Thursday, January 28, 2010

The funniest version of my dad's song!

The song is the original and they put it with a 1950s instructional film about dating. Too hilarious!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Making (some) progress!

Hey, I will take "some" progress over "no" progress. I just completed a rough outline for my prospectus. Now, I know that that doesn't sound like a lot, but planning a long critical book is no easy task...and planning a proposal to convince people that you should be writing said book is an even harder task. So, that is where I am and I am happy that at least I have a plan on page. It is a slightly unstable plan that will undergo many changes and will probably look nothing like what I have now, but at least I have something to work with!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

BCS Championship Game Night!!

Our VERY unhealthy game snacks...

Mom and Dad settle in for the


Christmas photos...a little late...

Our tree...

Mom enjoying the Candy Cane Martini...

Jeff's self-portrait...

Jessica and I (...I am feeling a bit ill by this time...)

And the BEST picture of the holiday: Dad and Grandma in Grandma's new red hats!

A very technological New Year

I have spent way too much money lately on two electronic items that I seriously believe no PhD student in English should be without.

Item #1: The Kindle
I love my Kindle. Yes, it was really pricey, but I already have over 200 books on my Kindle (90% of them have been free because they are classics..those that aren't free are really cheap). The $260 investment in the Kindle has already saved me over a thousand dollars in book costs...probably a lot more. The thing is that there are so many classics that I am interested in reading, but so many are out of print. Finding copies of these books by obscure authors or books seldom read by popular authors is expensive. Usually, you have to search antique book stores or find a used copy online for $20 (on the really cheap end) up to over $100. Interlibrary loan is often a futile endeavor for such books because the item you end up with is in really bad shape or too delicate to read. Even if you get a good copy, if you want to write about it you still need your own copy...and who wants to mark up a collectible book? The Kindle allows me to do a few things. 1) I can read the book for free. No investment, so if I decide I hate it or I can't use it, then I haven't wasted any money on the book. 2) the Kindle allows me to take notes and highlight passages. So, I avoid ruining an old, expensive book. This really is a life saver for me...and I don't have a ton of books around me. I love my books, but I am starting to resemble those people on "Hoarders."

Item #2: The IRIS pen.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this thing! Many MA/PhD students would love this one. It is a scanner pen. I have spent countless hours of my life typing passages from books into a word document. The IRIS pen scans lines of the book directly into my document. I LOVE IT. The only drawback? Well, for me, a large part of learning comes from the repetition of typing the passage after having read it. However, I am on a deadline, people. So, the IRIS pen is my new best friend.

Well, that is about it. But, I just had to share because these two things make me extremely happy!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Miserable Day...

The cough of yesterday translated to severe allergies today. I spent a miserable day trying to cope. I finally realized that I had to do something, so I contacted a nurse and asked if I could take something else along with what had already been prescribed. She said yes! I took some Benadryl...and though I am about to fall asleep typing, I am not sneezing!!! HOORAY!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Generation Me'er Movies??

Note: You should probably read the below post if you want to understand my question...

What movie defines your generation? I know a lot of my friends would suggest Pretty in Pink or The Breakfast Club (the second is a personal favorite and groundbreaking in many ways). I also thought about Reality Bites, a film that many of us in the class of '94 loved! I am not sure that the movie is especially deep once the love story enters the picture, but the things discussed and the personality types portrayed are definitely emblematic of a generation.

So...what do you think?

Tuesday Morning on a Monday Afternoon: Why weren't they open for ME?? Don't they know that "I" need to shop? I am a Generation Me'er...technically

My boss/great friend and her husband have been telling me about "Tuesday Morning," a store here in Tuscaloosa. I went there years ago, and I thought I would go again. I am not a big shopper, so the lapse in time between my first visit and now is not a reflection of the store! Unfortunately, they are closed for a week for inventory. Still, I did a little window shopping (in sub-freezing temperatures) and decided it would definitely be a good idea to go back.

Other than that, I had a very busy day. I got out to campus about 10 a.m. and photocopied my syllabus and then went to the library. Because I have spent most of the holidays sick, my mom dropped me off to avoid too much time in the cold. I am glad that she did because it was really freezing this morning and it was nice not to walk all over campus. After working for a while, she picked me up and we went to lunch at the Indian restaurant here in town. Yummmmm!

Mom and I were really restless this afternoon and wanted to get all of our errand running around finished before the even colder weather sets in tonight and tomorrow. So, we went to Sam's and the post office and the public library. I know...we have such exciting lives. Anyway, I checked out a book called Generation Me by Jean Twenge (very interesting book). I read through some of it this afternoon and basically it is all true. You are a part of Generation Me if you were born from 1970 onwards. Basically, the worst part of the generation begins to hit around those born in the early 1980s...these are the kids that are told that they are wonderful constantly and given stickers for everything and told that doing things because they feel good is the way to go. Now, there are positives to some of this. I think that many people in earlier generations did end up in unhappy situations because they weren't selfish enough. Still, I think that Generation Me is totally spoiled and out of hand. I see it every day...and those who are part of it and rebelling against it will tell you the same thing. One of the first phrases used in the book to describe this generation is "a sense of entitlement." The later kids out of this generation also have helicopter parents (those that hover constantly and do everything for their kids, personally and scholastically). I can deal with entitlement because eventually that one will come back to bite these kids in the ass. What I can't deal with is the concept of helicopter parents. I have seen these people at the college level...used to be only in grade school...and I have one message: If your child can't handle a situation on his/her own by college-age, then THEY SHOULDN'T BE IN COLLEGE. I would have been mortified if my mother or father had signed up for an appointment with my professor. (Not to mention the things my professors would have had to say.) So far, I have not had a face-to-face encounter with one because I try to keep very open and helpful relationships with my students and they seem to respond well most of the time (those that want help, anyway). Still, I have seen other teachers deal with this phenomenon. Very strange.

