Rant Day: Tales of Urrrrrgh

Item 1:

Let’s talk about digital hoarding for a second. I’m sure you’re doing it. You, yes, you. Yes, you with the face. You’re a digital hoarder. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I mean. Are you trying to tell me you dont save millions of screenshots, pictures, recipes, conversations, thirty different versions of your résumé, and no longer relevant documents?

Oh, you really don’t? I’m so sorry!

And the worst of the offenders are of course us MMO playing wackos. Currently, I’m facing the mammoth task of… cleaning out my WoW characters’ banks. I could sing hymns of praise to our dark overlord Blizzard for finally installing a wardrobe so you don’t have to keep collecting outfits in like a semi-physical sense that clogs up all your bags. But I’m getting the same irrational separation anxiety I already suffer every year when I have to clean out my actual closet. But, but… what if I still need it?! What if it fits me after I lose some weight?! What if they get rid of this new feature?! What if the system crashes and I lose everything?! What if…

Yeah. I may or may not have a problem. Is it still First World Problems if it’s online? Do we call this First Cyber Problems? European Server Problems? Problems of a semi-millennial part-time digital native?

Item 2:

In other news, I’m fairly confident my thesis supervisor has fallen down a well somewhere. I haven’t heard anything from her since I sent her my theory part a month ago. She hasn’t had any office hours since mid-July. I feel like I’m at the beginning of an epic adventure film (parody) in which I will travel distant fantastical lands and battle demons and beasts and rare mobs in my quest to rescue my supervisor and thus can finally complete the main quest, my thesis!

Or maybe she’s just on vacation. But I like my version better.

Also, I still have at least 60 pages to go. I’m so fucking dead.

Item 3:

I just read today that Pokemon Go is losing players rapidly. I mean, I guess we should have seen this coming. It was new and innovative and new, and games don’t live long on the newness factor. After a while I guess people become bored or frustrated or don’t feel like bracing the sun and the rain and the group of jeering youths that mock you mercilessly because you’ve been trying to catch an ugly ass duck thing for five minutes now. Not that that happened to Boyfriend or anything, its just a random, oddly specific example.

The entire premise is discomforting anyway. I mean, look at it through the eyes of a peasant from the 14th century. You’d see a lot of invisible demons that might turn up everywhere, literally on your shoulder, and the only one who can control them is that weirdly clothed warlock with his magical handmirror. And maybe if you offend the warlock he’ll sic all the enslaved demons on you! Run!

Now there’s a movie idea. Forget Yankees in King Arthur’s court, fucking cart Arthur into the present! A present full of wizards! Witchcraft! The forces of evil have finally overtaken the land! And the good burghers think it’s a lark!

Item 4:

I made a mistake at work the other day and I feel like I should crawl under a rock and die a slow perfectionist death.

Item 5:

So anyway, y’all see the new Ghostbusters?

Actually, I don’t wanna hear it, I don’t care, that movie is awesome, my inner nine-year-old loved the everloving hell out of it and has also decided to marry Jillian Holtzmann when we grow up. I mean, mom would get used to her eventually and dad would be so proud because I’m sure he always wanted for me to marry an engineer!

And to anyone trying to come in here like, oh, but she’s not canon gay, I say she’s the gayest gay to ever gay! And it’s fucking obvious if you’ve been hit with the queer stick yourself! Chrissakes, she’s been hitting on Erin the moment she walked in the door! That was very obvious hitting-on! The only way to make it any more obvious was to hit her over the head with a phaser pack! While chanting “I want to get in your pants for sex purposes!”

Also, they shot that ghost in the boo-balls. Spooky nuts. Geisterklöten. I approve of that.

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I’m not doing anything in particular, you wanna hear about it?

Updates from my life.

I’ve been at my new job for a month now and I think I’m doing pretty okay. At least no one’s complained about me so far, so that’s good, right? Still a bit confused about some of the administration-esque stuff but that’s just a matter of time. I suppose I might be confusing my boss a little, she keeps asking if I like it there. I’m like yeah, I like it, please keep me. Is it so weird for someone to like working? My colleagues probably think it is. I mean, we have these phases during the day when there is literally nothing to do, like nothing’s coming in, and they just go on facebook and stuff while I’m bored. And they keep telling me to be happy that there’s not much to do. I think I’m still suffering from newbie motivation.

It’s just like with the weather, I’m overjoyed that it’s raining again while everyone around me is tolling the death bell for summer already. I can’t wait for summer to be over. If summer was equipped with an agreeable temperature I wouldn’t mind so much. But the 30C and over nonsense? Keep that. Who actually likes sweating?

I suppose if this job thing takes off and I can find something full-time later on it’s gonna be time to move, I’m apparently not made for extreme climates. Is there a place on this planet that’s constantly within the 20-25C zone? No? Damn.

It’s like I came to Earth with a “Keep at room temperature” sticker attached. I’m like a fucking potted plant with feelings.

In other news I handed in the theory chapter of my thesis and as luck would have it, exactly two minutes before submitting my work I stumbled across more literature. That could be useful. Which somehow didn’t show its sorry face before that exact moment.

