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my monkied brain
21 June 2017 @ 07:59 pm
As far back as I can remember, I've believed somewhere in the back of my head, at a gut level of knowing-ness, that the stories in books go on without me. If I put a book down in the middle, it means the story might go somewhere else that I can't see and won't know. I know this isn't a logical attitude, but it's what my brain thinks.

This has led me to sneaking books under the covers, into classrooms in middle-school, and under my desk at high school. Lead to me sitting up all night when I had to be at work at 8 am the next morning just to *find out.* Hilariously I used to get reprimanded for reading too much. Even as an adult. Of course I was often reading the wrong thing since it was mostly sci fi or fantasy books with lurid covers and crazy stories. But even with other types of literature I've always had trouble putting the damn book down.

Which is why I have trouble with WIPs, I think. I mean, I think in some fashion everyone wishes the story were complete, but I think there are a lot of people who really enjoy the getting there and don't mind if there isn't an end in sight.

Me, it's not the end I mind. I LOVE the getting there. It's that a WIP is like a book I'm being *made* to put down. And not being allowed to pick it back up (because there's nothing *to* pick up).

There are only a couple of writers I'll read WIPs from, and it's only because either I love them so much that I don't care, or that the world is so big it's ok, I wouldn't be able to take it all in anyway. For example:

[personal profile] seperis has been writing the epic, world-eating SPN AU fic Down to Agincourt (Dean/Castiel, eventually NC17, currently at 1,077,012 words and STILL unfinished) and I love that. An enormous take on one of the AUs that the show itself spawned, she asks what would have happened if Dean had gotten stuck at the end of the world? It's so fucking dense, textured, ridiculously complex, and yet I *want to know* what happens. But it's also so sprawling that it's ok that Dean and Cas are sitting around at the end of the world waiting to figure out how in the hell they're going to get screwed over AND screw Lucifer's endgame all at the same time. I mean she brought in Goddesses on this stuff. There's whole subplots that make me want to do research as a reader. I have hope that eventually it'll play out, and I'm fine with them living in the back of my head. Though I still tend to try and read not chapter-by-chapter when she publishes, but entire story-by-story so at least an arc is complete.

the ONLY fic that I've ever been pretty into as a WIP isn't so much a WIP as there are short, self-contained fics that are added to a collection periodically that expand the universe just a little bit more.

[archiveofourown.org profile] feather (or [archiveofourown.org profile] lalaietha) wrote this pretty long MCU Steve/Bucky recovery fic your blue eyed boys (Steve/Bucky, M, 123,233 words), which is amazing and lovely. It's all about Steve really trying to figure out what *will* help a Bucky who shows up on his doorstep but is relearning how to ask for things, want things, remember things, consider himself human. But then.

Then she started writing shorts in the 'verse.

(even if i could) make a deal with god (Steve/Bucky, Natasha/Clint, Bruce/Betsy, Pepper/Tony,) that has at last count 121 short fics in it. And short sometimes is 1,000 words, but sometimes is like 20,000. Word count on these "shorts" totals 478,092. Also though it's got some of the most amazing OCs ever, like, ever. When she puts a new segment out in this 'verse it's nonlinear, she jumps around, even though the timeline is incredibly well thought out and everything does fit together if you went and decided to read it right now. It also works though because Bucky's recovery is non-linear, and the form fits the emotional tone of his and Steve's life. Some of the fics make me cry. Some make me sigh. Some make me cheer. There's a young girl Mercedes who you will want to make friends with. Actually the best part of this series is that it's populated with incredible women - a vet named Chloe, her girlfriend Paula, even Betsy Ross is clearly Feather's Betsy Ross. Oh and there's a whole other sub-collection for the Natasha-focused stories [to see you there] (mostly Natasha but also Natasha/Clint, and it's another 133,179 words!)

But these two are pretty much it.

