bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (the die hard way (likefluffy))
The more I think about it, the more bizarre I realize my dissertation strategy was, at least compared to the other MA students I knows. I wrote my diss over about two and a half months: July for research, August and the first week and a half of September for writing. At that point I was still having chronic wrist pain, so the amount I was comfortable typing in a single day was limited, especially since I was really, really worried that I would screw up my wrists so badly that I wouldn't be able to type for a week or more. (One of the casualties of my tendonitis was that I wasn't able to type up my research notes the way I'd gotten accustomed to doing, since I didn't want to blow up my wrists on notes. I still had a lot of notes, but not as many as I would have preferred, so for about half the material I would have to page through the books or articles I read rather than referring back to my notes.)

The other thing that I was worried about in regards to my dissertation was that, a year earlier, I'd failed to complete my undergraduate honors thesis. I was terrified that my diss would go the way of my honors thesis, which basically didn't get written because I wouldn't work on it. By inclination, I have a tendency to be one of those last-minute night-before essay-writers, which does not work for a 15K MA dissertation. At least I knew this going in. The one thing I wanted to do was finish the dissertation. At this point I didn't care if it was good, all I cared about was that I proved to myself I was capable of writing an extended piece of academic writing.

So when I came back to Leicester in July, after having done no prep work in May and June -- unlike, ha, everyone else in my program that I talked to -- I had one goal for July and August: work on my dissertation every day, either writing or research. I didn't care if that was ten pages read or 100 words written, if it was five minutes or three hours, as long as I did something. No days off. Even on a truly horrendous wrist pain day, I could read five pages of a book or article.

Somewhat to my astonishment, this actually did work.

Due to my reading spreadsheets, I was actually able to keep visual track of what I was reading when and for what; through July and August I read an average of 450 research pages a week. (In July it was 610, since August I was more aimed at writing rather than research.) I didn't start writing until August 1; my goal was to write 500 words a day in order to have 15K by the end of the month, in order to spend the first week of September in edits. (My deadline was September 10.) 500 words isn't a lot -- it's about a paragraph to two paragraphs of academic writing. Twenty minutes if I don't have to keep looking up references, forty minutes if I need to keep stopping to find a quote or page number, maybe an hour tops. I can -- and I did, on occasion -- get that in while making dinner or while doing laundry. (The further I got into August, the more likely it was that I'd pick something to cook that took a long time because I'd be stuck in the kitchen, where I didn't have internet.)

Because of my wrists, I was unwilling to write more than twenty minutes at a time, so I set a timer. (I use Egg Timer or Steep.It, which is technically a tea timer but doesn't have a terrifying alarm the way Egg Timer does -- seriously, Egg Timer's alarm is terrifying and I only use it when Steep.It isn't available.) I'd write for twenty minutes, then I'd do something else for two or three or six hours, and then I'd write for another twenty minutes if I hadn't already made word count. I probably watched more TV in July and August that I ever have at any other point in my life. I went downtown and went shopping almost every day (sometimes it was window shopping rather than actual shopping, but god damn, I bought a lot of books and groceries those last few months because I'm a nervous shopper). During those two and a half months where I was working on my dissertation, I spent a lot of time not working on my diss. There were days when I didn't start working on my diss until eleven or twelve at night, since I prefer writing at night to writing during the day. My sleep schedule went to hell -- I was getting up at noon and going to bed at four or five in the morning. Not because I had to, the way I heard from some other MA students, because I was working so hard -- it just sort of did.

Around the last weekend of August, my wrists actually did go to hell, and I had several days where I was incapable of typing, which unfortunately fell right before I went to York with [personal profile] aella_irene. I did not make word count that week, but I still managed to get something done every day -- 50 words at a time, a sentence or two, a few pages read, a paragraph. After I came back, I started taking a course of my tendonitis meds -- I didn't want to start while I was on holiday because my schedule was screwed up and I didn't know if I was going to have weird side effects or not. (Though seriously, at that point, I doubt I would even have noticed if I started having mood swings, I CONSTANTLY HAVE MOOD SWINGS.)

At that point, because I was behind schedule, I had to up from 500 words a day to 750, and about the last week of my diss I was writing 1K a day. I was also, at this point, watching six or seven hours of TV a day. I was literally at the point waking up, watching two or three episodes of Sons of Anarchy, writing for twenty minutes, going into town for a few hours, watching a couple more episodes, writing another twenty minutes, watching another episode, and going to bed. It was a pretty stupid schedule. It is completely contrary to every research+writing schedule I've heard about from other MA students, who used to tell me with haunted eyes that they had woken up early, been in the library all day, and crawled into bed with visions of Roman ruins dancing in their heads.