Speaking of thesis, how often can you use ‘disregard’ and ‘thus’ in 20 pages without sounding like you don’t give a fuck anymore? There really aren’t that many synonyms, though.

And then there’s the whole business of signing up to half a dozen scientific networks just so you can get access to ONE paper that looks promising and then you don’t get it because the author can’t be arsed to give you access and meanwhile you get notifications that your profile has been viewed, like no, don’t, stop looking at me! I’m just here to quote your shit, get off!

This might be the last academic thing I’ll ever write and I’m not sure if that thought should scare me.

And other than that… I’m doing nothing. I’ve never felt so lazy in my life. Sports? Nah. Computer? Still a month until Legion. Friends? Eh, every couple of weeks is fine. Family? They went to Greece and I haven’t seen anyone in over a month. Boyfriend? Lost that one to Pokemon Go.

I still have the sneaking suspicion that Pokemon Go is a cunning plan to get our overweight generation of children moving again. It’s damn more effective than any school programs, that’s for sure. Remember how old people used to complain that kids these days don’t play outside any more? Fixed that for ya! Everyone is playing this stupid game! If this was a Doctor Who episode it would be a plot by disgruntled aliens to take over the world. It’d work, too.

So I’m meeting a friend for coffee and we have coffee and then she says, hey, wanna take a walk in the park, weather’s so nice, so I’m like, sure. One minute in she pulls out her phone to just “quickly check” if there are any of those pesky little things about. Another minute and she joins the walking braindead. Half the city’s in the park. Almost no one’s moving. Everyone is staring intently at their phone. And I know I’ve lost.

I’m meeting some other friends a week later at my place. Everybody on their phone catching things I didn’t even know were in my flat. Also, apparently I live near a Pokestop. Hot?

Meanwhile I’m over here like… you fuckers laughed at my WoW pet collection and now you’re wasting precious cell phone space on this? You suck!

I mean, it’s not even like there’s a feature that projects a hologram of those things so it looks like they’re running along with you. You know? That would be nice, just having a little computer generated animal following you all day. It’d be cute! But no. Just run around like an idiot and get hit by a car trying to catch some fucking flappy ass bat thing.

And now suddenly, my reclusive shut-in semi-hermit of a boyfriend has the urge to take walks. Hey, let’s take a walk in the park! Flashback to when I said things like that last year and it was like… nah, gotta finish this Hearthstone game. Nah, I wanna play Hero League. Nah, Diablo season. Nah, people I don’t know are livestreaming their Heroes of the Storm games, don’t wanna miss it. Nah, don’t feel like going out, sick of people, I have to see people all day, I wanna stay home!

But give him some virtual Japanese clone failures and he’s all systems go! Need to walk 10 km to hatch this egg!

What’s happening to the world? Is this some sort of anti-terror strategy? Get everyone hooked on Pokemon so the suicide bombers and religious nuts are too distracted to blow something up because they found a Pikachu? I mean, whatever it takes, I guess.

Or is it exactly the other way round because I swear I could transport a dead body through the city on public transport and absolutely no one would notice. Hell, I’d probably make it to the cemetery (wha? where do you hide your dead bodies?), start digging, hide the body, cover grave, get rid of evidence, and saunter out of the cemetery. If there’s any witnesses all I’d have to do is get out my phone and scream “Oh my god, is that a Mewtew?!” or “Pokestop by the entrance, way at the other end of the graveyard!”

And I had this great idea for a zombie movie. Picture this: the sun is setting as a lone Pokemon trainer wanders into the graveyard without even noticing his surroundings. He sees a rare Pokemon. He aims his phone! Doesn’t notice the scuffling of feet behind him! Shoots pokeball after pokeball and misses as a grey hand reaches for him…

A blood curdling scream.

And then a cut, and we see a blood spattered phone falling to the ground. The Pokemon is still uncaught. Screen fade to black, next scene.

Or just, the zombie apocalypse has happened, but it’s less an apocalypse and more a bit of an inconvenience as a band of brave Pokemon trainers arms themselves with shotguns because a bunch of lurching corpses is no excuse to not Catch Them All.

Look, I think it’s funny, okay?

And yes, I will always and forever make fun of all the new and cool things the world can throw at me. I’m a contrary bastard and proud of it.

Forget What They Told You in Kindergarten, Whining DOES Solve Things

Breaking news from the Grad School front.

Okay, I got this shit in the bag! I got my supervisor, I did get into this stupid course, now I just need to write my thesis and…

And the record screeches to a halt.

Now all I have to do is write an 80+ page academic work.

If you’re frozen with fear, raise your hand. Oh, wait, you can’t. Try blinking. Yes, you blinked. I blinked, too. Because I’m scared. Very scared. Zombie apocalypse ain’t got nothing on this. With zombies, you know where you’re at. They either wanna eat you or you don’t register on their radar because you are also a zombie.

But with academics… they need to like you and your work.

Fuckity fuck.

Okay, stay cool, Self, you got this far. And we did it all by whining in the right place at the right time. We just need to keep doing that.