Until last night. When I made the mistake of following links from [archiveofourown.org profile] BetteNoire's Lucky Seven (Steve/Bucky power-AU, very NC17, 94,264 words) where Bucky is ex-russian mafia and fixes/races bikes and Steve is a very tired superhero to this:

([archiveofourown.org profile] silentwalrus, Steve/Bucky, PG13 for violence at this point, 109,211 words)

Steve gets out of the hospital in two days, but just barely. “I’m fine,” he tells Sam, Nurse Eunjung and the phalanx of doctors assigned to make sure Captain America didn’t bleed out and die and get bad PR all over their nice clean hospital. “I have an advanced healing factor. It’s fine. See? I’m standing.”

“That is not standing,” Sam tells him.

“You’re bending the IV stand,” Nurse Eunjung adds pointedly. “Let go and sit down, they don’t grow on trees.”

aka Steve and Bucky's Global Honeymoon Revenge World Tour.

But it's only 12 of 16 chapters done!!

And I didn't realize that until 1:30 am last night, as I'm rounding the corner on their adventures and the boys are getting a little bit lighter and less covered in grim and grime, and there are some truly funny and amazing bits in this and it has all my favorite loves for these two -- Steve getting to have faith in his Bucky, Bucky getting to be a badass but also getting to be fucking wounded and figuring his own way out, Natasha being the one who actually calls everybody for being ridiculous, even herself, and I just....

I don't want it to END per se, but somewhere they're still out there in the back of my brain moving forward in ways that my rational brain knows the fic hasn't moved forward yet. But the irrational gut feeling of me knows that I'm standing still not reading and is worried they'll be going places I can't catch up to.

Thank god for subscriptions.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
21 December 2015 @ 04:22 pm
My maternal Grandfather passed away last week Sunday after celebrating his 98th birthday in April. His passing wasn't entirely a surprise, because he'd been having circulation trouble (specifically in his legs and feet) for two years or so, cut for medical stuffCollapse ), so when he elected to move to the full-care hospice on the Friday after Thanksgiving (or the Wednesday before? something like that), we kind of guessed. He passed away in his sleep, pretty peacefully as far as we know.

I didn't know him very well.Collapse )

want to see a slideshow about his life? click me

The Horseman
(a poem by my Grandfather Lee F. Page)

The big percherons go with patient treadCollapse )

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
06 December 2015 @ 09:57 pm
People have horrible taste.

I know because I read the fanfiction they recommend. And it's true that my tolerance for shitty fanfic has lessened the more fanfiction I've read (there's a great Japanese grammatical expression for this as a verb ... yomerebayomeruhōdo or roughly if you read, you read too much though it can be used in a positive sense). But I just had to nope nope nope out of a fanfic that used given names every single sentence the two men uttered to each other. So sad. It's my own fault for reading a hooker-au I suppose.

I was weirdly depressed yesterday. Not that I mean there's no trigger or that it's weird to be depressed, but more that the depression itself felt different than other depressions I've felt in the past - almost as if I was on the edge of crying even though I was having quite regular conversations and laughing with my friends who came over the other night. I was both at a remove and totally present... performing laughter and interest and engagement at the same time that I was ready to close my eyes and hang my head. I know this is actually a pretty common sign of depression, but it's the first time I've felt it quite like that, a sort of visceral tingling around the edges of my eyes and a heaviness to my limbs. The brain is a curious thing, isn't it? If it doesn't recede (emotions, like tides, arrive in a wave in my brain and body, sometimes rushing up and sometimes sneaking in until the entire shore is engulfed) soon I'll go talk with someone and get some help managing it. For right now I'm chalking it up to holidays and seasonal changes, with a added parental visit and phd/job market pressure thrown in.

It may also be that my current closest female friends in LA are all pretty big emoters themselves right now - one is pretty much in constant job-related turmoil (job-related but world ending, everything is crucial and precariously balanced on a knife blade), one is learning to manage her anxiety but still having pretty extreme anxiety ... loops (they're not sudden so i hesitate to call them attacks), and one who just got back into town and who likes to fall head first into two-week great love affairs with men, or jobs, or plans to return to school, or friendships. The thing is they're all brilliant, caring, and kind of awesome, but it feels a bit like juggling with explosives sometimes. And that's even when I do a lot of self-care.