It worked.

I'm still pretty astonished that it worked; I still feel like I must have done something wrong somewhere because it's pretty much the exact opposite of what you're "supposed" to do as an academic researcher. I was stressed -- gods, I was stressed, but I wasn't as stressed as I expected to be, which, uh, actually made me more stressed because I was convinced I was missing something.

(I was having anxiety attacks the last week or so, but at that point I was rushing, which is why my last chapter and conclusion are the weakest of the dissertation, plus I was freaked out about moving and whether or not I was going to get kicked out of Opal Court, since there were literally Opal employees appearing in my room at six am when I was still asleep. GOOD TIMES, MAN, GOOD TIMES. FOR GOD'S SAKE, PEOPLE, KNOCK. But I was way more stressed about my living situation than I was about my dissertation; it was just unfortunate they both fell at the same time.)

It was crazy. It was definitely not recommended. But it did work.

On the other hand, no one else I talked to had a similar strategy, so I don't know if I just got lucky or if I was actually doing something right. But it did work. I finished my diss on time and I got really good marks.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (damn good (forestgraphics))
Guess who finally has her official degree results? GUESS WHO HAS A MASTER'S DEGREE?

...guess who now has to start making serious plans to go back to England in January for graduation?

(I'll be in England for about two weeks with my mother. If there's somewhere in England suitably touristy that's accessible in winter, please let me know, because gods know Leicester isn't exactly the most touristy place in the world (hahahahaNO). My dad will be in Cambodia, because ha, the idea of my father visiting me somewhere that isn't a subtropical East Asian country is pretty absurd. Okay, actually he'll be in Ellensburg, since the new term will have already started, but still; he'll be in Cambodia in December.)

Now I just have to figure out if there's a way to convert my English grades into an American GPA for my grad school applications. With Merit is good, yeah? (Bizarrely, my dissertation results are much higher than my marks for my classes, because of...reasons...probably because I spent way more time on my diss than on any of my papers, let's be honest.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (disney on acid (likefluffy))
Poking in to say a couple of things:

1. I am alive! My dissertation is due tomorrow, so I'm trying to get it all finished tonight so that tomorrow all I have to do is print it and then take it to get bound and hope that not everyone else in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History isn't there at the same time. Or all the other MA students from non-arch departments, I don't know how many other master's programs have the same deadline as the SAAH.

1a. I'm about to write my conclusion, but today I was mostly doing edits, which proceeded more or less like my fic edits do: lots at the top, fewer at the bottom as I start to lose the will to live. Given that I still have to write my conclusion, I just hope I don't end it like I usually end chapters of Dust: with something super-creepy and/or some murder and/or a cliffhanger and a pithy comment. Well, the pithy comment I'm good with, the other three, not so much.

2. I've been seriously mainlining TV, since I've gone through two and a half seasons of Teen Wolf in about four days and went through five seasons of Sons of Anarchy in under two weeks right before that. Let's talk about tone and genre switches!

2a. Possibly a post on how I am confused and appalled and weirdly fascinated but mostly confused and appalled by Teen Wolf canon, fanon, and fandom is coming up.

3. I am flying back to the States on Friday. After I finish my diss I'm going to be packing like a maniac, since I have to ship all my belongings home and then figure out how to get rid of the rest of my stuff. YEP JUST MOVING COUNTRIES AGAIN.

4. I finally took my tendonitis meds AND LO THEY WORKED OH THANK GOD that I'm not writing my diss in screaming pain.

5. I'm currently living with constant low-grade anxiety for various reasons (the dissertation and the move are two of them), so that's awesome.

6. I'm hoping I can get everything done by 2 am so that I can actually get up in the morning for a change; the past couple days I've been up at around noon. Well, not yesterday, since [personal profile] aella_irene came over, but today and the day before, definitely.

*flees*
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (stories that can't be told (isapiens))
I'm going to miss getting e-mails with subject lines like "the latest from those pesky Yorkists" when I leave Leicester.

(I wonder if students at the archaeology and history departments at the University of York get the same kind of e-mails, only opposite?)
bedlamsbard: test: research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing (research (girlyb_icons))
Writing a master's dissertation is too stressful, can't I do something nice and restful like taking the One Ring to Mordor instead? That sounds like a nice vacation. Lots of walking. Gorgeous scenery. Very attractive men for at least part of the journey.

