege, can explain that I'm cis-gendered, and predominately heterosexual, I'm pretty firmly middle class, from a small homogenous town, and the closest thing I've got to an ethnic identity is the stories of Minnesotan Norwegian farmers from Prairie Home Companion I'd listen to with my dad when we drove back and forth from Sacramento to my mom's house every week. But am I committed to diversity? Looking back on my life, have I done things that help others? To be inclusive? To open conversations?

Of course this is why they give us the opportunity to talk about how we'd address this stuff in the future...but I want to figure out honest answers to that too.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to say it all tomorrow. And to draft a research statement. And to rewrite my first chapter. All before October 31. Because I'm a planner that way.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
26 October 2014 @ 07:36 pm
I, like everyone in the netflix!verse it seems, have been watching Gilmore Girls with the housemate. We're totally bonding, which is great, because she giggles at pretty much all the jokes and it completely endears me to her. And the show itself is still as much fun as I remember it when I mostly watched it in rerun a couple of years ago.

Funny thing is that part of the reason why I love it is it's the TV version (not, but sorta, but not) of my childhood. Me and my mom lived in a quirky small town with all kinds of interesting characters as locals. It was just her and I, with a relationship where we were often blurring the lines between friends and mom and daughter. My mom had a series of relationships, but there were signs she'd never gotten over my dad (hello Lorelai), she was estranged from her parents (though of my grandparents weren't well off, and lived in Kansas, so we didn't have to see them very often). I was geeky and too smart and carried a book with me everywhere I went. Of course our lives were real life, and were nothing at all like Gilmore Girls, and yet. There's a certain feeling of nostalgia when I watch it that somehow feels more invested than maybe some other people. A nostalgia for a life that is the dramatized version of a life I might have sort of lived. Of course, it's also just that for all it's faults, it's also an awesome show that centers around two women.

I'm also planning a Halloween Murder Mystery party for Saturday next week. I know, it's actually post-Halloween, but I think it's going to be fairly epic. The theme is Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Asylum! So that's cool!

I'm having trouble getting work done, so tomorrow I'm disallowing myself the use of netflix to get some actual work done. I spent a lot of emotional time last week getting an application done for a fellowship, and now I'm moving into applications for tenure track jobs, so that's also freaky. Trying to illustrate how I'm an interesting candidate and different from everyone else is an uncomfortable process when I have to write a bunch of documents attesting to it. It feels really awkward to go over and over again "look at me! i'm special! no, really!"

I've also been watching Criminal Minds a million years later. Which is deeply problematic, but also compelling for a lot of structure-related reasons that I will write on someday, I'm sure.

but now? off to dinner.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
I have been *buried* like a crazy person in all kinds of things. Not bad things, not at all, just lots and lots of things one after another.

So I give you life, in photo form (well, and some things that i forgot to take photos of, because i have trouble that way)

A visit from one of my very favorite people in the world, Tebo.Collapse )

Two of my friends got married, and this is when we took them out to dinner to celebrate after they"d done the ceremony stuffCollapse )


I presented at a Japanese pop culture conference in Minneapolis on Sept 27th!Collapse )

My second chapter, on Japanese magazine covers in the 1960s, got turned in on October 1Collapse )

I got to go to a departmental faculty meeting and pretend like I know what I"m doing. No, kidding. But I did talk about our upcoming graduate student conferenceCollapse )

I had a birthday! I am older! Like by a whole year!Collapse )

And since then I've started a writing workshop to transform a written piece into an article, assembled my portfolio so I can apply for the 3 (yes, 3) jobs in the U.S. for Japanese literature and culture professors, applied for one of the most prestigious national fellowships available to ppl who work on what I do (and trust me, that was a pain, including two different research statement workshops and one rewrite of a dissertation chapter), had another friend come to visit for 4 days (he doesn't like pictures, but we talked about our projects, watched a ton of movies and tv, and found yummy local places to eat on the cheap), and watched a TON of Gillmore Girls with my housemate.

And since Halloween is coming, I have one more image for you:

2014-10-20 18.31.55


this is a skeleton flamingo. to be found in the yard up the street that brought us the two-joseph chreche at Christmas time (found in this picspam about 2/3rds of the way down) I love them. They are awesome. I just need to find a way to make them my friends.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
16 September 2014 @ 05:23 pm
i sent myself a package from Japan - an entire box of magazines and books, including one library book I couldn't fit in my own luggage (because i was worried about weight limits).

Got a package from Japan today that clearly had my packing label on it, but was half the size. I'm missing said library book, half of a two volume first edition of Komatsu Saikyo's Japan Sinks, and a bunch of materials that are probably irreplaceable.

I'm bummed. and broke.

and for some reason my dog decided today that she was going to pee on the floor of my house. i have hardwood, so it's not the disaster it could be, but why did that happen?

we're in the middle of a heat wave too, and i don't have air conditioning.

and i rolled over my kindle charger with the vaccuume cleaner yesterday, and it ate off the plastic coating, so i'm afraid to charge my kindle.

i'm ready for this day to be over.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
11 September 2014 @ 11:53 pm
Most days I don't think about it, at all. Most days I just adore this ridiculous being that I need to take out for walkies. Most days I'm focused more on if she ate, and remembering to refill her water bowl, and trying to decide if I should vacuum up the tumbleweeds that are her hair covering my living room carpet (and couches, and clothes, and pillows, and bedspread, and in my shoes, and heck, even on tables --- because her hair can float when the fan is on).

But sometimes I look over and marvel that humans figured out how to live with fuzzy beings. I look over at her fuzzy face and realize we communicate all the time but we don't talk. That I've lived with this other entity for 6 years - structured my days around her, adapted to her, modified my own behaviors while I was trying to modify hers - without knowing what goes on in her brain. I mean, not really. Sure we communicate in gesture and look and body language... but it's two beings speaking two different languages. And I'm sure there are many things that simply don't translate.

When I hang out with my friends who are afraid of dogs, I'm actually reminded again that my puppy can seem terribly threatening. Her bark is pretty fierce. She actually does snap bones when she's given them, so her jaw is incredibly strong. She's fast too. Whip fast (when she wants to be). And still I'm not scared by her at all and I never have been. Ever. I put my head right down next to hers and play with her.

And so sometimes I'm made aware that those of us that have fuzzy friends who live with us, well, it's a kind of miracle. It's a miracle that my dog is excited when I'm excited (most of the time), and is happy to see me when I come home and sad that I leave. It's a miracle that she can tell me that she's hungry, and thirsty, and bored. It's amazing that we trust these creatures to cuddle with (and doubly amazing that they want to cuddle with us). It speaks to something amazing not just about human experience, but about lived mammal experience, has to do with love. I love her. So completely and utterly and totally and it makes my heart feel full. Even when I'm cleaning up her poo, or trying to get her to be quiet, or cleaning up after the aforementioned hair, I love her. But still. Pretty weird that can happen, isn't it?



also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
30 August 2014 @ 04:25 pm
I'm in love with the new XKCD comic about practicing literacy, which I'm sure you all already saw. There's nothing wrong with practice, nothing.

Other links:
01. 50 Years of NHK Television (this is the national television station of Japan - it's cool stuff)

02. 7 Black Women Science Fiction writers everyone should know. I will straight up admit I need to read many of the women on this list.

03. Millions of Scanned Images - this is an amazing resource AND a way to literally lose hours of your life. (or it links to the flickr album that will suck your time but delight your eyes) I searched Japan and found scanned photographs of Japan in 1900. So cool. Like this one:

Image from page 200 of "Hildreth"s "Japan as it was and is" : a handbook of old Japan" (1907)


And with me? What have I been doing?

Weellllllllll...

a. started looking for new housemate (my current is moving to San Diego for a job)
b. classes started and while I'm not taking them, I am going to school for talks
c. probably am trying to go on the job market this fall if I can get another chapter written by October (which I will do, because my dissertation writing group needs something to read, and I have to mail it to them by the end of September).
d. am single. not in an apocalypse kind of way, though, hopefully.
e. went back to the Getty and the Norton Simon museums, so I feel all full up on art
f. guided a friend through her qualifying exams while she stays with me (she's moving to France for a year and needed a place to crash for the month between the end of her lease and her move)
g. rewatching Teen Wolf with friend from (f). She noted, and I agree, that show is sometimes smarter than it knows. And often dumber than it wants to be.
h. translated the most important piece of scholarship (so far) I found in Japan
i. have gone to breakfast parties, and walks out to Santa Monica, been out for drinks to celebrate (f)'s birthday, had a party at my house to celebrate her passing her quals
j. participated in nostalgic photo posting on facebook last night that led to a three hour conversation with my college roommate, who i dearly love. and who is moving to hawaii and contemplating buying an island.
k. bought a bust of Apollo for my mom for her birthday present, a side table for my living room, eaten out, made a lot of chicken (A LOT OF CHICKEN) and started reading the Discworld Sam Vimes books again for fun (and to make me fall asleep).

so far, that'll do.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
14 August 2014 @ 09:36 pm
When I got ready for the trip I kept just thinking: it's only for a month. I'll go, I'll hit up bookstores, I'll try and do some research, and maybe if I get my act together I'll try to email those professors I need to. It's going to be weird to be there for such a short time, but before I know it I'll be heading back home.

now, about how I was going to get enough money to there...that"s another pain in the assCollapse )

Unexpectedly great things:

Housing: instead of staying at a Guest House like I've done in the past, I found and reserved a room through Airbnb (which is sort of like a do-it-yourself rental place with everything from couches to full houses - all over the world). The woman who ran the place I ended up at, Sayuri, had actually gone to highschool in California, and was super sweet. She's a jazz singer. The place itself was great - a three bedroom (2 bath) apartment where I got my own room with air conditioner (so necessary!) and a washer/dryer. The room had the bare minimum: a bed and a shelf - which made sure that I went out every day into the world (so good, otherwise I probably wouldn't have). It was in the north part of Tokyo, but on the Yamanote line, so everything was pretty easy to get to. Sayuri was there most days doing clean up/checking in new people/etc, so we had great chats about food and books and stuff, and she invited everyone in the house to her place for the Natsumatsuri (Summer Festival) - she lived in an apartment on the Sumida river, right where they let off fireworks. For an hour and a half (or maybe two hours)! It was so much fun. So two thumbs up there!