Hey, such is life. Like tides.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
One of my good friends had approximately a four-hour anxiety ... it's not quite correct to say attack, maybe bout? a spike? an episode? regardless, it was four hours of it that we spent together. She was having an extremely difficult day and came over as one of her management strategies (sometimes being alone makes for even more difficult spikes). I tried as best I could to help - we took a walk, I made tea, I encouraged her to eat a granola bar, since she hadn't been able to eat yet today. And we talked, and talked, and talked, and talked. She'd had a fight with her boyfriend and was pretty concerned that he was going to break up with her.

It was an all around rough time. The tough part about her anxiety is that she loops through a series of thoughts always spinning into the worst case scenario - a boring dinner with a friend becomes that friend hating being at the dinner table, and silently judging every word of the conversation. a fight becomes the ending of the relationship. a causal comment becomes a flat out rejection or veiled criticism that someone must *always* be thinking *all the time*.

So I found this website that, while I wouldn't sent it to her (she can google just fine on her own), helped me have some more possible strategies for helping her manage the distress. I don't know if it's a terrible website - maybe someone who knows about the therapeutic side of this can look at it and tell me?

But it's certainly helped *me* be more focused in how I react to her anxiety - made me feel less at sea. I am not a trained therapist, I'm her friend. And oh gods my first thing that I ask her is if she will consider talking with her therapist about this stuff, and encouraging her to do so. And if nothing else came out of this day, one of the best things that did is she set up more frequent sessions when she got ahold of her therapist (apparently they don't do phone stuff on the weekend, but regardless). So yay. But sometimes I feel like I don't know how to be a good friend, and that I inflict damage just talking things through with her because the way i approach things is different. Some of this stuff did slightly better than suggesting she breathe with me (which has been my go to in the past, with ineffective results).

The site also reassured me about the stuff my Mom does to manage her manic episodes when she's on an upswing. It reminded me that my Mom has been going to therapy for longer than some people have been alive, and she's been managing the effects of her nonstandard brain chemistry for a long long time. There's no perfect in bipolar, but there's strategies too. And she works her way through a lot of them.

She's visiting for the holidays, you see. So she was here today too (and sympathetic to my friend, though also mostly just letting us do our thing while she made cranberry sauce for the friendsgiving we went to as well).

So, four hours of trying to help a friend manage distress intolerance, two and a half hours of friendsgiving, and I was done. We've spent the rest of the night in two armchairs reading (and I've been talking to elizabuffy!), and that was about all I can manage.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
10 November 2015 @ 06:25 pm
I don't know if any of you are into alternative modes of transportation that have arisen in the last couple of years, but if you live in LA like me, they pretty much have transformed the landscape. It used to be if I wanted to use a cabCollapse )

So yay for Uber and Lyft!Collapse )

So yay for Uber and Lyft!?Collapse )

I wrote all that so I could get to this.

Here's a horror story of someone who, because she refuses to accept technology, got completely shafted. Here's a horror story that I don't quite know the moral lesson to.

My ex-housemate from Japan (remember her? I'll try to tag this post appropriately if you don't) is someone who eschews mobile technologies. She's very frugal so I think she doesn't have a smart phone so that she can save money. She also pretty much refuses to text people. It's been a source of irritation for others of our friends just because that is an easy way to communicate that's pretty ubiquitous. I haven't talked to her about it, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a texting plan.

So she went to a conference on the east coast a couple of weeks ago, and she had to get a ride back to the airport. Apparently the public transit system was on the fritz due to a storm. The taxi line was really long. An Uber guy pulled up alongside the taxi stand and she decided to take it.

However, because she doesn't have the app on her phone, she gave her credit card to the driver, who said he could input her card into his phone - it would charge her for the amount they drove.

What was supposed to be a $50 charge (long drive to the airport) turned into a $300 charge.

That's right - $300.

And because she gave her card to the driver, she didn't even get a receipt for the transaction (all of these apps email you receipts in-app). Her bank won't let her fight it, because she can't show a receipt. She's probably going to be out $300 because she didn't use the service in the way it was intended. And because she took a risk going with a driver who then bilked her out of money (oh, and the charge to her card is UberBlack - their limo service... so she may have gotten ripped off because that WAS the charge for the service, not the $50 the driver told her).