Sadly I am not doing enough writing right now. Or enough research. Which at least my supervisor and I both know and why I begged him (well: asked) to have weekly meetings now that he's back from holiday so that I'd have some accountability. Which means I actually have to do things other than just read every week.

Of course I'm obviously worrying that I might be stressed, but I'm not stressed enough, because sure, that makes sense. ("Just don't be stressed!" my mother says. "Just take it easy! Just stop being depressed!" "MOM IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY.")

...and I've just remembered that I'm still super stressed out about never actually hearing back from Tulane after being waitlisted. Is it worth it to e-mail them and say, "Hey, I realize that you start in two week, I just never actually got a response so can you just tell me, 'No, you didn't get in,' and also, is the reason for that because my MA program is still going on?"

God, I'm so stressed I think I'm going to explode. Why is it that the only time I ever meet people when my stress level is at +1000? Like, I feel terrible about it, because I'm going to be freaking out about all the work I probably wouldn't be doing anyway, but I am yet more stressed, and also I couldn't get the train ticket I want so I'm going to be in Cambridge two hours later than I actually wanted to be because of off-peak times. *headdesk* *cries* (Don't take this the wrong way, [personal profile] highlyeccentric, I'm just obsessing about things I can't actually do anything about.)

Okay, I've picked up my train tickets, I need to go print off half-a-dozen articles to read tomorrow on the train.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (stories that can't be told (isapiens))
I'd be a lot more excited about learning in which months Romans (both in the city and in Italy outside of the city -- interestingly, it's different) had the most and most effective procreative sex if I was actually getting anything useful for my diss out of this book, which I'm not so far, but I think I might in the next chapter.

The thing about my diss topic is that I do find it really interesting, I just find other things that are more interesting most of the time, so I only spend about an hour to two on it per day (I'm aiming for four but haven't hit it yet -- probably this week, though, since I need to have something written). But, and I'm hoping that this is the thing that separates my master's diss from my failed senior honors thesis, I do spend some time on it every day. I didn't do that last year and I still beat myself up over that damned thesis. So that's something, at least.

This is also the book where the author spent a footnote approximately the size of an entire page explaining the theory that the Roman Empire fell because women discovered effective contraception.

And in case anyone's wondering: In urban Rome, the, er, most successful procreative activity, in Brent Shaw's own words, was performed in the period between March and May, but also in the months of (roughly) August and November. In Italy outside of Rome, it was the period between December and June. Do with this information what you will. I'm here for all your useless classical trivia inspired needs.

Granted, I may not be here much longer given the horror movie set-up that ULAS just found at the Richard III cemetery site. "We've never seen anything like this before!" says one of the archaeologists. A lead coffin inside another coffin! BECAUSE THAT'S NOT A HORROR MOVIE SET UP AT ALL. I'm kind of afraid to go into the School of Archaeology and Ancient History just in case they're keeping it in the general vicinity.

Bizarrely, this is the second time that I've been at a university with an archaeology horror movie set-up discovery. What's going to be at my next institution of higher learning, one of those crystal skulls from Indiana Jones? The Ark of the Covenant? A stargate? I'm really starting to worry here, y'all!
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (disney on acid (likefluffy))
So today I got an e-mail in my school e-mail that started off like this: "As the loose-bowelled pigeon of time swoops low over the unsuspecting tourist of destiny, and as the flatulent skunk of fate wanders into the air-conditioning system of eternity, I'm sure you'll notice that the academic year is drawing to a close."

The University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History, y'all.

It was about finding postgrad tutors for next year's seminars.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (art of study (girlyb_icons))
Sick and miserable and loopy because of it. I think it's allergies, it feels like allergies, but given that The Plague is going around -- especially around my course, since we were trapped in a Land Rover with an infected vector for nine hours last Friday -- I guess it could be that too. I've got like three different kinds of painkillers, cold medicine, and allergy medicine that I'm deploying as strikes my mood or my current level of general frustration with the universe. (Do I think that any of them actually work? I...uh, actually, no. But I do keep trying.)