No, seriously, a bit of whining and a half-breakdown in front of people solves a lot. I mean, you won’t get your dignity back, but otherwise, a lot. I was venting my frustration to a colleague at the department. You know, I was trying to get into this final seminar? And then I didn’t get a grad in time for registration? And someone told me her friend had just done the seminar from the other degree programme instead and it worked out fine? And then someone else told me the same? And so I was all hopeful? And then the office told me that’s not even possible? Because who woulda thunk, I either imagined all this, or those other students found a loophole that had been closed for renovations the minute I turned up. Because of fucking course.

So I expose my vulnerable self to my colleague, finally admitting that I’m not an android programmed in sarcasm but a real human being with like feelings ‘n shit who has had a bad frustrating month. Colleague is like, don’t worry. Five minutes later I’m talking to a professor who then talks to the lecturer and two weeks later I’m in. Magic!

No, seriously. Seems a lot like magic. Maybe the whining sent out energy waves all across the department and threw off everyone’s vibe and they all subconsciously decided to get rid of the source.

And now I just need to write a monster of a paper. And then present this in front of an audience of bored academics who don’t care about anything but their own subjects. I’m so screwed, aren’t I? Couldn’t be more screwed if I was a cabinet.

I’m trying to sign up for an additional writing workshop. Therefore, I need to whine about this on the internet so they’ll let me in. Trust me, this works. I hope.

In other news, I was researching trap remixes of Frank Sinatra and suddenly got an idea for a zombie novel so I guess I have an alternative career path if the whole thesis doesn’t work out.

Yeah, that would be a nice thing for them to cut on my tombstone.

And now, the weather.

The Revenge of Dr. Daffodil

I’ve been gone and busy for a week again. And boy, did I have myself a time. It was such a time, you guys! Very time-y. I mean, what’s better than sitting in a draughty room for days on end listening to people present their latest papers on topics that may or may not make sense and be worth researching?

I don’t want to hate on people who are far more successful in academia than I’ll ever be actually I do, but uh… some of them I just wonder how they got in? Or if they ran out of ideas somewhere in the last three years because their current research focus is slightly bonkers?

I mean, we had a very special case. Being a good student, I took notes throughout the talks, even though it wasn’t required, but hell, I wanted to remember who I’m going to library stalk. And then this one guy came in, who I’ve nicknamed Captain Daffodil, though in hindsight Dr. Daffodil would have been funnier. ‘Cause he’s got a Ph.D. and all. Captain Daffodil gave a talk about nature poetry and… somehow he was really into plants. Like, reeeaaally into plants. To the point he was talking about the rhythm of plants and made us watch a short clip of grass growing. Needless to say, I was slowly breaking down. With laughter. And the only way I could contain myself was to write my feelings down in my notebook.

So without further ado… here are the original notes [with additional info because this is a written medium and you’ll need context] I took during this particular talk:

  • tradition of plant narratives (Plato, Aristotle)

  • plant life and poetic form

  • Greek stories of people being turned into plants

  • word “verse” connected with cultivating of plants

  • lack of plant agency in nature poetry (I can’t believe I’m writing this down)

  • Seriously? We’re watching grass grow now? This is a thing that happens?
  • [prof is reading a poem by Alice Oswald about basically stumbling over a mustard field] fucking mustard, didn’t even notice this fucking bright yellow plague! Now suddenly I’m in a fucking field, how did that happen?

  • Alice, who the fuck is Alice? Yes, we know you want to bone Alice, shut up about Alice.

  • Is Alice secretly Poison Ivy?

  • Like is that her new secret identity after she escaped Arkham?

  • I mean, no one would expect that.

  • Postplantism!

  • Is that a thing now?

  • Is he secretly a World of Warcraft druid trying to spread the call of nature?

  • I’m not writing from the perspective of a laptop, dammit, stop writing from the perspective of a vegetable!

  • Someone get this man a cactus, stat!

  • Can’t wait for the questions. Can’t waaaait for the questions.

  • Or maybe he’s Poison Ivy’s minion.

  • [Someone in the room asks a question starting with “I’m actually glad my plants can’t talk”] Yeah, it’s good your plants can’t talk. Who knows what those plants have seen.

  • Does anything contribute to your argument?

  • Wait, what is your argument?

  • Did he and Alice Oswald have a threesome with a rhododendron?

  • Oh, my mistake, was mustard.

  • [Somewhere in the back a screw falls out of a chair.] The chairs are falling apart for nonsense!

  • Oh my god, I’m gonna throw you in a mustard field, when is this over?!

  • I wish I had a burka so no one could see me laughing.

  • Official nickname: Captain Daffodil.

  • Maybe he’s a sort of plant zombie.

  • This some Batman shit going down right here!

Thus ends the tragic talk of Dr. Daffodil and needless to say, the audience was astonished. Stunned. Very stunned. Words could not express how stunned we were. I now have to go and read Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich to get all the bad poetry out of my head.

Rant Day! Things That Mildly Annoyed Me, March 5-12!

Item 1: This agonizing wait to find out if I can have a place in my last class!