Crazypants huh? I think so too.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
Like seriously, went bowling Friday night to celebrate a friend's birthday and got the lowest score, and our high scorers were in the ~100 points range. I don't think I broke 50? For *any* of the games we played. I do know the logic of bowling, but my fingers are too thick to fit into the holes properly. [insert a holes/fingering joke here now if you're so inclined... it seems appropriate] So I ended up mostly dropping the ball instead of actually throwing it. I spent most of one game throwing granny style with both hands just so my wrist didn't get entirely thrown out of whack. Still fun though - giggling and mugging for each other, celebrating every single pin being knocked down, and marveling at the computer graphics (we can now pick exciting under the sea theme games so there are cute little fish animations adding up our scores).

Spent last night with a friend who is trying to process her mom's cancer diagnosis - she just spent two weeks with her family while her mom had emergency surgery for a cyst, and it was the worst news on the biopsy - it's metastasized. Twenty years ago I think cancer terminology entered into the common vocabulary, but it's weird to think that fifty years ago there wouldn't be these words that have meaning for us now: cyst, benign, biopsy, lymph notes, metastasized, chemo, and the rest. Of course she's trying to process and it's all uneven, because like so many of us with family her relationship with her parents is conflicted, and with her larger family it's confusing, and with her sibling it's difficult. And part of the reason why we're such good friends is that we both have a savior complex a mile wide and a couple of miles deep. There's something about being there that we're both so sure makes all the difference (and it sometimes can, because it's family, and we understand family in almost instinctual ways -- but that sometimes isn't the most healthy move, for the family or for us). Anyway, we sat and talked and pet the puppy, and went for a long dinner where we caught up. It was really good. Maybe not as much processing as she could use or need, but maybe it was enough to give her a space to be away, and to smile for an hour, and to just breathe.

Oh, and to rehang the party lights. I wanted them moved so they'd actually hang over my little cafe table outside and it only took me (and friend, since I needed one person to hang and one person to hold the strings) almost a month to do it!

But the thing that's making me really smile the most right now is that I bought myself an adult chair! If I've done this right you should be able to click it and see the beautiful picture from the website. I love it. I keep petting it. I can't stop sitting in it, either, which I know - that's the point, right? But also makes me realize how much I sit in one place in my living room.

What about you guys? Do you have a living room and you move around from couch to chair? Or are you like me and you have one chair (ok, I now have three chairs, but one is broken down, the other is the housemate's chair, and the third is my new chair) and you pretty much stay in that chair all the time? Searching my memory, my stepmom has "her" space on the couch that she's had for years...and my mom certainly has had her favorites that she stuck to. So at least I come by it via the parents, even if no one else has their "spot" in their living room.

eta: dear gods I originally started this post thinking I was going to wax nostalgic over files I found on my backup drive, meander through my job prospects and what my writing plans are for the week, and blather about being afraid of moving... the best laid plans, eh?

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
30 October 2015 @ 05:41 pm
Dear Cousin,

I'm defriending you on facebook. Not because I think you're a bad person - I think you have good intentions and those come from someone with a good heart. Not because you comment on my posts with different opinions - I actually like talking to people with opinions different than mine, especially when they are well read, and you seem to do a lot of reading.

But every time you comment on something I post you're aggressive and you level personal attacks at me. You told me I had no right to my opinions because I wasn't a mother. You told me it was no wonder your mom stopped talking to mine because I was just terrible as she was. Today you are telling me I'm being argumentative and I think you're also accusing me of being fat when I was trying to tell you "hey, you have your opinion and I have mine, and this is why I have mine."

I friended you because I'm not close to you and you're my cousin. And I remembered you from when we were kids. I wanted to get to know you. But when you comment so aggressively to my posts, when you tell me I can't have an opinion different than yours, when you call me ignorant, or terrible, when you attack me? It makes me feel bad, and sick, and angry. Maybe that's what you mean to do. If so, that's pretty toxic, because you don't know me either.

It seems like you're pretty happy with your life. I'm glad. I'm pretty happy with my life too. And one of the ways I try to draw boundaries in my life is to stop accepting abuse in the name of family or friends. I hope you have a good life. If I see you at a family thing I'll be happy to have a conversation with you - again I wish you well and happy. But I don't actually need to be attacked online.