Papers got turned in yesterday; I'm not actually sure if they went in on time because I literally ran over to SAAH to scrawl out the coversheets and toss them in the box. My schedule kind of went to hell while I was writing the damn things; I thought I was the worst one off in my course and then I went in today for the "let's make sure our international students aren't terrorists" required meeting (consensus: even if we were, we could spare ten minutes out of our master plan to check in) and realized, nope, not actually. My papers are in! I have slept in the past three days! I didn't file for mitigating circumstances for my wrists because I seriously didn't think that the health centre would believe me! This is not true about other people (well, the wrist thing). So on the one hand I'm relieved, on the other hand I'm mildly aggravated because maybe I just want to wallow in my misery for a little bit.

By the way, aside from whining about writing, this is the sort of thing I tweet when I'm eyes-deep in papers and loopy as all get out:




I swear it made sense in my head.
bedlamsbard: test: research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing (research (girlyb_icons))
Sometimes I wonder if I would be better at putting together a coherent argument if I wasn't so good at bullshitting, but then where would my word count go? (Not that I can't put together a coherent argument, at least going by my grades, but I bet I would be better at it if I did my papers at least a week in advance.)

Yeah, it's that time of year again.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (stories that can't be told (isapiens))
Well, last night was...horrific.

My wrists got really bad on Wednesday and have been hovering it "terrible, so terrible" since then, to the extent that I sit around wondering if mixing ibuprofen and paracetamol is a good idea (apparently, according to my flatmate, who heard it from her GP) since ibuprofen on its own does nothing and paracetamol doesn't do much either, but does slightly more, and also seriously wondering how fucked I am for the papers I have to write this weekend. (One of my coursemates suggested going to the health center and asking for mitigating circumstances re: the papers, so I'll keep that in mind for Monday if I'm still messed up by then.)

Last night the administration for my building told us they were going to turn the water off from 8:00 to 11:00 to do some routine maintenance, so I thought, okay, I'll shower at 11:00 and go to bed at midnight because I had to get up at 7:00 this morning. WELL. The water did not come back on until 1:30. (It turns out they changed it, which I only saw when I got in the elevator this morning where they'd posted a sign saying basically, "Ha, we changed the times from 10:30 to 1:30 because we are JUST THAT AWESOME." Because obviously at 8:00 at night everyone in this building goes in the elevator.) AND THEN the fire alarm started going off for a couple seconds at a time at fifteen to forty-five minute intervals -- I counted at least ten times, but it might have been more, because after the first four I stopped getting up to bitch about it on Twitter and had also figured out that the fire alarm wasn't actually going off in an, "evacuate, evacuate!" sort of way. And I didn't get to shower before going to bed, either -- I hate going to bed unshowered, so I was lying in bed at three in the morning wondering if it was worth it to just get off and have a quick shower, and then the fire alarm would go off again, and repeat ad infinitum until 7 am, when I finally could get up and -- for the first time in ages, I actually cannot remember the last time I took a shower in the morning -- shower.

The fire alarm boxes/system/whatever/thingymajig was still screeing faintly when I left to go to uni to meet one of my coursemates for coffee -- well, tea for both of us -- before the trip. OH BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE, because for most of the day I had a BRAND NEW horrific terrible agony in my right wrist, which was manageable in the morning, but got progressively worse all afternoon, so while we were wandering around Caerleon and Caerwent I was clutching my wrist and cursing faintly to myself and praying for the painkillers to kick in, and not appreciating the nice Roman ruins at all. (Oh, yeah, we went to Wales. Also the Cotswolds! Very pretty. Only rained a little.) My impression of the afternoon -- in the morning we did Chedworth Villa -- is kind of taken by the terrible pain in my wrist, which seriously was a whole new kind of pain and which I did, in fact, wake up with -- I think I might have slept on it funny? But I don't know. Of course I spent a large portion of the day mildly nauseous, since we were bumping around in the back of the Land Rover, and couldn't eat anything because again: mildly nauseous. The painkillers finally kicked in on the way back to Leicester, presumably while I was lost in the sweet oblivion of sleep, but my right now my left wrist is starting to kick up a fuss, ugh.

Also my cold, having thankfully been gone most of the morning, appears to have returned. I just...I hate this so much, you guys. Read more... )

Okay. I'm going to go cry in the shower now and drink this adorably-named cold medicine in the hopes that it will kill both the cold and the minor, minor wrist pain (BUT IT'S STILL THERE) and then try and write at least a paragraph of at least one paper. (Like, I'm not worried about the fact I have to write 9-10K in three and a half days, I can do that easy. I just hope it's a coherent 9K and that I have enough sources.)