Item 2: Nudity. No, not nudity itself. I’m very pro-nudity, nudity for everyone. But then there are lecturers who show a film clip, pause it in the middle of a naked woman swimming and go, “I’m sorry, I tend to forget to warn audiences about nudity.” Oh no, not the boobs! Anything but the boobs! Especially in this room full of people who have boobs! Seriously, there’s like 30 people in here, 25 of which have boobs themselves, including you btw. The other five have a 98% of having been nursed by boobs, a 80% chance of being attracted to boobs, and a 50% chance of having seen actual boobs in their life. I think they gon’ be fine. Now shut up, Kate Winslet is showing me her tits and I’m in love.

(Also, the males wouldn’t dare complain. They’re outnumbered, 50 boobs to none, we have them surrounded!)

Item 3: Kinda wanna dress up more, kinda wanna buy Nike sneakers and not give a fuck.

Item 4: Kinda wanna do something silly and teenager-y, like steal a traffic light, but that’s immature, but that’s fun.

Item 5: Diablo III is addictive as hell, and it’s also hard on Torture V, and those demons are hitting me, and Kormac, goddammit, where the hell you at, you supposed to tank! Move your shiny templar ass in front!

Item 6: Mom, thanks for trying to make me feel normal about my non-existent wish to procreate, but actually I wasn’t feeling weird about it. Like, at all. Look, your sister doesn’t have kids. Dad’s aunt doesn’t have kids. I grew up in a family where having kids is just one option. I know I’m approaching the age where you gave birth, but I’m fine. I can always freeze my eggs and have a child at sixty, you know how long we fuckers live, it’ll be great.

Item 7: I can haz moneys plz?! How long does it take you to pay my invoice? Come one, chocolate bunny season is about to start, I need cash!

So Ru Paul said “You Better Work” and We May or May Not Have Different Definitions of the Word “Work”…

So I’ve been doing ten hour days which rendered me too tired to think.

For the past few days I’ve been doing an advice/consulting thing in the name of ye olde Alma Mater. Meaning I spent ten hours being squished into a booth with ten other people doling out advice about studying to the future of the nation, aka teenagers. I don’t like talking. We’ve established that. But the fact of the matter is, it’s unavoidable in daily life. And people seem to listen to me, because I can make myself sound like I have my shit together. The thing about introversion is you’re not completely unable to function in public. You just don’t like it. I don’t like it. But I think I’m doing a rather okay job.

And I might actually get paid! Is this what working life feels like?

Thing is, my work history is a bit frazzled. Any job I ever had I didn’t have for longer than a couple of months, mostly because I only ever had jobs in one of two categories: bored-out-of-your-skull or drained-of-all-life-force. No in between. And, uh… I actually don’t mind working odd-jobs? Is that weird? Like, I have no problem schlepping boxes for three days, get my money, and move on to sorting through someone’s paper work for a week. It’s no plan for the future, but basically, that’s my work history. The sort-of job I now have, I think it might just be the longest I’ve ever had.

I mean, that might be another consequence of being a socially awkward nutcase: I like the kind of jobs where there’s not chance of getting too close and personal with people.

Also, I may or may not be leading a workshop next month. And I’m on a committee to find ourselves a fresh new professor. I just feel like things are moving, you know?

But back to the advice giving stint. So I repeat the same things over and over again, and it gets really tiresome. I mean, there’s only so many ways to explain the prerequisites, or lack thereof, to people, you know? And then the age old question, the question as old as time, the first question: Doctor who? What do you do with a BA in English? Well, if you’re lucky, you’ll be stood in a booth at an education fair and rattle off the same spiel about your curriculum to eight dozen people a day. Well, I mean… hope you’ll get into some sort of internship, get some sort of job using all your parents’ connections, actually, yeah, looking back taking a language course and studying law or economics would have been the better choice, but…

And now I’m crying, thanks a lot.

No, seriously, if you want to make your life an adventure, choose English. Getting a job will be your adventure. You’ll do battle with uppity bosses, uptight old fossils, rigid administration, you’ll traverse the fields of “not quite enough experience”, climb the mountain of “‘But everyone speaks English already!’ they say as they proceed to write ‘definitely’ as ‘defiently'”, meet the league of evil wizards who will curse you thusly: “‘But you didn’t study translation! We’d rather have someone who studied translation’ as they hire someone who thinks idioms are to be translated literally”. And many, many more!

But I can’t say any of that. Because I’m at work. I have to make this shit look worthwhile. All while feeling like a meandering fool and maybe I should have done something like office administration, which admittedly I would have had to start at age 15 because this is an old-fashioned country…

And those kids make me feel so old. Like, I didn’t know what the hell to do with my life at age 18. I couldn’t even find a successful way to end it. And then there are these bright-eyed young things who look twelve and arrive with their parents, and they ask me to divine their future career. Sorry, kiddo, this is Languages and Literatures, the fortune teller lady is down the hall and to the right.

Dammit, why couldn’t I have been a fortune teller and scam people?

And then of course there were the special cases. The special kind of wack job variety who should burn in the special hell of specialness. Because… oh dear… they are oh so special.

Let me set the scene. Friday, late afternoon. We are already fidgeting in hopes of going home, it’s only an hour until freedom and food and sleep. No one has come up to the booth in at least fifteen minutes. We start to relax. I’m sat out front at the desk together with a colleague from the comparative literatures department.

