jackshoegazer: (Pissed/CAPSLOCK)
I'm working on a large flyer for a rave.  There are two promoters working together on it and they are on completely different pages.  I keep getting conflicting information from them.  Actually, from one of them.  "I don't want palm trees in it."  Ok.  Here's a design.  "Oh this is good, but it needs palm trees."  "We absolutely have to have a big map with the location of the venue."  Ok, do you want a big map of where the venue is in the state, or a bigger regional map of the midwest?  "Maps are a waste of space.  We don't need a map."  One of the promoters wants a simple and clean festival-style design and the other wants some loud, clashing, obnoxious thing.  "Oh this is great, but it needs blue.  Just throw some blue in there."  I want to punch myself in the eye.  Sometimes.  What they don't seem to understand is that it's a process.  It takes time, that I'm not psychic, so when they say, "We want a summer-y festival poster that's unique and has a sort of hand-drawn feel to it." that I don't get a magical image in my head of what they mean.  Especially when they send me images of festival posters that they like and none of them fall into the description that they gave.
jackshoegazer: (Cthulhu/Nanny)
This has been a long, strange Thanksgiving weekend.

Ethan was here from Thursday through Sunday. That was great actually. He's been doing a lot better lately. He's got his heart set on being a chef. He's taking two culinary classes this semester and is looking at culinary school when he finished high school.



On Black Friday, we didn't spend a penny.  We tried to go to the zoo but it was closed.  So we went for a long walk along the lake and through the arboretum.  We talked, we laughed.  After the fiasco that was last year and all of the problems Ethan had, it was really nice.

Jacquelyn was telling Eric about how sophomore means "wise fool" and Ethan chimed in, "Like how I was last year."  Which is incredibly self-aware compared to last year's typical Ethan behavior.

We had two Thanksgivings.  One was a misfit dinner at our place.  Our roommate Eric's father is visiting for a week, so he was here.  Some people from Jacquelyn's lab, post-docs away from their families.  At the last minute the Chinese girl changed her plans, but if she hadn't, we would have had more non-USA people than USA people.   So we were definitely in the frame of mind to discuss all the good and bad about Thanksgiving.

The other Thanksgiving was on Saturday at my sister's house.  Which was nice, but filled with all of the things that make visits to my family cringe-worthy.  Poor parenting techniques, political quips, social awkwardness, my sister's amazing ability to make every sentence inappropriate either directly and antagonistically or in a back-handed compliment sort-of-way.  I love them dearly, but I feel like...like I don't understand how I grew up in that family.  There's this anthropological gulf between us, like we're not of the same culture, or even, at times, the same species.
jackshoegazer: (Jacqui/Pretty)
It's your daily reminder to go vote for Jacquelyn Gill. Thanks, friends!
jackshoegazer: (Random/3D)
My poem "Star-Crossed" was critiqued today in my writing workshop.  Apparently everyone really liked it.  It received praise as a "masterpiece" and "perfect."  There were some minor things, so I will likely ditch the enjambment in the first stanza, but otherwise, I don't think it will change much in revision.  There was some debate on exactly how heavy-handed I should be with particular lines, that maybe I can condense a bit, but I am skeptical.  We'll see how I feel in a week or so, when I start my revisions and I've had some time away from it.

Don't forget that you can vote for Jacquelyn every day.  So help us get her through her final semester of grad school without monetary stress hovering over us.  Help us retire her student loan debt.  Go vote, people!  It takes two seconds, literally.  Also, feel free to share that link.  Get your friends and relatives and relatives of friends and relatives of relatives to vote.

I also got an AB on my second Shakespeare exam.  I am no longer worried about that class.  I am confident enough that I'll pull off an AB in that class.  If I am lucky, I will pull off an AB in French, but it will be really, really close.  I'll likely be right on the line between an AB and a B, so there's that.  I think I'll get an A in creative writing.  I put in a lot of effort in that class, do all the assignments, all the readings, contribute and whatnot a lot, so I don't see why I wouldn't.  My only major worry is that the heck I'm going to get in my anthro class.  That's so up in the air.  It may very well be my first grade below an AB in my collegiate history.  I know, first-world problem, but there you have it.

Go vote for Jacquelyn!
jackshoegazer: (Miracle/iPod)
Hey there friends. As I suspected, there was some cheating/ballot-stuffing going on in that scholarship contest. The people running the contest fixed the loophole and zeroed everyone's votes, so we have to start all over. So, please go vote. It seriously takes two seconds and you don't have to register or put in an email address or anything.

In case you missed the first message, Jacquelyn is a finalist for the 2011 College Blogging Scholarship for her excellent blog The Contemplative Mammoth. It's a scholarship worth $10,000 and it would be a godsend if she won. So please, go HERE and vote for Jacquelyn Gill.

And you can vote every twenty-four hours, so please vote as often as you can. And spread this around, get everyone you know to go vote for her! Thanks!
jackshoegazer: (Fear/America)
When I first tried to read A People's History of the United States, I had to stop when I got to the part where governments were sending out troops to kill striking workers.  I was so disgusted, I couldn't read any further.  So when I see pictures like this:



I get that same feeling in the pit of my stomach.  It's the same thing.  We've traveled through time and nothing has changed.

jackshoegazer: (Default)
I don't exactly understand why both the Out of Africa theory and the Multiregional theory can't both be true.  As H.sapiens moved out of Africa, there was gene flow as they interbred and replaced the previous hominins.  Easy-peasy.



