Category Archives: HBlog

This ain’t Storage Wars

While that show and this article both represent a business plan that allows someone to take advantage of other people’s misfortune, at least when storage lockers are auctioned off, we can fool ourselves that the storage company is trying to recoup their losses.

Not sure how many suitcases are lost due to passenger error, but this many don’t seem to hurt the airlines (since they got payment in most cases for not delivering) and their insurance doled out the cash to the passenger. But the things we pack are more than just material belongings, there are sentimental and important objects that, for whatever reason, need to get from one place to another.

I feel like this company could be funneling a lot of this stuff for charitable causes and the article takes a pretty flippant view on people losing their belongings forever.

>>> U.S. airlines lose 2 million suitcases a year. Where do they all go?

Death Star Contractor Sim

“Which, a) sort of casually disregards the entire existence of things like “tone” as they apply to the storytelling intent of a piece of media and, b) Lucasfilms has never tried to pitch people on a reality show about how cool it would be to get blown up by the Death Star.”

>>> “Well, of course Squid Game: The Challenge EP is a “Squid Game isn’t really about capitalism” guy” – AV Club

Just say… wait?

Uhm, excuse me…

The fact that articles like this don’t refer to Nancy Reagan as an activist is how well conservatives have fooled everyone into thinking that what they do isn’t radical or activism.

Shouts from the top of the Ivory Tower

Certainly, not all students wear these moral blinders. But the fact* that many students do, and that they are at some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, should be a cause for profound concern across higher education.

-Ezekiel J. Emanuel  “Hamas and the Moral Deficiencies of a Liberal Education – The New York Times

*Where is that fact located, Professor? Could you cite your sources? Let’s keep focusing on the plight of liberal education by shaming 34 Harvard students for exercising their right to free speech. Would the good professor like to address food insecurity on campuses? How about other universities are slashing major parts of that “liberal education” he is crying about? I think the Vice Provost (again, what even is that job?) wanted to be mad at the Harvard students, but gets to yell about it in The New York Fucking Times.

We have left these students a world on the brink of death, destruction, and despair.

We have all failed them and they are letting us know.

Don’t talk about tech and NOT credit authors

This short section of The Atlantic Daily has the following sentence:

“The term metaverse was coined in a 1992 science-fiction novel titled Snow Crash. (The book also helped popularize the term avatar, to refer to digital selves.)”

The book, not Neal Stephenson, the person who happened to author the book, but the book. If we want to talk about the future and technology and don’t address the erasure of the humans behind the technology (and the Book inspirations of its ideas) then you’re part of the problem.

Welp, I’m back

Sorry about the break. I really did think I could write a blog post about each day of the written portion of my comprehensive exams. Friends, I could not. I had no idea how much energy that was going to take out of me, including the one-hour commute each way. The day I wrote 5000 words, I slept the sleep of the dead. But, I’ve handed in my answers and it’s in the hands of my committee now.

How do I feel? Terrible. Well, not today. Over the last day or two I have settled down, but where I thought I would feel relief I only felt shame. I came out of the process feeling stupid, unprepared, more than an imposter, but a charlatan. I was (and kinda am) still thoroughly convinced that my oral exam will just be my committed expressing this disdain and then handing me packing boxes to clear my things and go. I was exhausted on Friday and cried. I blew up on Saturday morning and cried. Today, no crying, but still anxiety.

I’m going to stay as busy as possible this week so I don’t have time to think about anything negative. I will listen to every Agatha Christie book my library has and catch up on all my manga. Yah. That’s the plan.

Comp Exams Day 1 – the OS update

Thanks to the advocacy of previous graduate students, our school changed the structure of the English Ph.D. comprehensive exams from a 5-hour, in-person essay test to a take-home, multiday writing test. We still have questions that test the breadth and depth of our knowledge, but now we’ll be answering them in a way that more closely reflects how we actually do scholarly work.

Today I received my questions via email at 7 am. I was ready, so ready I forgot to take my pills. (I didn’t notice a difference aside from my disappointment, but I will not forget tomorrow). I took some time to read over all the options, made a few early selections, then grabbed a few relevant books (yes, I had to take the heavy one) and left.

I have a long commute, so it gave me the chance to let the back of my brain stew while I focused on my breathing. By the time I got to my office, I was ready to go. I took some time to create my draft documents, copy the selected question into the file, then do a preliminary–more like prepreprepreliminary–outline and listed out the texts/authors I would be using. Some of the questions were really interesting and I felt myself being pulled into working on them. Others I’d already written a thousand or more words about the topic. I chose the latter where I could.

That all done, I spent the next thirty minutes just going through papers and taking notes while my MacBook updated…

…then I was ready to go! The writing was sluggish at first. I felt myself tripping over how to phrase ideas and wrote too floridly and sometimes too simply, then convinced myself to get SOMETHING down because you can’t edit an empty page. I was aiming for 2400 words and I left at 1911. That’s not a failure.

I still had to finish grading the work in my summer class and needed to get the final papers out. But after getting that finished, I still ended up working on one of the other questions and getting more words in. Since this is a different format, the word count doesn’t really matter, but the hard work of selecting texts is done.

I think tomorrow will be a more productive day. I’ll be able to start writing right away, knowing I have minimaps in every draft document. I plan to come back to my DAY 1 answer tomorrow night, after I’ve allowed it to stew while I work on DAY 2’s answer. NIGHT 1’s answer has the bones to it, and I have a book here that can help me make sure I put them in the right spots.

Feeling optimistic and ready to keep rolling!

my task management app can’t cure my ennui

I would like all semester breaks to just be a break in the work, but not necessarily a break of being on campus. Perhaps I don’t want a faculty job, but something in support or admin so I no longer have to be in this holding pattern until I can be myself again.

I hate it here today, but I can’t say that because she always says she hates it here, too…first…worse. She’ll express a camaraderie that doesn’t exist. We hate different things. Or maybe we both just hate her. I don’t know, I’ve never been allowed an isolated feeling in my life. I’m always derivative.

I am having a low motivation day and am desperate for it not to turn into depression.

twenty more days