This fifty-something woman comes up. We do the hello-how-can-we-help-smile-smile-thing. Oh, how can we help indeed. “Well, my son is thirteen and he writes, he’s a great writer, he has always loved to write…”

You know how in movies they do this sound like a tape whirring to a halt, or a needle being taken off a record suddenly? I can hear this in my head right now.

First I think I misheard her. She definitely said seventeen. Maybe sixteen.

Nope. It’s thirteen. The kid is thirteen and loves to write and don’t we have a study program for that?

Lady. This is an education fair for people who are about to finish high school. This is Languages and Literatures. Creative Writing is not part of the menu. And even if it was, your kid is way too young. They’re doing something like that at the art academy, but… your kid is thirteen.

We say something akin to that, albeit a lot friendlier. Lady has that special kind of stare that bores into your soul until it finds the answer it wants to hear. We can’t give her what she wants. Hell, I don’t even know what the hell she wants! For us to pull a writing degree program out of our collective arse? Think we’re hiding the good degree courses in the back of the store?

Thankfully, I am called away to help someone else. Colleague is stuck and I feel sorry for her.

Lady leaves rather disappointed-looking after about, oh, fifteen minutes of back and forth. I mean… your kid is thirteen. He’s currently graduating in Excessive Masturbation. Also, you think his writing is great. He probably thinks so, too. My parents thought my writing was great. Everyone thinks their writing is great at thirteen because we never get any critical opinions. It’s called encouragement and it should die a slow and painful death. Also also, what the hell does your son even write? Is it anything worthwhile, or just erotic Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction? And just because all the other thirteen year old perverts on fanfiction.net love to jack off to it, doesn’t mean your son’s the next J.K. Rowling.

After we recover from this nightmare, we receive a battalion of people over the weekend who are absolutely convinced that we only offer language courses. No. We don’t. Please don’t get pissed at us, we can direct you to the proper place!

Then there’s those fuckers whose kids are, again, so special the world just bends to their desires, or at least it should. Look here, Mistah and Missus Our-wealth-is-not-blatantly-compensating-for-our-lack-of-personality, there’s no need to look down your noses at us like that. Yeah, like that. You know what I mean. Yeah, that look. The look that says, “Well, if youre doing this, it can’t be that hard”. That fucking look. Well, excuse the hell out of me, guv’nor. I will point and laugh when your kid comes home crying because they failed the intro lectures.

And just like that, it’s Sunday. Last day! We gon’ get that money, money, money aaaaand we have to deal with Snotty McWasteourtime first. Snotty looks like Kylo Ren in blond. Snotty comes up, carrying a brochure for Physics, looks at the title of our booth with a look of pure patronizing judgement, and proceeds towards me: “So, what do you even do in a language degree program?” I rattle off my lines about how we study linguistics, literature, history, cultural studies…. Snotty looks at me like I’m speaking a rare dialect of Tibetan. “But do you study one language?” Depends on the degree, in English yes, it’s only English, but if you study Romance languages you choose one main language… Colleague from Romance languages department pipes up beside me: “For example, you could choose Spanish as your main language and French as your sec…” – “I had Spanish in school,” Snotty says in that tone that heralds to the world his disdain for us and everything we stand for, and also that he thinks we’re idiots to even answer his question. “Okay, great, would you like a brochure for our program?” – “No, I don’t want to study this.” And walks off. Thanks for wasting our time, I guess? Have fun finding a job with a physics degree, it’s not like you’re the next Einstein, you’ll be teaching fourteen-year-olds to build a battery for all eternity! …thus rang my silent curse.

And after all these trials and tribulations I am finally home in my pyjamas, in bed, with my laptop, where I belong, because fuuuuck the public. I’m never leaving this room again. Until tomorrow, anyway, because the next week of “you better wooooork” is about to begin.

Rant Day! Things Never Stopped Pissing Me Off, But I Forgot to Write Them Down!

Item 1: Welcome to grad school, where the rules are made up and deadlines don’t count. This whole MA thing might just take an entire year longer because they maybe won’t let me in the write-your-thesis seminar because I didn’t get a grade on one stupid other seminar in time. So fucking inflexible. But then I keep hearing stories that many girls just got in anyway, never mind that they were only halfway done with all their prerequisites. Look, I got everything done, I registered my topic, and I have a supervisor. Why can you never make an exception for me, huh?

Item 2: Had a very bad bout of depression about the state of women and the state of the world in general, and Boyfriend thinks I can’t read his thoughts. I know that he thinks its ridiculous, that’s why I don’t talk to him about it, even if he insists I talk to him about it. It’s not like he could solve the world for me. It’s not like he can even listen without an uncomfortable sigh or an interjection of “Well, men have it bad too, you know”. Yeah, well, that’s your own problem, isn’t it? Who’s creating problems for everyone?

Item 3: Boyfriend and my clothes. First it’s, “Are you wearing sweatpants?!” Yes. Yes, I am. We’re going to the grocery store, I’m not dressing up for that. It’s aisle 4 at the corner store, not the New York fashion week or some shit. Then later he said to me, “You could wear something like this sometimes” after seeing a woman presenter on TV in a dress. Okay, one: A guy who spent every day of the last thirty-odd years in jeans and t-shirts does not get to tell me how to dress. Two: Right, where? Am I going on TV? Am I getting paid? Do I get my own stylist? Are we going out? No, we never go out. So now I’m sitting here in my best red dress with all my jewellery on, and I’m playing Diablo III, and I’mma get my season char to level 70 before him. In style. Suck it, motherfucker.