Be well,

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
I'm in a nostalgic mood because I'm rewatching Buffy (Season 4 rocks!4eva!) in my free time, just introduced one of my friends to the first episode of Firefly last night, am sorta joining in on the Veronica Mars rewatch my housemate is doing when she has it on and I come home, and basically... it's like TV in the past. Oh and my friend "IL" has me watching Empire's first season because she loves Cookie so. Can't argue with that - the role is so much better for Taraji Henson than her character on Person of Interest. Not that it's perfect - Empire is very much a show about drama. High drama is ridiculous all the time. No one's life is like that. And people have a bad habit of breaking into song (though it's not as bad as Smash). But at least Cookie has some range - is good, bad, beautiful, strong, both generous and selfish in turns. Henson is absolutely fascinating to watch no matter what she's doing.

But since I'm watching "Primeval" I'm feeling all blog-centric. Well that and I had a great conversation with my mom last night about what we put in journals and why we love them so. Even though this isn't a written journal it is a record of pieces of my life, and even though sometimes it's fragments, it's still a record of some kind. Just like every journal is fragmented. I can't tell you how many times I've sat on an airplane writing the first page of my journal for my trip to somewhere ... Japan, Boston, Minnesota. Traveling brings back the introspection in my family apparently.

And Buffy watching.

So, in navel gazing, I had a major birthday. It passed with fanfare of the best kind - planned and executed well, if I do say so myself. There were a hideous number of festive tissue paper pom-poms and garlands made of playing cards, and while there weren't fountains of punch there were several pitchers of sangria that went over incredibly well. Oh, and cupcakes! All of my thinking and obsessing and preparation and anticipation actually worked out incredibly well!

here's a beautiful picspam of just a couple of images...yes i am infected by instagram aestheticsCollapse )

Work has been relatively good this week, which is nice - I'm trying to finish a rough draft of my entire dissertation by the end of November, so we'll see how that goes. It's going to be a close thing. But every time I sit down and read another magazine I feel closer to my source material, and even though I haven't read everything, I've read so many new things that expand my understanding of the conversation happening within the pages of the magazine. And it was a conversation, even if it's hard to hear how people speak back to a printed article. It's pretty awesome.

I went to my second academic SF conference the weekend after my birthday - both fun and a little weird. Lots of cool info about scifi that doesn't always get into the conversation. Did you know that there was a pretty big Mexican Cyberpunk movement in the 1990s? And that First Nations peoples are considering alternative ways of knowing as both SF but also just S (ie: science). One of my professors presented on some of her preliminary work on Korean SF, and a friend presented on this amazing graphic novel where the two women main characters are a spaceship captain and the engineer and they both make love to each other and their ship!

Unfortunately there was also just a little social weirdness. Some of the male grad students I struck up a conversation with were dudebros, and some of the spanish speakers just straight up didn't talk in English in order to exclude the non-spanish speakers from the conversation, but such is life.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
10 jobs to apply for, 8 post doc applications due, chapter rewrites required, book reports, an article submission deadline, the world feels like one of those swirling vortexes with a black hole at the center that eats all light (that is, of course, October 1, my first due date). Then, if I'm lucky, I get sucked through the whole and come out the wormhole on the other side.

Of course there's also half a dozen meetings between now and then on campus until 9 pm that I'm due to go to, so the educationally social is coming along hand in hand with the academic. Then there's things like friends. Why am I not a hermit?

Kidding. Mostly. I like people. I like my friends. I like them so much I actually am throwing a party for my birthday that will wine and dine them. And things keep arriving from amazon to help with the party. It's pretty cool.

but wow, i kind of am loving and fearing the next two weeks. It's like how I imagine stepping through a stargate feels - anticipation mixed with fear until you arrive safely on the other side.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
05 September 2015 @ 02:45 pm
In a little more than a month I'll be turning 40. Most of my friends are in their late 20s, so it's a weird place to stand socially. I'm considering throwing myself a fantastic 40 party with a kind of boozy alice-in-wonderland type theme, but we'll see if I change my mind 50 times between now and then or not.