Yokohama friends: One of the friends I'd made when I was staying for the long program was still living in Yokohama, and she invited me to hang with her and her husband a bunch. Even though we only ended up getting together twice, it was great to see them both, and pretty perfect both times. The first was when a friend of theirs was visiting, so they came up to Tokyo and we walked through the Imperial gardens and then went to the Japanese National Museum of Modern Art's Crafts building (which displays the modern masters of craft wares - like laquer and kimono and pottery). the second I went down to Yokohama to their place for game night (though it was mostly talking with an uno-like card game thrown in just to keep socially lubricated).

Random lectures: I'm on a bunch of discipline-focused mailing lists, and the first night I was in Japan I sat down and went through to find as many public lectures as I could since people always send out these notifications that start out, "If you're going to be in Tokyo on the 27th...."

The two most productive were the Media Mix & the Sophia Lecture, but I went to one otherCollapse )

The Two Scholars: The two scholars whose work has most inspired me are actually husband and wife. Tatsumi Takayuki is actually an english lit professor, but in his spare time he has published like half a dozen books on Japanese SF, been active in both US and Japanese SF fandom and academic circles, and is like a powerhouse of theory. Kotani Mari, who is a public intellectual, though I think she does some seminars from time to time at Meiji University, wrote this book called TechnoGynesis which is all about the intersection of monstrous and feminine in science fiction and fantasy (American and Japanese) and she goes to Wiscon every year because she's fascinated by cosplay and yaoi (Japanese slash, kinda) and fanworks and fan community. So I emailed Tatsumi and wasn't sure how I was going to get ahold of Kotani because she's notoriously bad at emailing back... but luckly I'd made friends with that women at the open lecture, and she generously invited me along to a dinner she was having with Kotani to catch up!

ok, so it"s really intimidating sometimes to meet people whose books you have read when you want them to like youCollapse )

there were other really good things: food, and the Literary Museum (which had an SF exhibit), and my bra-shop still being there, and ordering from Amazon, and the thing I found when I went to the SF second hand book store. But I'm going to have to save that for another day, and another post, because this one has already gotten way out of hand.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
10 August 2014 @ 08:44 pm
A friend of mine posted a link on facebook to this excerpt of Joss Whedon's biography on io9, and reading it just made me want Firefly goodness like nothing doing.

So I went and rewatched. While reading all kinds of things about Firefly.

Including this personal post by a fan who tried to ask Joss at a con about the lack of actual Asian characters in his ensemble even though the entire verse was explicitly about a future that had been heavily influenced by Chinese culture. Racism, or white privilege, or whatever you want to call it when Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, etc. traditions are coopted as the site of the "future" without actually including representation of the people who actually live in and create those cultures is something of an interest of mine.

Because you could say that part of my interest in Japan actually came from cyberpunk. And lord knows, from Blade Runner to Neuromancer, there are any number of writers and directors who are incredibly happy to use these cultures as window dressing. Hell, living in Tokyo this summer while it was raining and thunder storming, I could absolutely see exactly where Ridley Scott created the atmosphere of perpetually rainy future-LA with it's glowing signs and pyramid buildings. It was uncanny how close I felt to Harrison Ford's flight through the city standing in the rain waiting for a friend to come and meet me for dinner at Yoyogi station, watching the night sky electrified with a blue haze as the lightning flashed flicker-fast through the sky, and the thunder drummed and grumbled in the distance until it slammed down on our heads in percussive waves.

But that's no reason for Joss to keep doing what Ridley Scott did, or for me to be comfortable with it when he does. A rewatch reminded me of so many of the things that were added in the individual episodes that they bothered to get ... right? or wrong? From the Buddha sculptures in the foyer of the great hall in Shindig, to the Chinese shadow play in Heart of Gold.

And then I went and read the wiki.

Did you guys know that Inara was terminally ill??????

AND THAT MAL'S PART WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR XANDER???

or, at least, that was the intended canon?

BRAIN BLOWN. Like ten years and three or four Firefly/Serenity rewatches later too late. but wow.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
25 July 2014 @ 10:21 pm
Decided again last night that I was going back to the sushi place - in part because apparently lots of restaurants in my neighborhood are reservation only (or are filled with reservations) on a Friday night. Which, hey, cool! It means I'm not the only one that thought the food was good!

And of course I had to bear the horrifying burden of getting to eat fish again for dinner. I wish I could have taken pictures of these oysters, omg. You don't even know.

So, productivity wise, things have been very achi-cochi (back and forth). On the same day (tuesday) of this last week I met with BOTH the professors I wanted to meet with who are specializing in SF.

The first for about an hour conference where he told me someone had already written a book on Japanese artwork (terrifying) but then also told me about a current fanzine he and others put together that includes all kinds of speculative essays and the like. And told me that the artist I'm writing on is still alive and I should probably get a hold of him (also terrifying, but true). We had a great conversation about theoretical definitions of science fiction, where I called him on his use of rhetoric that made it very much like a discourse (a point he conceded). He also said that our talk was very interesting, and put some emotion into his voice as he was saying it, so I think in the end I made a good impression. And while I don't agree with all of his readings of things (hey, that's the point, I'm a grad student, i disagree with everything slightly), it was still really cool to meet him.

And then, that evening, thanks to a friend I made at the first Media Mix lecture, I got invited to dinner with the *other* scholar (and a woman who writes SF who was doing a guest lecture herself). It was awesome! We talked more about manga than about SF, though a bit about that too, because my friend is doing a history of manga. But that's ok, it was still a foot in the door, which was great. And this woman (the scholar I wanted to meet) was curious about my work and also knows one of the authors I'm thinking of using in my third chapter! So that was pretty damn cool (since she offered to introduce me).

Also this woman works on fanfic and the like too, and had run across her first Omega!verse fic, so we had to explain about that too, which was fun and thrilling and a little bit bizarre. BUT SO COOL.

So, with all of that, I've also gotten my hands on the book that's ostensibly on SF Art and discovered it's short bios of every major Japanese SF artist. Which is cool and all, but NOT what my project is doing. YAY! So that was a huge sigh of relief. I still have to contact the author though, and introduce myself, and explain what it is I'm working on.

I've also gotten a bunch of SF magazines (I had an orgy of spending on Sunday last week), a first edition of Komatsu Saikyo's Japan Sinks, which is probably one of the most famous SF stories in Japan (and one I've never read - it's a bit daunting at two books, but whatever, I have no life). One magazine actually has a roundtable discussion about SF art that I've been slowly making my way through (about a page at a time, but hey, it's better than nothing). It's from the 70s, and is a casual discussion between artists and scholars, which is pretty cool, and I'm actually translating a couple of sections not just for use in the paper but because they're kind of interesting statements about how SF Art is being conceived of, and given a kind of history, in Japan.

I also lost like three hours yesterday in the Asahi Shinbun (newspaper) online archives trying to figure out what were the most popular magazines in the 1960s ... which IS actually directly related to the chapter I'm ostensibly writing. This is both good and bad because it means I have even MORE to read.

Somehow I managed to lose my electronic dictionary out of my bag while traveling, so I've got an app on my phone I'm limping along with.

So all that adds up to a kind of work, for sure, and the gathering of materials that I honestly wasn't sure I was going to really do much of while I was here. so... YAY!

It does not, however, directly relate to page counts or words written. Which I'm almost an entire month behind on. That part is hugely frustrating, and while I'm slowly working towards the info I need to get past it, it's still a ways away. So I'm at a coffee shop again, writing this instead of doing the reading I need to. But I wanted to check in too, since that's mostly what I've been doing every day -- sitting at a coffee shop somewhere, be it the coffee shop in my neighborhood or the coffee shop in Jinbocho, or the coffee shop near Meiji Daigaku... a coffee shop somewhere where I can spread out and attempt to do work.

See, this is me, going to do work!

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my monkied brain
17 July 2014 @ 04:50 am
For the first time that wasn't on a class jaunt or a trip to a fast-food like kaitenzushi restaurant, i had sushi. I had yummy, yummy sushi.