The cultural anthropology class I need to graduate got canceled due to lack of faculty.  So I will be taking other ethnology-centric anthro courses without having first taken the pre-req.  I am like so looking forward to that.  I'm one more major annoyance away from saying fuck-all to an anthro degree.  If this was happening earlier in my academic career, I'd have done it already, but as I am, I may as well finish it.  Oh, and to replace that class, I will now be taking both British Literature Pre-1750 and British and Anglophone Literature 1750-Present.  Yes, I will be learning the entire canon of British literature in one semester. Uh, yay?
jackshoegazer: (Jacqui/Pretty)
Hey there, faithful readers.  My darling wife is a finalist for the 2011 College Blogging Scholarship, which is like $10,000.  It would be pretty badass if you took two seconds (seriously, it's two seconds) to go here and vote for Jacquelyn Gill.


jackshoegazer: (Inside/Out)
H.heidelbergensis is the most likely direct ancestor of both H.neanderthalensis and H.sapiens.
jackshoegazer: (Fnord/Fnord)
I ate so much Shakespeare in the last four days that I dreamed in iambic pentameter last night.  Next up, devouring so much human evolution between 1.8 million years ago and 300,000 years ago by Tuesday that everyone in my dreams are homo erectus and trying desperately to start a fire.
jackshoegazer: (Kermit/Recognize)
It was not widely reported in the media, but I received a B- on my first Shakespeare exam.  I have, like, never gotten that low of a grade on a test  in any English class, ever.  But I took it like a grownup, took a deep breath, and vowed to do better next time.  Obviously, it was a new class, new instructor, new TA's, and I didn't know what to expect.  Apparently the rest of the class did very poorly as well.

So, there's a new test on Friday.  Today, I went to see my TA to ask him to look over my exam so I would have a better idea what I did right and what I did wrong so that I could do better on Friday's exam.  So, he reads over my answers and says, "Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking.  These are really good answers."  He then changes my scores and suddenly I have an A- instead.

HUZZAH!

Seriously people, go talk to your TA's.

Trois.

Nov. 6th, 2011 04:14 pm
jackshoegazer: (Default)
Last night, we had a BYOC party.  That's "Bring Your Own Cheese" for y'all unfamiliar with this.  Everyone brings an awesome cheese.  We provide various crackers and fruit and spread and whatnot, as well as nice beer and wine pairings.  Everyone eats and drinks and is merry.  I think the winner was the p'tit basque Jacquelyn and I brought.  So good.

Though I was sick and the beer last night didn't help matters, Jacquelyn and I rescued some English Setters this morning.  I read more Shakespeare along the way.


Then, I went to a review session for my upcoming Shakespeare test on Friday.  I was feeling pretty ill by then, so I left early.


I just took some TheraFlu, so I will probably crash in a few minutes, but I have to wake up later and study for the French test I have tomorrow.
jackshoegazer: (Fear/America)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Sleep.  Been there, done that.
jackshoegazer: (Infinite/Astronaut)
It's an odd thing to be researching one's choices for writing workshop instructors and rather than finding their writing and accolades, you find the PDFs of their divorce proceedings.

Having done this research, of the four people teaching, I've at least narrowed down who I won't be picking for my fiction workshop.  I'm down to the final two, one of whom got divorced with some unresolved custody issues.  Only the divorced one is older than me.  

I'm likely taking the Intermediate fiction workshop, British Literature before 1750, and cultural anthropology.  I have to decide if I want to take the intermediate poetry workshop or the anthropology "topics" seminar, which this spring is the anthropology of reproduction.  If I don't take the seminar this time, I can hold out for a more interesting topic, but then, do I really want to concentrate on poetry as well as fiction?

Je ne sais pas.

I'll likely take the seminar because it's a required course.  But fuck-in-a-bucket, I don't want to.
jackshoegazer: (Random/Scratch)
Fuck you, sorethroat.
jackshoegazer: (Random/Elephant)
I've lost six pounds in the last month.  Only thirty more to go.

My next French writing exercise is: Voyage dans l’espace! I get to write a space story, which is awesome.  On my last story, about a drunken bus ride to Georgia sitting next to the Devil, who was going to the wedding of his sister, who was marrying a preacher, I received the comment "J'apprécie votre créativité!"  Which is why I do it.  It has got to be so boring as a language teacher, or any teacher for that matter, reading crappy essays and stories about the same boring crap year after year.

Jacquelyn and I went to see Anonymous last night.  Despite the Oxfordian theory being completely debunked, It was a good story.  As someone who likes an elegant conspiracy theory, it was a well done and compelling.  Unfortunately, utter balderdash as well.  The best part was the facial hair though.  Beards galore!

I dreamed a great opening line for a poem this morning and now it is a ghost.
jackshoegazer: (Jesus/Hipster)
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” 

For the first time in my writing 'career', I received a comment during my previous workshop that alluded to my writing having that "special thing" that Ira is speaking about.  As soon as I read this quote, it resonated.  It synched up with Stephen King's proclamation to just write.  Write all the time.  The only way you'll ever get better is to keep writing, to keep doing the work.  It synched up with I forget who, some famous singer-songwriter who said to throw away your first thousand songs and then you'll be good.  They're all getting at the same thing––that real talent isn't really talent––it's work.  And I think tentatively that I'm finally getting to to point where all this polishing is finally producing a shine.

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