Item 4: Overwatch is taking forever to get here, the alpha’s been out forever, come on, Blizz, I need something new to waste my life with!

Item 5: I’m so done with losing weight, I’m just going to pretend this is the fault of the Neanderthal DNA I no doubt carry in large quantities, they got a new study coming out in Bonn that Neanderthal DNA can influence your weight, maybe I should just send them a blood sample?

Item 6: I think I’m going to write a lengthy exposé about why school dress codes are fucking disgusting, because literally the only thing you’re teaching kids is that girls’ bodies are free to be policed by so-called ‘authorities’ at any and all points in their lives. So glad we don’t have this shit here, but who knows, stupidity is known to spread across the globe real fast.

Item 7: I’m not half as creative as I think I am, as evidenced by the fact that all porn parody titles I come up with already exist. Bet you didn’t know that “Whorrey Potter and the Sorcerer’s Balls” was a thing, eh? Apparently that one won an award.

Item 8: There’s an influx of graffiti in the ‘hood, so now I have to go out in the cold with my red pen and correct their spelling and grammar mistakes. Assholes. Everyone has a smart phone, but gods forbid they download a dictionary.

Item 9: So I looked at some what the facebook friends-of-friends promised me to be amusing pictures titled “Why my kid is crying”. Like the Queen, I was not amused. Most of the time I was thinking, Why are you snapping a picture when you should be slapping some sense into your dumb fucking kid? And that’s how I realised I’m still not ready for parenthood.

So James Joyce, a Burnt Out Grad Student, and a Pair of Black Socks Walk Into a Bar…

Literally, my stat connection for this year so far reads like the beginning of a beer-fuelled joke. One that ends in something stupid, too, like “And then he says, ‘That’s not a duck’!”

Why were they successful, comparatively? Well, one thing: timing. Tuesdays are popular, somehow? Second: my tag game getting stronger.

Anything else? I dunno, topics? It’s not every day you see the late, not-so-great James Joyce getting slut-shamed by a big-mouthed grad student who’s in the midst of a slight breakdown after the umpteenth Joyce lecture complete with an interpretation of Ulysses. Actually, in hindsight, maybe the prof was just making all of it up on the spot because he secretly hates Joyce too and wants to discourage all the hopeful bright-eyed students from ever reading the damn thing. Certainly worked for me, kudos to you, sir.

Also… I just imagine I was not the only student struggling with a paper deadline in January and lengthily venting my frustrations, so I guess that’s why. Seriously, is there anything worse than writing a paper you don’t really want to write?

Actually, yes, there is. Writing a paper to impress your future thesis supervisor is definitely worse.

And the last one was a daily prompt that had nothing whatsoever to do with black socks despite that being the title, in which I wax less than poetically about my inability to communicate like a basic human. Again. But daily prompts have a large audience, so duh, numbers game.

Also, people keep clicking on my Tale of Two Titties post even thought it’s at least two years old by now. Which was also a daily prompt. With a pandering eye-catching, attention-grabbing, market-research-approved title. I dare you NOT to click. It’s not very good, anyway. Okay, so it has a couple of tits in it, but that’s REALLY NOT that interesting. Seriously, don’t click.

… you just clicked it, didn’t you? Bad reader!

NOT a People Person, Socks or No Socks

Okay, so first of all, “naked with black socks” describes my Boyfriend’s boudoir style perfectly. No, really. This man will get ready to go to bed, take off all his clothes… except his socks. And then he’ll walk around the flat, trying to find his phone, packing his work backpack, hunting for his sports newspaper… all while naked in black socks. It’s irritating and I’m always glad when he finally finds his pyjamas.

That being said…

The idea of talking to people at all, ever, in general, terrifies me. To the point where I get depressed when I have too much people contact. Happened to me just this week. I had an appointment with a professor to discuss a paper I had submitted, that same day I met my parents for dinner, then the next day I had another uni related thing. I almost started crying on public transport on my way home. No, it’s not rational. No, it doesn’t make sense to me, either. All I know is that always happens when I get too much sociality shoved at me. I have to time my entire social life around mental rest days, because otherwise I might make plans with people and on the day those plans are supposed to happen, even if I like the people involved, I feel like I’d rather nail my feet to the side of a moving car than to see any of those bitches.

Now put me in front of an audience.

Yeah.

Ironically, I was in a theatre group in high school. I never had problems on stage. Never forgot my lines. Never got stage fright. Probably because I wasn’t on stage as myself, but as someone else.

That’s why I hold presentations like I’m doing a stand-up routine. Relevant jokes and puns all planned. Three copies of notes. I used to be extremely intimidated by public speaking, to the point where I was literally shaking so much I lost grip on my cue cards. I started pretending I was playing a role to get over it.

I mean, my original strategy was drinking a tall glass of whiskey with a little whiskey and a shot of whiskey before I came up with this solution, but hey, I got there. Now when I have to talk in front of a crowd I get out there and I’m not myself. I’m a 2.0 version of myself, someone who has her shit together and can open her damn mouth without stuttering.