This was in celebration of me showing up at a talk given by the husband of one of my advisors - it was part of a translation studies group run out of Sophia University. Really interesting talk that was basically preliminary findings on newspaper discussions of Japanese books translated into English in the 1800s, but the really cool part?

The talk's organizers practically offered me the space to give a talk myself when I get my research together. Because they're that interested in science fiction translation. OH YEAH baby. that's pretty frigging cool.

So as a way to celebrate getting something "done" in terms of networking, I tried the local neighborhood sushi restaurant. Thing is, it's a tiny place, and I ended up at the counter. now, for those not in the know, when you're at the counter you're supposed to actually order directly from the sushi master. And you kind of need to know what you want so you can order it (oh, sure, there's a "menu" of things up on the wall, but if you're me and you hardly ever pay attention to the names of the fish you eat, you don't remember what it is you like). So I explained that I hadn't really eaten at this type of restaurant before and the Sushi master graciously fixed me a sampler set. Which was nummy, totally nummy.

But the best part? THE OYSTERS. I had looked over and seen the man sitting next to me had them on his plate, and for some reason I've been *really* into oysters lately. So I asked if I could have some of them... they are kane. And they were SO good. Oyster afficianados will note these suckers were huge (like the meat was actually the size of the palm of my hand... nice and big), and they only had a little dab of onion and something else a tiny bit spicy in the middle. Fresh and pure tasting, not salty or bitter, they were DELIGHTFUL.

Adventures in Japan today? Feeling pretty good about them. I should know sushi is always a win!

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my monkied brain
15 July 2014 @ 01:53 am
Ok, so the weird thing about being in a media conversation is that people come into it at different times and different ways. The public opening lectures for the program that I didn't get into in Tokyo on Media Mix were on Monday, and so I went. There was one anthropologist talking about anime production and the forces that drive it as communal effort (he wasn't ignoring the commerical aspect, but the people who create Japanese animation aren't making buckets of money off of it, they're doing it in tiny paper-filled offices tucked away on the second floor in some commercial area in Tokyo, not in ritzy sci-fi like spaces with touch screens or anything). There was a French-theory trained ... I think he was a sociologist? Who was simultaneously dismissive of the Media under consideration in this context and far too deeply embedded in it in his work group's projects (one of which was a kind of twitter-based rating system that you could use during conferences to elevate back-channel chatting to a whole weird critical evaluation level). Made for lots of food for thought though, and it was fun to get to see my friends who are at the conference and meet with the professors running it. And one of them sort of suggested that I could sit in on the classes if I wanted (though only him, and I don't want to cross the rigid Japanese-led organizers who categorically said no, unless i get TRULY bored).

Today I met up with another pair of friends who have been living in Yokohama since I did my program there (with one of them), and we went to the Craft Museum of the National Museum of Modern Art, which was sort of insanely awesome.



Ok, so it just looks like a pretty box right? the thing to notice is when you get close up to it (LIKE CLOSE UP) the color variations are created because the person who made the box put layers of colored lacquer on the box, then carved away parts of the layers to get to the properly colored one. There were a couple of examples - all pretty amazing.

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my monkied brain
13 July 2014 @ 07:15 am
It's 11 pm local time, and I've been in Japan for all of two days, and I'm so glad I'm back! I got off the plane and the air was so humid I felt like I had to chew through it, but I'm slowly feeling more and more acclimated to that crazy humidity (well, and it's fluctuated a bit so I don't think it was quite 90 degrees with 90% anymore either).

I always have the most ridiculous adventures the first night I'm here - last time I ended up spending most of the night huddling in a corner outside the Yokohama train station because I'd forgotten to book a hotel. This time I managed to set up my stay just fine, and since it was in Tokyo I'd even communicated to the woman who runs the house (it's a bit like a private hostel) when my plane was going to get in and how long it would take me to get to the city. I forgot, however, to let her know I had gotten in and was on my way. And I hadn't yet gotten a cell phone.

Thus when I arrived at the proper train station, went out the proper exit, well... I couldn't find the apartment. This is in major part due to the fact that Japanese addresses do not work like American addresses. In fact, they mostly don't work as addresses at all unless you're both holding a computer navigation system in your hand and you're also used to the way this shit functions. Because unlike most American addresses that work off of city blocks (and roughly go up one direction and down the opposite), Japanese addresses go around a block. And the block numbers go around each other too. Oh, also, there aren't good street markers because most of that information is grafted to telephone polls or embossed on a plaque on the side of a building (no ridiculous street signs here!). So I sorta could tell from the map at the train station that I was probably heading in the right direction, and mostly even in the right set of blocks. see, Japanese addresses go: city, district, sub-district, block number, then a house number. (no street names, because it doesn't work). I'm staying Tokyo, in the Bunkyo district, in the Honkomagome sub-district. And the #s are: 5-66-10 These numbers are also in descending order -- so I'm in the 5th Honkomagome division, on the 66th block, looking for house #10.

Hilariously? There are actually 2 House #10s on this block, and I couldn't find either of them

Ok, so the great thing about my Japanese-fresh-off-the-plane adventures is that I get shown over and over again the awesmoeness of Japanese people. This time it was in the form of a woman having a quiet smoke on her front step. Someone who lives at 5-66-7 ... who willingly walked me around the entire neighborhood, then actually called my landlady person for me, to get directions to the place I was staying. Also though, just think about that - someone who lives 4 doors away had no idea how to locate an address that's supposed to be on her block. Of course that's because her block is shaped like a leaf, and the 5-66 applies to all of it, but still. This is one reason why I love Japan.

Also a reason why I wish I had a smart phone though. Sadly I'll just be navigating through life here on the skills of other people. It's ok, I actually don't mind that much, and it gives me a reason to practice my Japanese.

After all that I did get settled in, had lovely discussion with my landlady, who went to highschool in Pasadena. My room is the bare basic of a bed on the floor, and an airconditioner, which means I'm not spending a whole ton of time sitting here (which is good, i shouldn't be). So far I have walked all through the shopping streets connected with my neighborhood (it's a couple of miles all told), went to the neighborhood famous garden Rikugien (六義園) -- a place I'd actually been to visit in 2008, hit up the 100 en shop (like the dollar store, but with Japanese cheap stuff, YAY) for a laundry basket and other random things, had sushi in Ikebukuro, met a friend from school who is also here for omo-rice in Shibuya, found the awesomest little coffee shop in the neighborhood called the Charles that has a chandelier and plays jazz (and have already been back once), done a couple of chapters of research, tried the local Indian food place AND an asian fusion place where I had a salad that was so spicy I had to blow my nose.

I'm going to be eating out pretty much every day because the kitchen, while perfectly decent for one or two people, is currently hosting 5 people, and it's simply not going to work. The good part is my budget actually can deal with that, so, um, YAY. And who knows, maybe I can figure out a way to cook with the people I'm "living" with. though so far signs aren't good - I've had sorta conversation with a Taiwanese woman who is here doing a summer internship, and sorta weird conversation with the two french women who just got in today. Hopefully they were just jetlagged, and will be more interesting later.

And there you have it. Just another day in this humid, ridiculously green, wonderfully Japanese country (that now has me in it for another 17 days)

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
I was a fan not of her writing, but of the Sword & Sorceress series that she edited because it did something so few fantasy writings I'd picked up did: required that the main characters be women. I think at one point I had actually purchased a good chunk of them (into the 20s). Apparently she was also one of the founders of SCA, an organization I enjoy hearing about, even if I've never joined.

But I did not know that Marion Zimmer Bradley was evil.

Her daughter has opened up to discuss how her mother abused her. [again, trigger warnings - there's not graphic stuff here (except in comments), but there is emotional stuff that is pretty bad]

I'm sickened. I'm glad that there is a different kind of conversation in fandom now than there seems to have been in the 1960s around the "Breendoggle" that was her husband's pedophilia.

I know it doesn't stop violent people (and that's what it is, it's violence), but I also know without language, without language making clear that this is not acceptable, without voicing, putting into words, discussing, reading, sharing, and describing these things, no one is helped. At least with language changing, with the conversation changing, with words like abuse, and violence, rape, pedophilia, power and powerlessness, we have different definitions, we have names for these acts - names that help define them and conversations that help defined them as evil.

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my monkied brain
I'm in the middle of a two-week visit to family in N. California.

It's a family immersion! This week I've spent the days chatting with my stepmom (on everything from porn to my dog's digestive situation), the evenings taking short dog walks with my dad and getting to hear him talk through his current trial (he's a defense attorney), gotten to hang out with my little sister two days running, and my elder sister for a couple of hours. I've burbled at (and been burbled at by) two grand-nephews (yes, my nephews are old enough to have their own babies). I helped my nephew fill out his divorce papers yesterday, had lunch with him and his brother and his brother's girlfriend and their little boy, and dinner with one of my other nephews and his wife and their little boy. Saturday is an afternoon picnic (or maybe early dinner) with another nephew's girlfriend and her family (and our family). Oh, and Dad and I washed cars on Sunday, a weekend activity we've been doing together for like 20 years.