Also the other day I bought a book with the tagline "Meet the Godfather of Sherwood Forest" because when I'm stressed I make objectively terrible retail therapy decisions. (It will either be amazing or awful. I will let y'all know.) You will be proud to know that I did not today at Caerleon buy a book called "Augustus: The Godfather of Europe" (or something along those lines) because I don't like Augustus all that much (or at all) and also I read enough about Rome as it is, I don't need to read about Rome for fun.

On the bright side, M. and I had a cheerful discussion about which historical figures we had crushes on: Hannibal for me and Caesar for her. This led to me saying, "What, doesn't everyone want to get in on this discussion of what emperor they'd like to bang?" and everyone in the Land Rover going, "WAIT WHAT IS GOING ON BACK THERE WAIT WE DON'T WANT TO KNOW" including our course director, who is a Very Important Roman Archaeologist (Or Something). You're Romanists, guys! This is a very important question! And then M. and I both agreed that if we were going to stretch this to the Byzantines, Theodora would probably be a bunch of fun.

When we're not hating everything in the world or getting into bitchfights over how fucking fucked up classics is as a field (answer: so fucked up, jesus christ, SO FUCKED UP. Classics is the most fucked up of all the liberal arts. Like, you have no idea if you haven't been subjected to some of the infighting. I'm not even sure I should call it classics, because there are classicists and then there are ancient historians and then there are classical archaeologists and ninety percent of the time they all hate each other and think the others are wrong, so wrong, so terribly terribly wrong. And somewhere in there are art historians, too, and it's classics, so it subdivides in terrifying ways), classics people can be a lot of fun. (I wonder if Hellenists are as terrifying as Romanists. Probably. I've heard some stories.)

I...would say something about the sites we saw, except I don't really know what to say. We saw some ruins, they were nice, we were almost run over by a horde of Welsh schoolchildren, I found out that the National Trust sells William Wilberforce Freedom Ale or something. I will continually find it amusing when ruins are displayed with an archaeologist's kit abandoned in the middle, as if to say, "Yes. This is how it's done. Here are some brushes and a small trowel." (They should show off the mattocks. Mattocks are awesome. Seriously, that's what I took away from Cambridge. MATTOCKS ARE AWESOME.) I guess I also saw part of a skeleton at Caerleon, but that was the site where I spent most of the half hour we were in the museum clutching my wrist and trying not to cry or swear too loudly since there were people not from my course present.

The Cotswolds were pretty, though. I am always surprised at how many sheep there are everywhere. (I mean, besides in the middle of Leicester, no sheep here. But like everywhere else.)
bedlamsbard: animals: a cougar standing on a tall rock (girlyb_icons) (a high place (girlyb_icons))
Oh gods I should have looked at this dissertation proposal a week ago, now I'm kind of scrambling because I AM A GENIUS. (It is due on Tuesday. I will be frantically e-mailing my supervisor all weekend. I hope he's aware that he's my supervisor.) (I think we can safely say that I am not actually the most-prepared MA student in the world.) (He's probably aware. Well, he's probably guessed. I mentioned the topic to him last week, and then looked extremely shifty whenever he talked to my course as a whole.) (I AM THE ACTUAL WORST, OKAY.) (Well, at least I have a topic.)

*

I seriously have to get out of England and go home for a couple of weeks. OH WAIT I'M NOT ON TOP OF THAT EITHER.

*

Yeah, it's that time of year again.

*

Let's not even discuss my final projects. THEY'RE PAPERS, JUST CALL THEM PAPERS, WHAT THE FUCK, ENGLAND. "Project" makes it sound so fluffy. IT AIN'T FLUFFY, IT'S A 5K POSTGRADUATE CRITICAL RESEARCH PAPER.

*

My fraying nerves fray even further, an autobiography, by Bedlam (which also accurately describes my state of mind).

*

Today's Hobbit art rec theme is villains, a theme for which I have barely scraped enough art without dipping into LotR or Silmarillion characters, or too far into book-inspired rather than movie-inspired. (Weirdly, I have actually not run into a whole lot of Smaug artwork. I'm sure it's out there, because, you know, GIANT DRAGON and the book's been out since 1937, but still. I have seen two separate dragons I have never heard of before and thus assume that they are from the Silmarillion, but no Smaug. WHAT? Okay, there's some Smaug.)

taking tea by [tumblr.com profile] bridgioto
Gollum by [deviantart.com profile] cg-warrior
Thieves! Fire! Murder! by [deviantart.com profile] dragonsoul2
Azog the Defiler and the Great Goblin by [tumblr.com profile] dwalinroxxx
Azog the Defiler by [deviantart.com profile] axlsalles

(I guess I could have added a lot of Thranduil art to this, but I don't really think of Thranduil as a villain? And I recently realized that I have no giant spider art.)