Problem is, I have to play this role all the time. All damn day. Being an actor is exhausting, we all read the interviews. Now imagine you can never get out of your role again, ever. I can’t be myself with people because Myself would rather book a shuttle to Mars, but then, even if you can book online something will go wrong and I’d have to call the travel agency, and then at the space port there’d be people checking my passport, and gaaaaaarrrrrrgggghhhh, you can’t escape people.

And everyone’s still complaining that I talk too fast. Yes, I’m talking fast, you know why, because my brain is trying to run away from you. It’s detaching itself from my brain stem as I speak and tries to squeeze out of my right ear. When you see me moving my head side to side it’s not because I’m giving emphasis to the joke I’m telling you, it’s to get my brain to stay put because if I don’t it’s going to be half-way to Mexico and you’ll be talking to zombie-me. Zombie-me is not what you’d call a good conversationalist.

Ironically, again, is that people often describe me as hilarious once they get me alone. I can be the life of the party, provided the party consists of three to eight people and I know everyone. And there’s not too much background noise. And I’m not tired. But when the moon’s just right and the stars align and all that, I’m apparently really entertaining and everyone is surprised. But I mean… I have to wait an appropriate twelve months before letting slip the hounds of weirdness. You can’t tell inappropriate and slightly kinky jokes to just anyone, you know, that would be rude.

I’m just waiting for humanity to climb the next rung on the evolutionary ladder and develop telepathy. That would be so much easier! Everyone could see clearly that my reclusive shut-in brain is scared of social interaction and they’d keep it brief. Maybe. Or maybe they’d just start singing terrible and catchy songs inside their heads to annoy me. And all their thoughts would make so much noise.

Dammit! You just can’t escape people. One-way ticket to Planet Nine, please.

Thoughts You Have While Writing an Academic Paper

Stage 0: Having a topic assigned to you

Okay, this topic. Well, could have been worse. Could do with some instructions, though, but I guess we’re practising academic minimalism again. Time to hit the library!

Stage 1: Primary literature

Bored.

Bored.

Bored.

Bored.

Weird sex scene.

Bored.

Bored.

God, how many more pages?

Bored.

Dear Author, do you have anything interesting to say in this?

Bored.

Hella bored.

You, Mister White Heterosexual Protagonist, are a waste of literary resources with your constant existential angsty whining.

Bored.

Stage 2: Research and secondary literature

Why are all the books I wanted taken? How many people were assigned this topic again? Is this just really popular right now?

Why isn’t this digitalized yet, anyway?

Why isn’t everything digitalized yet?

Why am I not digitalized?

So, online resources… what? Nothing? Try some other search terms…

Nothing? Oh, come on!

There we go, fucking system on the fritz again…

1982?! What the hell kinda old shit is that?

Seriously, library system, would it kill you to open a tab normally?

This one looks promising… no access?! What the hell?

Okay, how about this… 1979, nope. 1985, nope. 1987, also nope. 1974, what the fuck, is there no new research on this writer?

Okay, fuck this, shift the focus of this paper slightly…

There we go. About 25,000 results for the civil rights movement. None of which have anything to do with this writer. You know what, fuck it, I can come up with some bullshit myself.

Stage 3: Reading and selecting quotations

This has nothing whatsoever to do with my topic.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with my topic.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with my topic.

Nice read. This has nothing whatsoever to do with my topic.

One useful quote, sold!

This is okay… but it’s old. Can I quote this even if it’s more than fifteen years old? Welp, I can.

What’s the deal with psychoanalysis in literally everything, why do these ancient fossils see penis everywhere? And what does it say about them that they do? That’s not what the D in Ph.D. stands for, dammit!

So this is the extremely renowned academic my professor likes, definitely have to throw in a quote of his.

Copying machine? Psshh! What you think I have a phone for?

Picture of book page. Picture of book page. Picture of book page. Selfie! Picture of book page. Picture of book page. Picture of book page….

Okay, on to the PDF articles.

New word document, make a nice list of quotations for future reference.

Why won’t this copy and paste!? Come on, I don’t want to type the entire paragraph! Okay, this can be copied and pasted…. aaaand suddenly it’s a completely unreadable font. There’s not enough tea in the world to get me through this.

OMG, I CAN COPY THIS, PRAISE THE MOTHERFUCKING LORD!

Hm, this researcher really knows their stuff, but I can’t quote just them. Doesn’t any of the others say the same thing, only different?

You know what, I should just insert a hyperlink and quote the entire article, this some good shit. I wonder what else they wrote….

No, no, focus. Need to select quotes. So which are the most useful?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T COPY AND PASTE THIS?!

Stage 4: Writing

Structure… Intro, whatever. Second, characters, because the old fossil who’ll be grading this changed his mind and now he also wants old school general character analysis and narratology like this is some fucking undergrad course. What does this have to do with my topic?! When I said instructions would be nice I meant something useful, like which style sheet you want, or what are your criteria for grading! Okay, next section, my actual fucking topic. Four, no… three subsections. Yeah, I can pull those two into one section. Alright. Conclusion, whatever.