It sounds exceedingly busy but it's also been a lot of hanging out, drinking coffee, watching the dogs, and eating.

Sunday I head to my mom's house, where I assume there will be gardening, and more talking, hanging out, watching (my) dog.

I love these visits. I suppose for some people this kind of summer vacation would be weird, or filled with conflict, and I'm really grateful that I have a family that (while dear god we definitely have plenty of conflict) is happy to see me and have me as a lounger in their house when I can.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
Tags:
 
 
my monkied brain
10 June 2014 @ 04:15 pm
2002 summer kelly1


This is Kelly. She's an old friend of mine who died last night after a year's struggle with some fairly large and debilitating medical problems. Kelly was a Sacramento girl through and through - funny, generous, down to earth, and the life of the party.

When I first met her I was intimidated - she was best friends with my then-boyfriend's previous girlfriend, the woman he'd almost married, and I assumed the two of them, both beautiful, sparkling, and thinner than me, were going to judge me and hate me on sight. But Kelly didn't. Instead she became someone I genuinely looked forward to seeing every time we traveled to Sacto, someone who would drive down with her sister to LA at the drop of a hat, with a smile and a will to party.

When Ryan, my then-boyfriend's best friend, came to live with us while he found a job in LA, I got the chance to see a lot more of Kelly (she and Ryan had an on again off again we're always friends kind of relationship) - we had so much fun together, took road trips, went to weddings, watched movies, partied - every time I saw her she reminded me that I wasn't a dead fuddy duddy but someone who could turn on some music and run around and have a grand time. She lived life like a fire cracker.

Eventually Ryan decided to move back to Sacramento, and after the ex and I broke up I pretty much only kept in touch with both of them through Kelly, who actually kept a facebook. They got married a couple of years ago - set up a house together and adopted cats and although they settled in, I don't think they ever settled down.

About a year ago Kelly started having medical troubles - loss of feeling in her fingers and feet, and trouble walking. She was diagnosed with a fairly rare disease and she had to take off work and spend time at the hospital, then time at home, because she wasn't physically up to much else. Ryan took great care of her, and actually over this last month she'd been slowly in the process of returning to work part time - it seemed like she was getting a handle on what was happening and was moving forward. But three days ago she had some kind of a major liver or kidney failure and was back in the hospital. She didn't return home. Last night she passed away.

M called me this morning to tell me what had happened - we all got notified over facebook from Kelly's little sister (they were best friends as well as sisters). M and I were both sad, but a little removed. Kelly was someone we'd both been close to, but hadn't seen in the every day for years. She's someone we're sad isn't in the world anymore. We both want to reach out to Ryan, to give him support, but he's the worst communicator ever even during the good times. I've got his number and I'll be calling him in the next week or so.

There are many lights in the world, and Kelly was one of the amazing ones. The world is a little darker place now that her light has gone out.

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my monkied brain
01 June 2014 @ 01:57 pm


if you haven't signed up, days are still available! check it out at summer_of_giles!

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my monkied brain
CHAPTER 1 OF THE DISSERTATION HAS BEEN TURNED INTO THE COMMITTEE.

now, for all the wittering about itCollapse )

I repaired my favorite chair! That utterly and totally broke on Sunday.

ok, i am in no way qualified to do upholstery or furniture repairCollapse )

I am pretty sure I've achieved a new housemate!

this after interviewing only 15 or so people this timeCollapse )

Southern California is Burning!

ok, I think LA is mostly just experiencing a heat waveCollapse )

I have been watching Agents of SHIELD, Supernatural, Hannibal, Arrow, Elementary, Person of Interest, Game of Thrones, and FINALLY Veronica Mars</i>

(but I am too tired right now to actually expound on them (except I did like the Agents of SHIELD finale too). Oh, and yes, Veronica Mars is awesome. :)

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my monkied brain
I don't often curse, but holy shit you guys - I just managed to edit myself from 15 pages to 32 pages today!!!!

Admittedly this is the combination of a bunch of older things that I wrote for my qualifying exam responses, and then another piece that I wrote for my prospectus that I jettisoned because it was too much information at the wrong time (but never delete anything, for it will come in handy, i say!) and YES. In other words, I'm ahead of my 5-page (edited or written)/day page count goal. I was hoping by this point to be at 20 pages. Maybe I was ready to write this thing after all!

All this after interviewing three possible prospective new housemates - I'm in the market for a new one, since my current one has run out of money and hasn't found a job. She's moving back to New York at the end of the month. There's no super rush since she's paid up till the end of the month, but it would make her happier to have someone come in earlier, and I wouldn't mind the process of getting used to a new housemate. So far only one woman has applied, which is weird, but there's definitely two possible candidates that I feel good about, so that's something.

And I did succumb to the whole Star Wars thing a bit and am (re)watching the movies. In Episode I - Episode VI order. (of course I started late in the day, and you know, did other stuff, so I'm only on Episode II) I am reminded that there is very little that is good about the early episodes. But it has made grading papers (which I'm also doing - got about 10 done today) bearable. The bad dialogue is just about as bad as my student's writing.

and onto the meme thing: what I"m afraid ofCollapse )

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my monkied brain
02 May 2014 @ 12:17 am
ok, it's a Ray Bradbury Quote:

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."

Words to live by. And be lost in. And somehow I always imagine being drunk on words means being consumed by them, letting them flow over you in a crazy wave that gets inside your head and spins it around. Much better than the mundane dramas of the day to day that threaten and cajole and steal attention and brain power and will.

Also, from Dune, the litany against fear:

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing....only I will remain"

Which is just awesome, I mean, seriously, I've actually said it to myself on occasion. And it does kind of help, or at least I've found it so.

I just wish my favorite quotes weren't kind of a sausage fest. But I did also mention Anne McCaffrey in my last post, so, you know, the ladies are here somewhere.

BTW, this post is actually brought to you by sleep deprivation, as I'm going on two nights running with only 5 hours sleep. And I caffeinated two hours ago, so while the part of my consciousness that lives right behind my eyes has gotten fuzzy and a little mentally hurdy-gurdy, the buzz will probably keep me awake till 3 tonight as well.

It's the heat. We're in our second of four days of 95 or better degree heat, and while it has cooled off at night, it hasn't quite done it fast enough for my body to feel sleep ready. I'm going to have to switch back to taking a shower at 11 pm, just before i go to bed. The Japanese way.

cut for dissertation blatherCollapse )

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my monkied brain
29 April 2014 @ 11:27 am
1. i'm a grad student working on my phd. (sorry, i know i bring it up a lot, but it's the defining element in my identity right now)

2. i've never been able to decide on a favorite color (it's between blue, green, and purple), but i bought three all-purple dresses last year on the same shopping trip.

3. i wear skirts or dresses every day (except to walk the dog). i only have two pairs of dress pants and two pairs of sweat pants.

4. i love teaching students even though i also probably complain most about my students.

5. i watch shows and consume books and fanfic critically - it's part of how i enjoy a show/book/story.

6-20, to save your flistCollapse )

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my monkied brain
05 April 2014 @ 12:10 pm
over the last month I've been absolutely buried in work, in life, in Bones and Leverage. No. Seriously.

I graded 45 midterms and 45 papers of 6-10 pages each over the space of three days. I've met with 2/3rds of my students to review their work. I applied for four different types of funding (endowed fellowship, summer grant, summer travel, and writing program teaching assistant) for summer and fall that took me three or four days at a time to write up (though one took a week). I've applied for gotten a position on a SF panel at the MLA, had a proposal accepted at an April grad student conference in Berkeley, and a conference in Poland I haven't heard from yet. I've gone to talks on photographing the gentrification of Highland Park, on Medieval Japanese studies, and on what to do after graduation. I've started the planning our own Grad Student conference (hopefully coming 2015) with an initial budget.

I made breakfast-for-dinner for friends (waffles!), had dinner made for me (homemade tapenade and roasted chicken for the win!), got my housemate drunk (a couple of times, though not on purpose), had a movie night to show off Sakuran, went out twice with grad students for recruitment dinners, hosted a prospective grad student at my house, and took the dog to the dog park twice (she loves it, my car hates her fur).

