Saturday's Kate went to the library to discover books. I love libraries, even our awful stinky library with it's 50's architecture and windowless concrete walls. Actually it was quite informative. I don't really have a "process" for research papers - I tend to throw a net out there and see what I get. Look up one book in the catalog, and then go to the shelf and open all the other ones there to see what I can find. There's just something about holding books in your hand that helps - looking through the pages, at the indexes, seeing what's been thumbed through and where the holes are on the bookshelves.
I found this fabulous book that I couldn't use (because it wasn't about my New New Religion Kofuku no Kagaku). It was all about orientalist perspectives in postmodern, postcolonial theory. Yum. Someday I will find a way to use it, so I pulled it off the shelf and went home with it (along with my other 10).
To plant a 13 foot tree, you must dig the hole at least two times the size of the root ball. Don't forget to have a pick handy, in case you need to crack into the limestone crust that covers your backyard. Our backyard. Remember, you'll find muscles that you never knew you had digging a hole two-foot deep and 5 & 1/2-foot wide and shoveling and cracking stone. Don't forget that if you hit the cable access line, you have to move your hole at least a foot away from it.
At last, though, we ended up with a hole big enough for the silver maple we bought, and it waited, ready for the drop off on Monday. We worked in the dark with the porch lights on to get it into the ground
god, i've got to start posting every day - there's too much happening but i'm too lazy to write it all in here. This journaling thing is fun, but I forget that sitting down and doing the daily actually helps, and doing a week long data dump will really only hit the silliest highlights...
and how in the heck to I adequately express the little thrill of pride I get when I look at our new tree? it's so cute within it's little circle of bark, and it's the first thing we've truly planted in the backyard. I had so many plans for a garden when we first moved in, but haven't had the time or the inclination to do them. it's just so lovely that not only do we have a growing thing (besides the grass and weeds and vines), but that we did it together. I wonder if part of the reason why I haven't planted is that we have such different ideas about the backyard, and because I don't want to have to do it alone?
It seems lame to write about it now, but I was tickled with fangirlie squee on monday after receiving an email from that cool professor I met, asking if I'd like to read a chapter of her up coming book. Me? Read her book? Apparently I either come off as that cool or she's desperate for readers. Perhaps a little of both. But she sent it, I've got it, and I'm going to read, and comment, to a colleague's work, just like a big girl! *grin*
Gods, there's more, there's tons more. Like the letter I got from the tuition department telling me that I get a partial tuition rebate for my good grades! I've never heard of anything like that (but I've never been an out of state student before either). It's a weird concept, but I'm not going to complain that they'll actually be giving me money back!
Also, I don't even know if I have the words to describe how molasses slow my research was going. That library trip on Saturday was plenty productive, but the anthropologists who write about religion are deadly dull. And the religion itself reads ... well... it reads kind of like a self-help book and a scientology text all rolled into one.
FINALLY, though, there was a ray of hope - I picked up my Sam Delany (Silent Interviews) and got stunned, again, by how brilliant and funny and smart and readable he is. And how I'd dearly like to write like that. And how perfectly his theories expressed what I was trying to say.
Then there was the car-epiphany - on the drive to work I figured out what the heck two of my papers were trying to prove! For the hearty traveler who's made it this far into this entry (yes you, you rock):
Paper one: Kofuku no Kagaku, the Japanese religion also called the Institute for Research in Human Happiness is making anime sci-fi movies that reflect their doctrine. Why? Because science fiction is a place where every utterance is one of overdetermination - in other words, concepts are at once easily identifiable and yet totally foreign (i mean, we don't literally have space ships, do we?), and it is precisely this medium that's attractive for them - because their intent with these things is to spread the belief - to make more people believe. And this combination of the recognizable and the completely foreign is more than subversive, it's a means to an end. It legitimizes the beliefs of the religion and makes it so people won't call it into question. And they can, too, since the movie was actually popular in Japan. Damn popular.
Paper two: Tracing modernism on the body in Japanese cyberpunk - from a fear to a kind of savior complex, from Tetsuo Iron man to Ghost in the Shell. In Tetsuo, main character's body is infected with metal, until he turns into a monster that ravages Tokyo. In Ghost in the Shell, the cop/robot is the savior, but eventually has to give up her "life" - the body isn't frightening anymore because it's contained in death.
Or something like that. I"ll get to 'em more when I'm not half asleep.
and I skittered and slid through the rest of the week having weird nasty dreams and decent Japanese quizzes, doing my homework and turning in my prospectus and smiling at my love -- who's taking a motorcycle safety course this weekend -- taking my vitamins and working on the website and generally making it, one day at a time.