Okay, introduction. “This paper discusses the thing you’re about to read so you might just want to go ahead and do that”.

Nope. I’ll get on with that later.

No one cares about all these minor fucking characters, this is not the focus of my paper, why are you making me do this? I’ll do it later.

Finally, the real stuff. Time to write!

Okay, doing pretty well, and we have… still at least 6000 words to go.

Bored.

Bored.

How many times can you say ‘however’?

How many times in a row can you quote the same person?

Maybe I’ll just paraphrase.

Come on, there must be a synonym for this!

Fuck it, quotation it is.

Can’t start two successive sentences with ‘therefore’, dammit, re-write…

I’m so hungry.

Urgh, I want a cake!

“Mentions”, no. “Draws the readers’ attention to”, no. “Deals with”, oh not again. “Discusses”, hell, I just used that! How do you say ‘It’s a thing in this novel’ without actually saying ‘It’s a thing in this novel’?

Is ‘moreover’ even a word?

This sounds stupid. Re-write. Now it sounds worse. Re-write. Oh for the love of… Re-write.

You know what, just quote it.

Seriously, why am I always hungry when I’m writing? How many calories can thinking possibly burn?

What’s that word that sounds like “comprise”?

Uuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.

Maybe I should take a break.

Cat video time!

Somehow the paper did not write itself in the last two hours while I was watching cat videos.

Okay, back to work.

Maybe I should check my e-mail.

Maybe I should check facebook, what if something important is going on?

Actually, this place needs cleaning.

Somehow the paper did not write itself in the last three hours I spent cleaning the entire house.

Why does ‘therefore’ even exist?

Stomach: FEED ME, SEYMOUR!

If I add emphasis to a quote, do I do that at the end in square brackets or right after the author’s name? I dunno, it looks weird in square brackets.

Why won’t this style sheet tell me how to indicate that I added emphasis?

Why won’t any style sheet tell me how to indicate that I added emphasis?

You know what, fuck it, square brackets it is, even if it looks weird.

Still need 2000 words, time to bullshit my way through character analysis.

“This character…” is really boring. “This character represents…” my will to live throwing itself out of the window. “The main characteristics of this character”, oh my god, you can’t have ‘characteristics’ and ‘character’ in one sentence! “The protagonist is…” obviously an author self-insert. “The female protagonist…” could be replaced with a table lamp because she’s only a love interest, and no straight guy in the history of ever wants to fall in love with an interesting person with like thoughts and ideas ‘n shit.

There’s not enough vodka in the world to get me through this.

I know I had a quote for this somewhere, where the hell is it?!

Things I accomplished today: Won three imaginary arguments. Things I didn’t get done: Work on paper.

I’m going to eat the entire fridge.

Is this English?

Do I even know what I mean?

I don’t know, what is the proposition?

Endemic across regional boundaries, yes, totally.

What?

Maybe I should take a break.

Why is it suddenly two days before the deadline?!

Works Cited Page… I did not actually quote this guy. Neither this one. Nope, this one’s out, too. And this one wasn’t actually that useful. And this one said the same thing as the other guy. Jeez, I hope that’s enough sources.

Wait, where’s that one guy?! Oh, there he is.

Wait, did I forget the one about desegregation?! Oh, there it is.

OH MY GOD, IS THIS THING STILL NOT DONE?! How many more pages do I need?

I don’t wannaaaaa….

Maybe I can get a deadline extension.

But I have this exam the week after, so if I had this out of my way I’d be able to concentrate on the exam a lot better….

Uuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrggggggghhhh.

Whatever, just type some 700 words on those shitty characters and drop it in the secretary’s office, who the hell even cares.

Wait, why the hell am I only finding this article now?! Oh my god, this is exactly my topic! RE-WRITE!

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

Conclusion… some bullshit… “As demonstrated”… “clearly illustrates”… “Furthermore”… “Finally, the main point”… Jesus, can’t you just read the fucking thing?

Stage 5: Home stretch

Okay, time to edit out all my mistakes.

Why the hell do I keep typing ‘at least’ as ‘as least’?

Why are keyboards in this order, even?

Who in the hell decided it was a good idea to put ‘i’ next to ‘o’? Which prankster wanted me to keep writing ‘in’ when I mean ‘on’?

Oh fuck, I have this part twice, how did that happen?!

Okay, but now it’s done.

PRINT, MY SLAVE!

Printer? Hello-ho, printer?

Uuuuurrrrrggghhh!

PRINTER!

Oh, come on…

Who’s a nice little printer?

Why can’t I just hand in the PDF via e-mail? What year is this, 1403?

PRINT, YOU INK-FILLED MALCONTENT, OR I WILL END YOU AND CURSE YOUR OFFSPRING TO THE SEVENTH GENERATION!

Finally!

Fine, don’t have an office hour, I’ll drop it in the secretary’s office, they’ll get it to you.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU DIDN’T GET IT?!

See, this is precisely why this kinda shit should to be handled via e-mail!

Oh, so you did get it? Just buried under all the other papers, is it?

Ugh, I don’t even care any more. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the couch, crying into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

Wait, did I remember to close the quotation marks in that one quote I shortened?

Uuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.