I found out I received an endowed fellowship for next year (one of those funding proposals) which is like the most amazing thing ever - next year I will *only* be writing, not TAing and not any other thing. Also, it'll be the first time i will be above the poverty line in three years, yay!

other stuffCollapse )

so you could say it's been a bit of a long month. the bad part is i've only read one article on my own research and not written a single thing at all. that changes this weekend.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
02 March 2014 @ 02:40 pm
  • because it rained all weekend, the dog has not gone out on a long walk (though we did do short ones where she came in soaking wet, because of course as soon as we were far enough from the door to commit the rain came pouring down), and I am chomping at the bit to do so
  • i woke up to a ticket on my car this morning because i don't have a front license plate.  even though my sister, who drove my car for like three years, never got ticketed for being without her front license plate. Not fair.
  • my favorite arm chair broke this morning.  structurally broke.  unfixable.  (or at least, uber-costly-un-fixable).  I am a sad panda.
  • a friend loaned me her TV (for movie watching) and we set it up last night and watched S03 of Sherlock (ep 2 & 3).  
  • I made sweet potato soup. Pepper flakes are a necessary addition.  Also, baked apples.  of which I ate both because they were too sugary for her.  She doesn't really like sweets? I don't know either.
  • I only have 15 or so tests left to grade and I am done with grading mid-terms, yay!
  • i need to do laundry SO BAD. keep putting it off. hopefully today will be the day.
  • my mom is coming to visit this week, so sometime in the next two days I need to head to target and get an air mattress for her to sleep on.  Oh, and an extension cord so I can plug said loaner TV in without having to rearrange the furniture to do so.
  • i did yoga last week!  and hope to again this week, but it's getting pretty crowded.
  • i have a half dozen things on my to do list and i keep knocking them off only to put three more things on.  *something* feels really wrong with this scenario, but i think the big secret is it might just be life.
but, at least there was an update! :) also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
ok, so, um. i got buried under an avalanche of preparation. and disappeared. from the internet. i also technically did three talks in the space of four days. And one of those was literally across the country, so i flew there and back and presented.

but i'm back!

Tuesday I presented for half an hour. My presentation was one in this series our Visual Studies Program does called "Objects of Knowledge" - it's where a grad student presents their dissertation work to an audience, kind of a mock-job talk but with a formal discussant (who is a professor who responds to your presentation with comments and questions), and I was totally and utterly nervous about it.
A) because it was the longest presentation of my work I would have done to date
B) I haven't actually *done* the work I thought I was going to have done to, you know, present about it
C) the Vis Studies department has all the hard ass professors in it who call you on your shit, so I was terrified about what questions they might come up with

What actually happened? I think I did just fine! I certainly had plenty to talk about, my preparation of materials was thorough, I lined up a discussant who works on visual media but doesn't really work on Japan, and I'd presented at *another* conference the weekend before AND done a mock-talk practice session on Monday. Another professor at the university, who works on Slavic SF, emailed me about the talk and actually brought some of his undergrads (and even though the talk probably went over their heads, he was very complementary about it and we're supposed to get coffee soon to discuss our respective projects). My advisor came to the talk (which is good since this is the second time I think he's engaged with my work, lolz). And although his comment was his own particularly fantabulous kind of response, with interconnected linkages and stylistic flourishes, i think on the whole it was positive and encouraging. And my girlfriend who made it to the talk did say that she thought I nailed the Q&A, not because I had answers to every question but because I didn't get derailed by any of the questions, acknowledged these were areas that I needed to look into, and admitted when I hadn't considered something with grace. I did speak too quickly (but my mom points out probably part of the reason for that is I'm a fast talker in real life too - so my 'natural' pace isn't natural to hear except for me).

so that was that! And the whole earlier talk? was at Harvard :) which sounds cooler than it is, since it was a grad conference (and not the best planned one). But it was my first trip to Harvard! So yay! And my first time taking a red-eye flight (which I probably will not do again? i dunno, i don't think i got good sleep, I started hazing out around 3 pm, but it was nice to get there in the morning and have the whole day). I did get great feedback from the discussant on that panel as well, which was cool, since the content of the talk was a little different, and I've already had three or four people from the conference email me about staying in touch (so yay! networking!)

But ugh. All the prep work? basically I've been working on keeping my head afloat while I wrote the papers then also configured the presentations for both pieces, and dear gods that takes time. More time on the presentations (which I do in Prez, OMG do you knwo about Prezi? if you don't, please ask me!!!) than on the written talks (well, on the draft text, since I go over and over the talks more than once.

The upshot? I'm tired. I'm pleased though. And I have some draft materials that hopefully, once I clean up the language a bit, will lead to rough draft of my first chapter. OH, and this week I got mid terms to grade, so that will be my entire weekend.

despite that, I'm IN LOVE WITH the current story line on Teen Wolf and keeping up with it! It was definitely one that fandom COMPLETELY CALLED like a year or so ago? And is super awesome that the show people decided to go with. But it's hard watching it in pieces waiting to see what's going to happen. ARG. Episodic TV = ARG.

speaking of non-episodic TV, I also on my day of post-talk rest yesterday watched all of the second season of House of Cards. Is anyone else on my flist into it? I love it and am totally repulsed by it at the same time. I have *thoughts* but will hold those for a different post.

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my monkied brain
06 February 2014 @ 08:56 pm
Gleee!
1. I broke through my writer's block concerning my presentation!! I now have recorded a rough draft that is 30 minutes long - all I have to do is go back and edit and put in the references (which I will do tomorrow)
2. It rained in LA! For those of you outside of CA you may not have heard we're in a mega-drought... which means every little drop of water helps!
3. I made waffles yesterday, which means I get to still crow about them today! And even though they were gluten free and made with coconut milk and water in honor of my allergic housemate, they're actually tasty. Of course I promptly ate them with bacon, thus negating their awesome sort-of-healthy-ness, but it was also delicious.
4. I have clean clothes! I'd had a block against doing them for like three weeks, and had run into my last pair of underwear (or almost last - cut for tmiCollapse ))

Three things I'm proud of myself for today:
1. Getting the planning going on our grad organization mock presentations - we're going to do six presentations over three months, and i had been putting off organizing it for two weeks. I finalized the schedule and reserved the rooms today, and once I hear back from the presenters I'll send out the notifications.
2. I did my Daoism reading (which I have to say is way more my style than Confucianism).
3. I broke through the writer's block! So important, OMG.

Two things I look forward to doing (better) tomorrow:
1. I will edit and submit my application for summer funding (it's due tomorrow)
2. I will finish at least typing out the draft of the presentation I recorded today and get it to the professor who is acting as my respondent (it's only a week late)

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
 
 
my monkied brain
03 February 2014 @ 06:09 pm
Gleee!
1. Bought my tickets for the academic conference i'm going to Harvard for later this month, and decided to fly JetBlue instead of the nasty American/Delta/United - it will be my first time on JetBlue, but I've always wanted to fly it.
2. Puppy has been without tummy incident so far this week! and didn't have poo problems last week - there's hope people, hope!
3. My housemate totally made me dinner (well, in that she gave me her leftover spaghetti, but that totally counts because it means i didn't have to cook dinner!)

Three things I'm proud of myself for today:
1. actually read three pages of Japanese today! (my first for the semester)
2. i did three other things off my to do list for the week
3. I made my mom laugh! twice!

Two things I look forward to doing (better) tomorrow:
1. writing more on the presentations for said conference
2. getting my laundry done

(meme stolen from the lovely mirelle719)

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my monkied brain
30 January 2014 @ 04:47 pm
Rocking housework: how i fixed my fridgeCollapse )

Apparently I"m stressing my own dog into having IBSCollapse )

that will show me to ask to be emailed comments on a thread in a discussion of SF and post-binary genderCollapse )

school is busy and i need to write funding proposals for summer, a presentation draft to send to a professor tomorrow, and i'm going to drive to riverside, sadly, for a local conference tomorrow. the fun never ends. at least the housemate and i made each other dinner this week! (mine was artichoke lemon chicken, and hers was shrimp scampi)

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my monkied brain
Sherlock 3.02
huh?Collapse )

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my monkied brain
10 January 2014 @ 10:01 pm
I hope everyone survived warm and snug despite all the freezing going on this last week (hint: link is pretty pictures). And hopefully those of you who had your ground water poisoned are getting help and clean water from someone (not so pretty article)

The thing is, because I've grown up with parents divorced and then remarried (no really, my stepmom came into my life when i was 3 years old), I've often had Christmas celebrations like Hobbits have meals: 1st Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Breakfast, Christmas Day, and Post-Christmas (well, ok, not quite that many, but still). And now that I'm an adult they aren't so much about the presents as about warm holidays filled with family and love and good food and lots of hugs. We do a white elephant-esque gift exchange each year on my Dad's side of the family, and I found a horrible (but also awesome) light up pillow to exchange. It starts out white and fuzzy, but when you lean on it lights up in rainbow colors. I ended up with a clock that is powered entirely by water, but horse traded it afterwards for some old not-so-classic Sci Fi Movies (seriously, things no one has ever heard of, these things weren't even Zardoz calibre). And since this year was also the year of the !BABY! (three of my nephews became fathers this summer), we had a second dinner at my dad's and I got to check in with the happiest baby ever, Luno.

And then there was Christmas breakfast (and Eve, and Day) at my Mom's house, where the present I made her totally made her and her best friend cry. I decided this year I'd make her a kind of hand made quote book where I wrote out inspirational or amusing quotes in a book, intermixed with little letters I wrote to her meant to cheer her up, or remind her she's inspiring, or just an awesome Mom. it was a hell of a fun project to do, even if I was still glueing the day before Christmas because it took waay longer than I thought to assemble all the fiddly bits of paper.

pics or it didn"t happen, right?Collapse )

then for the New Year I was off to South Dakota!

I managed to totally survive in South Dakota in the winter, which was awesome, though I did mostly miss the extra cold stuff by leaving the day it started (of course that meant plane delays and lost luggage, but they eventually delivered me at 1 am and the luggage like two days later).

what i did on my vacation in south dakota -- with pictures (though not a ton)Collapse )

And now I'm back in la-la-land, getting ready to start the semester (i think).