ETA: Literally two seconds after I posted this I found a really nice Smaug. Oh, well, next time.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (archer (fading_melody))
Today's hair was a Caryatid-inspired hairstyle (tutorial here), because hair and Classics, two of my favorite things! Except if I ever decide to do that many fishtail braids again, please shoot me. It took me thirteen and a half minutes to do each braid, and there are fifteen FIVE of them; two braids in, and at the point where I could put on my glasses and my headphones, I just sat down and watched last night's episode of Revenge while braiding, and had just started pinning the side braids up when the episode ended. Fishtails look cool but they're so damn fiddly, man.

ETA: And it took forty minutes to take the fishtails out, too. Fishtails don't leave cool waves behind the way three- or more- strand braids do, they just sort of frizz.

*

Classes started again today, which was...I don't know. My Monday class is a four pm class, which is always mildly aggravating, though also the reason I can spend an hour and a half doing my hair. I'm pissed off that I wasted my vacation, since my answer to "what did you do?" was, "Didn't leave Leicester for five weeks, watched seven seasons of Spooks, had some health problems." Although I'm weirdly proud of myself for being able to actually say "I had (and still have) some health problems," because, yeah, I did and I do. My wrists are still messed up and then there's my mental/emotional state, which is...fragile...at the moment.

*

I want a certificate of achievement for not burning down the world when I finish this year. This will, of course, be null and void if I actually succeed in lighting anything on fire which isn't supposed to be on fire.

(Last night was kind of a night of rage. I wish I wasn't so freaking conscientious, sometimes I really want to break things but the most I ever do is rip up paper and then I feel bad about it. Once I hung up on my dad and threw my phone into a pillow. I'm pretty sure that was my big teenage rebellion.)

*

I am very tired.

*

Today's Hobbit art rec theme is archers and archery. It's not as single-character as you might think!

Beware the Sea by [deviantart.com profile] sceithailm
Fili by [tumblr.com profile] larbestaaargh
Archery Lesson by [tumblr.com profile] lookimadeasomething
Dis and Frerin by [tumblr.com profile] kannibal
Arrow of Durin by [deviantart.com profile] studiomia
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (art of study (girlyb_icons))
Apparently I took my goal of only doing 50% of the things at the last minute instead of 97% of the things at the last minute to mean, when having two essays due the same day, write one leisurely over the period of several days and write the second one at the last minute.

...I didn't mean it that literally.

I'm seriously gonna hate myself tomorrow and Tuesday when I'm vomiting up 3K on the archaeological evidence of Roman slavery at 5 am.

*

Meanwhile, I just read an article that had me literally yelling at the computer screen. Gods, academia, please change.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (brothers (icondothat))
Today I did a mental catalog of all the tea I own and came up with fourteen. FOURTEEN. Eight black, two green, two chai, one oolong, one herbal. What even. (Five loose-leaf, eight bag, one that kind of powdery instant stuff that I haven't really gotten around to drinking because it was behind all the other tea.)

Today I also drank too much black tea and got jacked up on caffeine, which basically means I can't do anything functional until I come down. I hit the upper point of the caffeine high at the same point I hit pre-essay panic and my right wrist started acting up, which, let me tell you, terrible, terrible combo.

I really should be putting more effort into these essays. I really should be more worried about these essays, considering I only just started doing research for the other one and they're still do the same day. (But the first one is about half-done and I figure I can blather on about rams and coins and the Romans being batshit and why the fuck do the majority of the main texts in this field predate WORLD WAR II for most of the rest.)

Today I read a book about Graeco-Roman Slave Markets, Fact or Fiction? (what a weird fucking way to phrase that), and while the actual Graeco-Roman part was pretty blah, she started out talking about early modern/modern slave markets and I was equal parts disgusted and inspired (TO WRITE), which was really weird. I also blanked on the fact that there is an actual slave market in VotDT until I was mostly done with the book, and belatedly remembered that one of my favorite restaurants in NOLA used to be a slave market. Yeah, weird times. (This is one of those times when I'm equal parts doing research for a paper and for Dust, as well as out of sheer horrified curiosity.)