So, does anyone out there have opinions about all of this? Do you have a "Generation Me" story?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Productive...but not enough

So, this is just a little personal rant. I feel very behind schedule. I spent most of the holidays sick in bed and now I am feeling PhD guilt for not getting much done during this festive season...that I spent in bed...coughing...rallying...relapsing.

Anyway, that is just my problem, I guess. Sometimes, your body has to stop you.

Meanwhile, I can't get enough sleep. I have slept late almost every day and I have taken really long naps. For example, I slept until 9:30 this morning and then I took a 2.5 hour nap this afternoon. Ugh. I did go to work and also managed to slip in a little bit of dissertation stuff...but still...ugh.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The only thing saving me...

I am wading through so many book reviews (all related to my dissertation topic), trying to carefully select things that I know I need to read through right away. I sat in front of my computer this morning, highlighting and typing for a very long time. But, one thing is helping me through the chaos:

I have had this tea for a while now but it hasn't lost its flavor. It really does taste like Sugar Cookies! Actually, and here is another Tuscaloosa related post, my favorite coffee shop--Java City at Gorgas Library--featured a new flavor of coffee for the holidays this year: Sugar Cookie. It was great! I really hope we have some left over when the cafe re-opens.

Java City

I love Java City. I have been going there for about six years, I think. It is right on the ground floor of Gorgas Library. At first, I went there because it was convenient and the coffee isn't that it didn't make me sick like Starbucks. However, soon, I started going over there for the company! Many graduate students hold office hours over there to avoid sitting in "assigned offices" of 25+ graduate students sharing four desks and one computer. When I was in library school, I lived at Java City because I was taking five graduate courses a semester and teaching three composition courses as an adjunct. I didn't eat much that year...but I lived off of coffee. The main reason I go to Java City: the employees. I love Bridget and Brenda. They always make my day brighter. We have seen each other go through many things over the years, good and bad. We share a lot of laughter--and Brenda and I exchange books all of the time and have saved a fortune! They really are the greatest. I know Bridget and Brenda the best just because I tend to be on campus during the day. But I know that the evening and weekend employees are great, too.

I missed them so much when I moved to Florida (about the same time that I started this blog in 2005). The happiest moment I had early on at USF was when I discovered a Java City on campus in the business building. Luckily, the building was only a short walk away from my building and walking in there for the first time cured any homesickness I had. The employees were great down there, too. I didn't care that a Starbucks was only yards away from my office. I had to go to Java City every day. I know the ladies working down there thought that I was a total freak because I always had a huge smile on my face when I went in there. And, when I would come home for a visit, I always made my way over to Java City at Gorgas.

Usually, only students go over to Java City at UA. It is expensive to park on campus if you don't have a decal, and it can be a long walk for those not inclined to park in a free area. Still, if you ever go to UA during the week, anytime from 8-2, stop in and introduce yourself to Brenda or Bridget. You will love them!

Friday, January 01, 2010

A funny "Do..." resolution from Cherwell Online:

This is one of the "do's" for the New Year, from the independent student newspaper at Oxford, The Cherwell Online:

"Do be a historian. According to that incredibly scientific study back in Trinity, the Cherwell sex survey, historians have the most sex, and Somerville and New students are the most promiscuous. Also, do be gay. Homosexual students are more likely to get firsts, apparently. However, way too many Oxford students are having unprotected sex, including around half of our survey respondents. If you’re smart enough to get into Oxford, you should be smart enough to find yourself a condom: do use protection!"

For complete article, see:

It is great!

Happy New Year!

Well, we made it through another New Year! Unfortunately, I became a bit ill last night and spent most of it miserable. Then, my cough started to come back and that really sucks. (Ah, my verbal prowess.) Anyway, I am trying to think of a way to become productive today. There are so many things that I need to do...mainly, I need to try to dread. All of the medicine and illness during this break has made me take a break from professional work. I spent a lot of time in the office last week, but it was so cold in the old house where I work (we don't have central heating...just window units) that I basically stayed in my little room (originally a bedroom) with the door closed and locked to keep the heat in. I went over yesterday for a while, but the weather has turned colder and even the heat in my office wasn't enough. It is only going to get colder, so I don't imagine that I should work there for a few days. So, I will probably go by and pick up things to work on.

Other than that, I am finally reading George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. This is one of the books that I must tackle because almost all of the literary criticism books that deal with Darwinian influence on Victorian literature eventually comes across Eliot's novels--and, specifically, Daniel Deronda. I think it is her best novel. I am a fan of GE, though I know many who don't like her. However, this book has a complexity to it that is really astounding.

So...none of you is actually interested in that information. Still, I am a nerd and must vent.

Other than that, yesterday was really busy. I went to lunch at Hokkaido (yum!) and then I met up with my boss, her husband, and a co-worker and his wife for a New Year's Eve dinner at the Olive Garden. I usually just order soup and salad, but because I was really depressed about having to spend $500 on new tires, I ordered a glass of wine (good) and a shrimp dish. About an hour into the meal, I became really sick. I managed to avoid being sick at the restaurant, but I was miserable. So, the evening was spent trying to keep the room from spinning. And, then, like I said, the cough came back. So, I took a double dose of my cough medicine and slept all night (very unusual for me). I did stay up for the New Year, but after I immediately went to sleep.

Today, we are spending a quiet time at home for the most part. I think we are having the obligatory ham and black-eyed peas. Not sure how much I can eat, today. I need to take dad over to Target to walk (too cold to walk outside and he really needs the exercise). I think we are meeting up with the family later for a short time. At some point, I might go to Panera and read. I like to read at Panera because I get refills on my large iced tea and it is warm inside! So, bring it on George Eliot. I am ready.