That's what started this whole post - I got my evals from last semester! And man, I pissed off a couple of students (who rated me poor across the board, called me condescending, and were pissed I never finished class on time). The rest, however, seem to have universally agreed that the adjectives that best describe me (and this is from their comments section) were: "enthusiastic" and "energetic" or some form of the two used in combination. LOL. All that coffee is good for something!! I'm both super grumbly about the students who were critical, probably in part because their criticisms hit home, and just a little bit smug about the happy evals. It's so easy to dwell on the bad reviews and not acknowledge the good ones, but I feel like every semester I get a little bit better at both hearing criticism and remembering I did do things right. (well, fingers crossed at least)

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
Tags:
 
 
my monkied brain
01 January 2014 @ 03:47 pm
I know I'm supposed to count up my blessings and stuff, and I have a lot of them, but everyone is doing a TV meme and that sounds like my kind of distraction. So here's what I watched in 2013 (and may or may not continue watching in 2014).

(also, holy shit that is a long list!) this is what happens when you're shivering in fear about your thesis, apparently.

Agents of ShieldCollapse )

BlacklistCollapse )

Sleepy HollowCollapse )

Person of InterestCollapse )

Orange is the New BlackCollapse )

DraculaCollapse )

ElementaryCollapse )

White CollarCollapse )

SuitsCollapse )

ArrowCollapse )

HannibalCollapse )

Da Vinci"s DemonsCollapse )

Hemlock GroveCollapse )

SupernaturalCollapse )

Teen WolfCollapse )

Annnnnnnd, that's about it. except that I discovered Chuck like 30 years after everyone else did and watched a bunch of it while finishing my 4th draft of my prospectus. Even though product placement is rampant and its totally predictable, its making me happy that everything mostly turns out all right in the end.

Oh, and has anyone else watched American Horror Story? I've been watching it while in South Dakota and the first season was AWESOME and super duper over the top creepy. not as sold on the second (though perhaps it's just too much horror in too short amount of time?)

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Tags: ,
 
 
my monkied brain
24 December 2013 @ 11:08 pm
I hope anyone reading this is just taking a quiet break and having themselves a warm evening of peace and joy, no matter if you celebrate the whole christmas part or not.

Mom and I are marathonning the Mummy series (with a chaser of Tomb Raider perhaps - the jury is still out).

I've done one Christmas already with my Dad's side of the family on Saturday. Lots of good food, lots of hugs, and tons of goodness. And even though we spent almost four hours in the car to get to my sister's house, having my other sister sing while driving to almost every seventies song on the radio was adorable and awesome. I haven't seen her be that goofy in years. And I got to see babies and nephews and sisters and parents and it was already good.

Tomorrow Mom and I will cook dinner for ourselves and a friend, and bake and frost sugar cookies (which I think we like baking and frosting better than eating, truth be told). But our sugar cookie recipe this time called for lemon zest, so perhaps they will be extra tasty?

and i leave you with this pretty by Aron Jansco (that's his tumblr)



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my monkied brain
the picspam to end all picpams (or: kate was being lazy and productive at the same time and that means pictures were organized - because after all, organization = productivity, right?)

a huntinton garden rose
20131111_134347
invites you in ...


Random sept photos of my house, neighborhood, and parentsCollapse )

And then there was Halloween, Los Feliz styleCollapse )


Adventures at the Huntington GardensCollapse )

Thanksgiving (or my Mom"s backyard)Collapse )

it"s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, even at ThanksgivingCollapse )

the end! thank you for looking!!

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my monkied brain
11 December 2013 @ 09:01 am
i guess nobody but me still uses yahoo!mail? anyway, mine's been out for three days (for "system maintenance") and so i've felt a little (or a lot) disconnected. i'm in the process of moving all my notifications to gmail (it's not like i haven't had an account there, but it was largely used for filtering spam). thoroughly disappointed in yahoo though.

i have a paper due on the 13th that i'm madly, crazily, belatedly trying to work through (i have to read a lot of complex theory in Japanese to get to it - that's on the menu today).

new housemate moved in on the 1st of Dec and we get a long pretty great. she's a chatterbox, which fills the house in a way i haven't been used to for a while, but it's nice. we spent Saturday rearranging the living room into a new formation and putting up christmas decorations (bonding!!)

other things - like turkey day, family stuff, state of meCollapse )

so maybe if i get the chance picspam soon. well, not today. today i have to work. really, i'm going to work. you see me going, right?

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my monkied brain
THINGS TO RANT ABOUT!

Person of Interest
seriously, rantCollapse )

Ender's Game
i wasn"t expecting a lotCollapse )

THINGS THAT I AM ENJOYING

Sleepy Hollow: Show continues to be awesome and sort of self aware of it's own ridiculousness. And the platonic main characters are still platonic, for which I'm grateful. It's also ep 7 or 8 and Icabod still hasn't changed his clothes. Which he looks hot in. Well done show.

Agents of SHIELD: Ok, this last week really felt like things were getting better - more emotional investment, cute awareness of their world, and hot agent action! But I do wish they'd stop teasing the whole Coulson mystery and start, oh, i dunno, actually giving us more about it.


THINGS THAT I KEEP WATCHING EVEN THOUGH I'M SORT OF UNIMPRESSED BY THEM

Blacklist: James Spader is awesome and steals every single scene. But he needs to because everyone else is pretty wooden. Still. James Spader. Awesome. Being wicked.

Arrow: I used to watch this for Stephen Amell's abs, but they've been less in evidence lately. Now I'm kind of watching it to see what Summer Glau's character has up her sleeve.

Elementary: I quite liked the last ep, but I'm not emotionally invested in this show. It's just that it does have mysteries and it is Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller.

Dracula: another one I'm watching cuz I looooooove the actor. it's RIDICULOUS but at least Dracula still rips people's throats out. I have a feeling it's not going to last longer than a season though.

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Tags:
 
 
my monkied brain
I'm going to write about media in my next post, but here's the upshot for me in RL.

I found a housemate! She moves in Dec 1! So far all our interactions have been really good and I think it's going to be absolutely great. She got the dog seal of approval right away, too, and the second time she came over Domino didn't even bark at her, so that's a comfort.

Dog has been slowly getting over her tummy troubles. She's not through the woods entirely yet, but the chinese medicine I've been giving her has definitely made it so she's not having scary BMs anymore and she's eating every day. It's called yunnan bayao and it's good for internal bleeding and even putting on small cuts if you get them (I've read some reviews where people say they put it in their medicine cabinet just cuz it helps close up little wounds). It'll take a bit longer with this stuff just because it's about using it until her own natural healing kicks the rest of the way in (at least, this according to my chinese medicine consultant). But she's happy and energetic and eating and pooping, so that's the important stuff for me. Oh, and just in case I switched her to this low-grain food and her coat has become even softer than before over the last three weeks - she's like a teddy bear to pet now. A constantly shedding teddy bear.

Along with school, which frankly has been pretty busy as the semester starts to wrap up, I've been dealing with a new and not exciting medical issue: I didn't realize it at first, but I've been experiencing hearing loss in my left ear for about five months. I just thought I needed a cleaning. Went in for that and found out I'm whistle clean and there's no sign of an infection (redness, swelling). The doc put me on prednisone and sudafed, assuming there was some kind of fluid build up on the inside of my ear, and it didn't clear up the hearing loss. In fact, it made me hyper aware of my left ear (which is the one having problems), and seems to have actually sort of aggravated whatever was happening before. I took a hearing test, but sadly the results were conclusively "yep, you've got some hearing loss" and not clearly anything else. After working through all that they finally gave me the referral for an ENT, whose first appointment was the second week of December. So for now I'm on sudafed and ibuprofin and hoping it doesn't get any worse before I can get into see this Doctor (and hopefully the specialist will do something other than proscribe me things that make me feel like it feels worse). It's made me tired just thinking about it, so I've been doing quite a bit of snail-shelling with TV and the like.

EXCEPT when my Mom came to visit for four days two weeks ago. It was so nice to see her, even though her visit was WAY shorter than usual. We packed a ton of stuff into the two real days she was here - went looking at Amoeba Music for lady singers for her (she's doing her lesbian protest rock phase now, lol), got new plants for my patio, tried to get some things at Ikea for her craft/art room (but Ikea was sadly out of the things she wanted - which is crazy but it does happen), and then topped it all off with a trip to Huntington Gardens. Which were AWESOME and perhaps I will have to picspam. It was so bright too that we bought HATS! (from the gift shop - they were expensive but really pretty so... i think on balance we won.) And we went and saw Ender's Game. Oh, and helped my housemate move the last of her stuff out of the apartment. For us that's like a whirl-wind of stuff to pack into two days :D

ETA: OMG AND I FORGOT THAT TWO FRIENDS CAME UP TO VISIT FROM LONG BEACH LAST WEEKEND and we had a great time at breakfast and then visiting my favorite place in LA, the Planetarium. And we saw Ride of the Valkries (Planetarium show). I am COMPLETE sucker for Planetarium shows, even if, as wise friend noted, they're not in depth enough to make you happy about learning more on the science side (re: aurora borealis) OR on the myth side (re: norse gods)... it's basically a show that sketches some cool stuff and has stars and Wagner accompanying it. But still. It's awesome. And these women were awesome company too - it was such a good sunday to walk around and just hang out (and compare notes on life and media and living in sunny california, even if its' rainy right now)

So yeah, I've mostly been trying to balance dog and work and ear and the quiet of my apartment (which i'm not the hugest fan of - it makes it really easy to just keep clicking 'next' on netflix to fill the silence instead of getting things done). Our semester ends the week after Turkey day, so that's coming up all in a rush too.