I've been seeing two fannish turnings that I'm fascinated by:

1) some interesting meta by someone in the Hockey RPF about one of the Hockey players who is probably a rapist and why she's going to continue writing it. eta: author has apparently removed post entirely, which is a bummer. It was her discussing how she got into reading and writing RPF through LOTR and Merlin, where the actors' characterizations in fic were largely constituted through the characters they played. She then argued that because of this, she was writing/reading a fictionalized character of a real hockey player, and didn't have to take into account in her writing the *real* person's current actions. He was being accused of raping a woman.

This was my response:
yes i actually used up the character limitCollapse ) We have this idea that there is some perfect world where all these stories have absolutely no meaning and are just fun (thus having no effect), but in the same breath (or in your same post) we conceive of the fanfiction process as transformative and liberatory - it actually MUST have an effect in order to be transformative and liberatory.

Acknowledging that damage is possible is the only way to continue forward, I think.

Also, could you please add something about this being a discussion because of rape allegations in your tags (or notes)? It seems like a gaping absence.

2) fannish history is a continual act of forgetting, it seems, instead of a continual act of remembering. This post by [personal profile] bluemeridian is something that I've heard about multiple times over the years, and interestingly seems to happen with every generation. I was (am?) part of the LJ generation of fandom (I started on yahoo groups and sent out my first fic through them, but still did most of my fannish stuff on LJ as a platform). But I've become aware of a much larger fannish history the longer I've been in fandom and the longer I've read academic things by people who do fandom studies. Henry Jenkins writes about Beauty and the Beast fan practices Textual Poachers, and that there even *was* a fandom around this media property is largely forgotten in the oral history of fan culture I was introduced to in the early years.

I don't think it's indicative of a particular aspect of fan culture, though there is something to the way that new technologies and online platforms, because of increasing monetization of participation, would like us to forget what forms came before. Tumblr is invested in keeping people *only* on tumblr (only and *all the time*) because it lets them make claims about unique users and advertising, and the sense of newness and exclusivity creates a user over-identification that they really want. After all, yahoo groups users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! NO, wait, I mean LJ users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! NO, wait, I mean facebook and twitter users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! No, wait, I mean tumblr users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! /sarcasm

I think it's actually indicative of human culture. As much as we try to spend time reminding ourselves about history, collectively we spend just as much time rewriting or ignoring history.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
Tags: ,
my monkied brain
15 June 2015 @ 10:25 am
My mom is visiting for a week down here in sunny la-la-land, and so far we've managed to totally goof around without real plans - though we did go see Spy on Saturday and gave my landlady's front yard a facelift Sunday (it needed it). I'm trying to make it so we're more lazy than not just so when she goes back home she feels rested. Like tonight we're going to a comedy show, but since the meditation center we wanted to go to is closed on Monday, we're hanging out at home.

My landlady is finally showing her house to renters (anyone want a 2 br 1&1/2 ba in Los Feliz?), hence us helping clean up the front yard. (I live in the guest house in the back and while it looks like a converted garage it's really a two-bedroom open plan apartment that they laid foundation for and everything.) However, the people who have renovated the house have pretty much done so at the expense of the front yard, and the flower bed running around the perimeter was filled with old pots and slightly used supplies (grout bags anyone?) and some of the grass had been painted when the painter set up to repaint the house. All in all it looked pretty terrible. We moved border stones and for about $50 bought some pansies and a couple of bags of bark, rearranged the half-dead (but still alive) potted plants that were already there and made it so things have a shape and it feels like someone likes living there. It was really cool. I love gardening with my mom, and it was great to do it in my neighborhood too.

And in fannish things it was my day at Summer of Giles and I committed fic, which is really fucking weird, because I haven't in years. At least I did the art to go with it, so there's are there and stuff, and that feels normal.

Think it's gonna rain? (Giles/Faith, PG for language) Instead of using the device on Buffy when she wakes up, what if the Mayor intended Faith to use it on Giles?