*

Hobbit art recs: ship art! (all different pairings this time)

Fili/Kili by [tumblr.com profile] megatruh (NSFW, incest)
Dwalin/Thorin post Battle of Azanulbizar by [profile] pandakriwilz
Thorin/Dis by [tumblr.com profile] kaetiegaard (NSFW, incest)
Bilbo/Bofur by [tumblr.com profile] kaciart
Thorin/Kili by [tumblr.com profile] lanimalu (incest)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (britannia (girlyb_icons))
For the first time in four, almost five years, my desktop background isn't Narnia. SHOCKING.

It's now this, by the way. YUM. God, I'm shallow; my previous backgrounds have been nicely neutral Narnia wallpapers and Cair Paravel concept art (that one is by Henrik Tamm and is, for those interested in such things, an image that should be kept in mind when considering Murder Island). Current background on my baby laptop is one of the promo shots from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and the last time I had the netbook in class I kept mousing out of my notes to stare at Thorin and Fili's handsome faces. Pretty sure Nicola, who was sitting next to me, noticed. OH WELL. It's not like I wasn't still paying attention. I mean, paying attention to Gallia Narbonensis, I mean.

*

Maltesers are my new favorite thing. I gave up jelly babies for Lent -- uh, I don't actually observe Lent? But I had a problem and Lent made a nice excuse to go cold turkey -- but I appear to have replaced them with chocolate, all the chocolate, because since I gave up jelly babies I've eaten way a box of Thornton's truffles and a heckuva lot of chocolate. Oh, well, there are worse sins, and besides, chocolate is the traditional remedy for grievous bodily harm. Or whatever my ongoing wrist thing is.

But mmm, Maltesers.

*

Apparently, if something is mentioned in a novel or a fic and I actually come across it in real life, I will...well, actually, not necessarily buy it or try it, but I will at least think about it. And sometimes buy it because I'm shocked it's actually real.

This reminds me of when I first got to New Orleans in 2008; I was in a van with a bunch of other new freshmen, mostly not Southerners, and we were being driven around uptown, where we saw...a Winn-Dixie. And we had a collective reaction of, "HOLY FUCK WINN-DIXIE IS REAL?" Because of Because of Winn-Dixie, of course, which is one of those books that a lot of American schoolkids have to read.

(To be fair, I'm sure we all remember my pre-Cambridge freakout where I went, "OH MY GOD IS ENGLAND FICTIONAL IS EVERYTHING FAKE," because...readers' brains are on the special crack, y'all, and when you only read about things it's hard to translate 'em to the real world. At this point, I'm fairly sure that England is not in fact fictional, just parts of it.)

*

I really hope I don't blank out at some point during the writing of this paper and actually type, "Because the Romans were batshit insane and yet it worked for them."

Or if I do, I hope I at least catch it and rephrase it to something properly academic before it goes to TurnItIn and a printer, despite the fact that I don't think SJ would agree. (Professor H at Tulane would! But I don't think SJ here would.) (If anyone were to check the faculty lists, it is blindingly obvious who I am talking about here.)

*

I really need a new eyeglasses prescription, but I don't know if I want to try going to a UK optometrist, sigh. I also need a haircut, because it's starting to really bug me that my hair was cut unevenly the last time I had it cut a year ago. OTOH, I really appreciate that my hair is now long enough that I can do one of those braids that I always wanted and have my hair stay in it fifty percent of the time. (And yeah, I can do complicated shit with my hair if I have the energy for it, but I am actually talking about a single plain French or Dutch braid here.)

*

Ugh, when these papers are over -- although I am currently putting in a disturbing lack of effort, sadly -- I am going to take a book and do something obnoxiously normal like go sit in a coffeeshop and drink tea and read. I currently have two volumes of the Journal of Roman Archaeology out from the library and have been renewing them like clockwork every two days, and I think at that point I kind of actually hit the, "Wow, grad school," part of my life.
bedlamsbard: test: research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing (research (girlyb_icons))
Well, the good news is that I have 454 words of paper #1 written, the bad news is I haven't started paper #2. (For reference: because my professor apparently hates all his grad students, they're due on the same day -- two different classes, same professor.) At least I am, at the moment, reasonably confident about the quality of my prose, if not necessarily the quality of my research. As [personal profile] aella_irene said, if I can write 20,000 words on murderous architecture, I can write 3K on the startling lack of modern research on the Roman navy of the Middle Republic and 3K on archaeological evidence of the Roman slave trade. (The latter is the one I have no research on yet.)