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my monkied brain
01 November 2013 @ 07:15 pm
the list:

- even after antibiotics course dog is still having scary BMs. i will have to go back to the vet AGAIN and probably spend more money. (subtotal so far for those of you playing at home is $600)

- housemate finally decided that she's moving out. which is sad, but probably right thing to do.

- put up add for room last sunday, had 4 people come visit on sunday, two on monday, two on tuesday, one on thursday.

- pulled a very LA bad karma move and offered apt. to one of the sunday people and then felt gut-punch wrong about having done so, so pulled out two days later. this meant i screwed me up (didn't sleep the whole night before pulling out - conflicted and worried doesn't even begin to explain it, couldn't concentrate, totally brain shot, also i had to front the rent for both me and housemate for november so i'm BROKE TO THE BONE), screwed current housemate up because she paid some bills thinking she'd not have to pay for november rent, screwed nice (but unemployed) person who wanted to rent room up. (so in her favor she was only like 8 years younger than me, smart, passed the 'will domino sit in a room with you' test, seemed like we would get along. in her unfavor - and why i took back my decision - she doesn't have a job, and she got really pushy from the evening she saw the apartment, and she made some interesting offhand comments about it being *mostly* clean in here, which is hilarious)

- had to do a presentation in my japanese crit studies class (this was after the two hours or so sleep night on tuesday)

- offered apartment to one of the tuesday-saw-it-people, she hasn't called me back, so she's off the list

- met with my old advisor who is setting up a press for translated japanese sci fi. which is awesome. i promised to do a cover for her. because i'm an idiot. also though because it will be awesome to be associated with her press without having to translate japanese. yet. maybe someday.

- i didn't even realize new eps of white collar were out there and all i want to do is sit at home and watch them, but i have to go to a halloween party. And yes, i know, that sounds super complainy. I wish the party was tomorrow night though, not tonight, because then i'd have the energy. as it stands right nwo all i want to do is cocoon into a little headphone-enabled ball.

tired. tired. purposefully slept in on thursday and STILL I'M TIRED. UGH.

sorry, this post is brought to you by my whine. i need some cheese with this or something.

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my monkied brain
21 October 2013 @ 11:11 pm
  • First, got slight food poisoning from a sandwich I bought yesterday - no tummy upset, but I was in the bathroom for most of the evening yesterday (so much fun). had a lurching moment this morning, but luckily just a lurch.
  • I get rolling this morning, but the dog isn't interested in breakfast, so that's a worry.
  • She has a terrifying bowel movement (there's a phenomenon called raspberry jam. i saw it. it was scary).
  • However, I have to go to class.
  • I decide to use housemate's travel mug and manage to pour like a quarter cup coffee down my front on my way to school.
  • Get to school to realize I've forgotten the corrected tests I needed to give the prof for the class I'm TAing for.
  • Hop back in car, drive home, pet dog, pick up tests, make it back to school only half an hour after class has started.
  • Come home, call vet for dog, and schedule her to be dropped off for ultrasound.
  • Results of ultrasound are that yep, she has colitis (her colon is not doing well - it's all enlarged and weirdly lumpy). There's a medicine she can take for 5 days that will hopefully make it all better (antibiotics, yay)
  • Vet also did an xray, and discovered she has a small calcium (or something) deposit under her spine near her tailbone. it's not affecting anything *right* this second, but will probably at some point. Treatment here is a series of shots (starting at 2 a week for 2 weeks, going to 1 a week, then 1 every other week, forever) ... each shot costs $50 -- that would blow my food budget for *me* much less her, so yeah, can't do that. OR they have a stem cell therapy that only costs like $1,800 and will help her for like two years. yay.
  • Get a dog with a totally shaved tummy back.


The bright side of the day?
- dog ate dinner and her medicine
- Vet gave me the x-ray for free (though i had to pay $300 for the ultrasound)
- i found the text i'm reading for Japanese crit theory class wed online
- the boyfriend had a weird day too?

yeah, that's all i got for the moment. i think i'm calling it. hopefully this was enough this week and this is not a sign of things to come.

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my monkied brain
13 October 2013 @ 12:34 pm
It's been a CRAZY and simultaneously boring week. And it was similarly a quiet birthday, but not a bad one.

Last weekend my friends took me out to Jar (short for 'just another restaurant') to officially celebrate my and my girl M's birthdays and we gorged ourselves on red meat and ridiculous desserts. I had these amazing black yams (or maybe they were blue yams) with a yummy creme freche, and a totally abundant prime rib that i ended up taking half of home because it was soooo tasty but i couldn't eat it all. And ended with a chocolate cake that was not quite as to die for as their butterscotch pudding (which my other girlfriend M generously let the whole table sample).

This week I have spent every single bloody day writing writing writing to get my prospectus done. AND I FINISHED! A rough draft at least. Which I promptly sent out to my reading group for their criticism. The nail biting part was that i had so many contradictory examples that I didn't quite know how to structure anything.

The new nail biting part is I've sent this out to a group of critical grad students and they're gonna give me feedback on it. And let me tell you - grad student critics are the toughest critics ever. (well, except for professional academics - they're even tougher). The new nail biting has commenced. I find out their reactions/get their feedback on the 25th.

And it was my birthday! So I bought myself flowers for my birthday! And I took me and a girlfriend out to dinner (she is a poor grad student like me) on my actual birthday night! And I made calls to my close friends and my bf so i could speak to friendly voices and get good wishes on the day!

cut for blather and self indulgent whiningCollapse )

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my monkied brain
26 September 2013 @ 10:32 pm
I've had on my To Do List this thing... this thing where I have to create a bibliography of the works I'm going to need for my dissertation. And since I am rewriting my proposal from the ground up, most of the works on my qualifying exams list aren't really helpful or necessary anymore. Oh, sure, like 20 or 30 of them will come over, but I've needed to actually go start to outline the works I *will* need since last year.

Well today I finally got started on it! And found a bunch of dissertations that I am aching to read, including a monograph on one of the authors I would like to write about in my later chapters on feminist writers! It was very exciting!!

But I totally looked up and it was like an hour later and I have 10 citations. Which is good! Dont' get me wrong! But I'd meant to only sit down with the database for like 20 minutes, which is just laughable. Resaerch is awesome.

That's my life. Except that I totally read [personal profile] scarimonious's giggling and saw that entrenous88 had done a review of Sleepy Hollow and it sounded kind of hilarious, so, yeah, two episodes in I think I've adopted a new TV show. Not that I need anymore! But accents! Awesome cops! Headless Horsemen!!!

(yes, i know, this post has a lot of exclamation points. i think i'm feeling less sick finally, and it shows in the punctuation!)

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my monkied brain
23 September 2013 @ 04:13 pm
(man my post count is pitiful when I do it this way).

Monday! I am caffeinated! And ready to start you!!

(this is on the heels of not actually doing much this weekend but reading japanese and losing myself totally and utterly in a show called Lost Girl that is about a bisexual succubus on Sci Fi -- OMG IS ANYONE ELSE WATCHING THIS I CANNOT STOP!!)

have done:
- made it to class
- finished Mon class reading
- finished class reading for wed
- got car washed (i left it under trees this weekend and it was both pooped on by birds and pooped on by the tree, and wow could that tree poop - literally covered with little red balls of goo)
- walked dog twice
- read 13 pages of theory on nationhood (almost done with Japanese reading for last week, so after that it will only be 50 pages of Japanese homework for *this* week to do!)
- responded to 2 student emails about paper
- met with student about paper thesis
- forwarded emails to Grad Student organziation about future events
- post to journal!

left to do (today):
- take fish out of fridge for dinner
- walk dog 1 hr
- complete 15 pages Japanese for *this* week
- send email to students about discussion session
- fix discussion session name on blackboard
- write draft 'please join grad student org' email to send out tomorrow

can i have some more coffee please?

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my monkied brain
19 September 2013 @ 06:55 pm
(just on a meta note, i suck at this posting every day thing. i'm still going to keep track of things just to see how long it takes me to get to 30)

I drove approximately 1,000 miles last weekend. Started Friday from LA to my parent's house in Sacramento (with a detour to the airport to pick up the boyfriend). Then an early morning drive to Mill Valley to the wedding hotel to meet up with the parents. Then wedding, and an overnight in Mill Valley, to wake up the next morning, drive back to Sacramento to have brunch with my Mom for her birthday, back to the other parents' house to pick up the dog, and back to LA again to be ready for class on Monday.