Pari Passau (with Equal Step) (Giles/Buffy, PG) Before the Cruciamentum there was the bond between Watcher and Slayer.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
06 June 2015 @ 11:14 pm
Through a weird confluence of events I've had some sort of thing to do with friends every day for the last several weeks. Karoke (twice), dinner to catch up and eat healthy, picnic for birthdays, dinner for complaining about the department, dinner for dinner's sake, moving party, Mad Max: Fury Road (and dinner before hand), dinner for celebrating dissertation defenses (twice), dinner to invite my old housemate back, lunch for complaining about the department, skype calls to organize panels, and last, but not least, a dog appointment and then drinks.

I haven't been this busy since I stopped taking classes.

It's actually been really good for my productivity - piling things on (along with trying to do stuff for SOG) has made me take more time for reading. Also? One of my friends actually (sorta) yelled at me to go study when he saw me on facebook, and that was exactly what I needed. Apparently guilt and yelling is good.

I'm also trying something new with water drinking and dog walking this week, since I need/want to do more almost constantly. I'm trying to get ~10,000 steps a day since I discovered that my phone will track how many steps I take while I'm carrying it. I've made it up to ~8,000, though it's tough just finding new places to walk, and that was a big increase since most days I'm at ~5,000. And I'm making cucumber-lime water to try and drink at least a pitcher of water a day (though I think I should be drinking ~two pitchers) because if I do that my entire face clears up. Adult acne is no joke, yo.

This, of course, comes after the totally unhealthy celebratory pizza i ordered friday night because i dropped my housemate off at the airport for a 12 day trip to italy and i generally only eat terrible take out when she's not here.

But baby steps, right?

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
I kept telling people that I was heading to Kansas for my Grandfather's 97th birthday, and they'd get this precious look on their faces like, "awww, family, yay!" Each time I'd have to pause and correct them. Not all family birthdays are joyful occasions. the long and the short of it isCollapse )

See the image of my Grandfather shaking noisemakers as proof.

Since then I've felt like I was in recovery from the slew of events and visits and trips and airplane flights. I've had low-grade depression making certain types of motivation, including writing motivation, very difficult. I think part of it has been that I haven't had weekly place to be/things to do (either social or school-related) and have been largely lonely. I've mostly puttered around the house and watched a lot of TV.

And cleaned every day or every other day trying to get rid of a flea problem - apparently the fleas in my area over the last several years have developed immunity to the normal flea prevention drugs that I have the dog on. According to the vet, they've developed immunity to Frontline and Revolution both. And I had to have the "are you cleaning enough?" conversation with three vet techs, a vet, and two different pet supply store workers/owners. It reached ridiculous levels after the second conversation. Because apparently what you're supposed to do to get rid of fleas is clean ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME: your dog. And any loose cloths that can be washed should be. And vacuum your couches (under cushions and everything). And mop your floors. And clean your drapes. And baseboards. And do it every day so that the eggs that can stay live up to two months will be picked up as they hatch. And spray with anti-flea spray. And spray your dog with organic anti-flea spray. So I've tried to do that, mostly. Washed every scrap of cloth that could be taken down at the laundromat. Cleaned every day, when usually I only do that once a week. It only takes a couple of hours, but it's ridiculously tiring to do it every day.

It's made it hard to motivate about a lot of things, one of which is Summer of Giles, which is celebrating it's 10th frigging year. And sadly right now needs sign ups like crazy.

These last couple of days I've been able to start the day with translating, which is so so good. And do other things.

But I have been walking the dog, despite her itchy problem. That's the best part of my day as of late - getting out into the sunlight and walking the dog. The tough part is that every day it's a little bit of a mental struggle to get myself together and do it, but every time I'm glad I do.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
17 May 2015 @ 10:52 pm
It's my last year as moderator, it's the 10th year it's been going, it's time again for Summer Of Giles! Yes, you read that right, it's summer again (or becoming summer in this hemisphere) and it's time to dust your favorite stories of Giles off, your favorite media of Giles out, your favorite music of Giles playing, and pick a day (or two).

{sign up here}

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

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

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

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


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??????


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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. :)

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

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

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

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
06 February 2014 @ 08:56 pm
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
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)

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

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
my monkied brain
Sherlock 3.02
huh?Collapse )

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

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

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