Insane doesn't begin to cover it.

The great things about the weekend:

The wedding was beautiful! And totally entertaining - the bride and her bridesmaids did a lip sync dance to a Supremes song, and the groom and his groomsmen did a whole crazy pants dance to Michael Jackson songs. Hilarious, and really good too. My dad and stepmom danced together and were so CUTE it was ridiculous. The boyfriend and I got into geeky conversations with our table at dinner about Sherlock.

Since I drove, we got to pick up my little sister and take her back to Sacramento, which meant talking and catching up on the hour and a half drive both ways, which was just *good* family time, even if she was hung over. Both ways. ;)

For the first time in a couple of years I got to actually SEE my Mom on her birthday, and we celebrated it with her, even if it wasn't for long. And in great hobbit tradition she gave me a present - an herb keeper that goes in the fridge and keeps your herbs from dying for like two weeks.

In order to get the homework done while driving the boyfriend read about 100 pages out loud to me on the drive -- 100 pages of a Korean classic the Cloud Dream of Nine. It was pretty cool actually, and waaaay better entertainment than the radio or a book on tape because we talked about hilarious or weird or interesting parts all along the way. He's a much more perceptive reader than most of my actual students (though I would expect so - that phd wasn't just a flimsy piece of paper, and both of us did go to UCSC).

Monday night we went for dinner at my friends H & M's house and our other friend M came and I just *love* them... also the food was tasty - something called taco soup - that was super simple but still warm and awesome, just like them. We sat around and chatted till late in the evening.


and ok, the un-fun list of things this weekendCollapse )

there you have it! I am trying to make a promise to myself not to do anything quite that crazy again (or believe that I can). I'm still coughing, and still sick (no surprise there - it's not like I had down time to actually recover or anything), and sadly the boyfriend has developed his own version of the sickness. I am a horrible girlfriend: he came out to california to visit and went home with a cold. At least we also got coasters as our wedding presents, so that wasn't his only souvenir. And he beat me at chess, as usual, so you know, he's got that going for him.

ETA: sadly my dropbox does not want me to share photos, so i had to remove them... somehow i'll figure out how to share them and show off my awesome parents dancing in the dim light of an iphone!

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my monkied brain
Well things have sort of calmed down with housemate. Which is good. Apparently the email I sent actually got listened to, which is weird but good.

The weekend itself felt crazy in part because I translated/read Japanese all day sat (in between eps of angel) and Sunday taped an interview with one professor about her new book and went to another professor's party (which was fun, don't get me wrong, but was still a busy non-resting time). And then I went and found three perfect dresses at the mall that I couldn't decide between.

See, I'm going to my nephew's wedding this Sat - he's marrying the nicest woman and they've been together for a while now, which is awesome. I still regret missing my other nephew's wedding while I was in Japan, so by hook, crook, or driving ALL DAY just to get there, i am. It's also my mom's birthday, so I'm driving up to Sac on Friday, driving to the wedding in Mill Valley on Sat, spending the night there and driving back to Sac Sun, then driving back to LA Sunday afternoon/evening because I have class on Monday.

awesome part is that the boyfriend is coming too! So I will get to see his face again! :D amidst all the driving. and the family events. he will get to see my crazy family in full form (well, ok, probably not *full* form, because that would be thanksgiving, but you know, turned out by the dozens.)

Looking forward to the weekend this much makes it hard to concentrate on the work to do this week, though I do have a to do list like three miles long and I'm chipping away at it.

want to see? my awesome to do listCollapse )

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my monkied brain
01 September 2013 @ 10:17 am
And not in a fun 80s song kind of way. It's been regular temperatures here in la la land during the day (well, regular september temps anyway - 90s, but mid 90s ish) but for the last couple of days it hasn't cooled off at night.

this is *really* problematic. it's the good part about living in a dessert without air conditioner - as long as you can hold out until evening, when usually the temps drop below 70 at the least, and sometimes into the low 60s, the daytime heat is bearable.

Except the last four days it hasn't. and so our airconditioned apartment is turning into a heat trap. My housemate actually fled for a friend's ac-controlled apartment! i would too, but i'm kidn of an idiot and sometimes buckle into things i shouldn't, and besides, if the dog has to suffer through it i feel like i should too.

So instead i've got fans on, i'm sticking washcloths in the freezer to freeze and use as cooling towels, and basically both me and dog are sort of brain dead. Which is hilarious because i'm trying to get through 10 pages of japanese a day.

Which I'm using a pomodoro extension to do (thank you [personal profile] astolat)!

(and there's my timer - must go!)

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my monkied brain
In Japan the cotton of q-tips are really tightly wrapped. So it's like the little cardboard (or whatever) wand has just this tiny tiny bit of cotton on the end. For some reason it made cleaning my ears really difficult - as if that tight wrap just couldn't get *in* there and pick up like American q-tips can. Sam actually pointed it out to me, otherwise I would have just thought my ears were producing more wax in the humid climes or something. It was a relief to know it wasn't just me.

But then I get back to the u.s. and find that q-tips' wand part (the part in the middle) have been replaced by plastic?? What is this new horror?? At my Dad's house I was so excited to finally have fully clean ears, and the first time I used one it bent in half before I could even finish getting around the outer shell of my ear! I was terrified that somehow there was a conspiracy to replace those nice little *stiff* cardboard wands with these bendy plastic straws that couldn't even hold up to me holding them between my fingers. I mean, I know I have freakishly strong tiny hands, but WTF? Luckily I still had a box of like 1000 q-tips in my bathroom stuff in LA. And I have since seen in the drugstore some regular (non plastic) types on sale. Crisis averted.

Class was so great yesterday! Kind of hilarious since Korea Prof had 50 students all stand up and introduce themselves. But it's going to be a great class, and I will learn so so so much from it.

so here's some exciting Korea factoids for you:
  • Korea had a metal moveable type printing system before anyone else in the 13th century. It's just no one knows about it because they didn't export it anywhere. And it was Chinese kanji. (still, that's a century before Gutenberg, and better than the Chinese clay moveable type systems)
  • Korea's first treaty with a western power was in the 1800s with the United States. It not only recognized Korea as a sovereign nation, but also agreed to help militarily if Korea got into wars.
  • Part of the differences between Korean and Chinese government (even though many of the pre-modern Korean kingdoms modeled their administration on the Chinese hierarchy) was that Korean government was a little more consensus based. This may be a holdover from ancient Korean social practices that were based on collective consensus.

See, learning IS fun, isn't it? ;)

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
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my monkied brain
I don't mention it often here. Which is weird. But I consider myself almost a radical feminist. (almost, but not quite, because while I do actually believe there is socially institutionalized sexism that can be found pretty much in every part of in my own culture and quite a few others, i actually do like men and believe they can be feminists and to believe that trans* people are real people too and undergo oppression and deserve to have a voice in multiple movements, including the feminist movement, and because i do still actually like hetero sex and because i do believe women have agency and choice...)

But for some reason it doesn't come up for me in a fandom context as much as it does in my other online spaces, particularly on facebook. Racism discussions too. It's not that I don't have them about things I am fannish about...or think thoughts about those texts that critique their gender politics (and they've all got gender politics, boy howdy). But I'm in a radical feminist community on facebook that has really fascinating discussions (and occasionally just blow your pants off drama). And now, apparently I'm also picking fights with sexist freethinkers.

And picking fights with sexist freethinkers wasn't actually on my menu for the weekend. It is draining to try to explain to someone systematic and institutionalized predjudice if they don't believe it. It is, I think, almost impossible to convince a white male who doesn't want to listen that women are sexually harassed or denegrated when he's a skeptic. Or it was for me. The guy wanted me to prove that sexism was a widespread problem in the atheist community, but then when I pulled up personal blogs from women atheists describing their experiences he denegrated them because they were never 'properly investigated'. When I linked him reports from atheist conferences where there were widespread reports of abuse, he called them hearsay. When I asked him to refer back to the original article I'd posted about Male Atheists and White Knight Sexism he tried to tell me that the tweets in question were just one bad apple and that it did not indicate a widespread trend of anything.

I finally gave up, after calling him sexist. Because he was - at one point he compared unreported sexual harrassment to reports of aliens -- both were equally doubtful in his mind.

I think part of the reason I don't usually engage on topics like this out there on the interwebs (though I read a whole lot of other people engaging on it, women and men alike) is because hitting a wall of doubt like that, when I know so many women who have been made to feel inferior, or disregarded, or put down, or ignore, not just in atheist spaces (but including them) is emotionally exhausting.

So today I was exhausted. Watched bad TV. Watched the rest of the season of Orange is the New Black (which OMG crap holy crap!!). Read Adorable Teen Wolf Derek/Stiles Thanksgiving fic, and completely CREEPY BUT TOTALLY AWESOME Hannibal fic, and only got about a chapters worth of Korean History down.

School starts tomorrow and I will return to my policy of not engaging with people whose minds are impossible to change. (or perhaps I will encounter them in class, but then I'll be their TA, and Korea is WAAAY more fun to talk about than sexism. Sorry, but true.)

Monday can't actually come fast enough.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
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