Probably the really pathetic thing is that this is not even the least prepared I've ever been about a paper or set of papers. Thank you, undergrad; I do research more than a week in advance of a deadline now! And thank you, undergrad, for letting me know that I am in fact fully capable of writing a ten page paper in about twelve hours and typing sixty pages or so over the course of three or four days. (This was my last finals week senior year. Good times. My hands cramped up and I was incapable of typing. Good times. I'm pretty sure I started drinking after that -- no, wait, I figured out I liked tequila right before that. Uh, this sounds worse than it was.)

*

My right wrist keeps popping and it's extremely annoying. I swear I almost dislocated it or sprained it or something when the timer went off for my 20 minutes of paper writing (more tomorrow, I just needed to get something started) because it kept twinging for about fifteen minutes afterwards. Stupid thing.

*

I've started watching Elementary. I'm about five minutes in and it's fabulous, and -- okay, I honestly didn't know I needed this, but it's so refreshing to see that an Asian-American woman as a main character on a mainstream American TV show. I've gone almost my entire life without seeing characters who look like me, act like me, have a similar cultural background to me, in media, and I didn't think it would mean that much. I said the same thing a few months ago, when I read Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken -- the main character is Japanese and British -- and it's...shocking. I never thought that it would be something I even wanted in my life; it's very unexpected. But it's kind of an amazing feeling. I've always thought of my background as a combo between something very weird and very ordinary, though not necessarily or mostly because of being half-Japanese; that's so much a part of me that it only really comes up when I'm having a race-related crisis. (This happens every few months or so, sometimes more often; I think I had one last week, but it was a small one.)

Anyway. I love Joan.

*

Hobbit rec posts: Drinking! shall be the theme for the day.

cheers! by [tumblr.com profile] lissinator
in the pub by [deviantart.com profile] villidia
beer pong by [tumblr.com profile] deckitout
you're drunk, bro by [deviantart.com profile] maxkennedy
Young Dwalin, Balin, and Thorin by [tumblr.com profile] doublenegativemeansyes
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (britannia (girlyb_icons))
Ah, yes, I'm managing to lapse back into oh shit panic panic PANIC stress/anxiety zone because, ahahaha, I can't tell time and I have papers due on the 12th. HALP. (I have very little research done, but I have books out from the library; that counts, right?) (And yeah, that's papers plural, because they're both due the same day, to the same professor. Thanks a lot, Simon.)

*

I went up to London with 5/7 ARW people and the Class Med boys for an artifact handling session at the British Museum, where we got to go into a fancy-ass back room which looked like something out of a movie. It had a second story of bookshelves with a balcony that went all 'round the room and a spiral staircase going up to it! And then we got taken around the guts of the BM, which was creepy, and into some of the rooms that used to be displays but are now closed off because they don't have the money to keep them up and/or staff them, which was also creepy, because it was these shadowed rooms with these giant blocks of stone and marble standing around, some of them boxed up, others partially wrapped up, and sometimes weird bits like a giant stone foot. (...in retrospect, I kind of wish I'd done this trip before I wrote the last few chapters of Dust.)

After that we went to Sir John Soane's Museum, which is also creepy and also had sizable and not so sizable chunks of stone and marble in various odd places, after which we were technically done for the day, but a lot of us had later trains, so about five of us went across the street to the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, and if you just got to "Royal College of Surgeons" and went OH NO, you pretty much have the right response; if I never see another human fetus in a jar or the head of a bird or a dissected syphilitic penis again it will be too soon. Best viewed in the company of four other horrified archaeology students who are all going, "THANK GOD WE JUST DO POTS," I feel.

After that, the remaining other ARW girl took off, and I hung out with the Class Med boys for the next few hours, because I had nothing better to do and I wasn't really in the mood to wander aimlessly around London alone until my train. ([personal profile] aella_irene and I were supposed to meet, but there was a hiccup.) The Class Med boys are quite nice, and I think I might actually know their names now. (There are only three of them, but we've never been properly introduced, so despite being in class with them since the beginning of the year I wasn't entirely sure what the names of 2/3 were. The third one I had another class with.) (At this point I feel I should maybe add that Class Med is short for Classical Mediterranean, which is the other archaeology MA course that has to do with the classical world. They do Greece as well; we technically just do Rome.) I had a much later train than everyone else, so after they took off, I ended up wandering around St. Pancras for two hours. I may have tripped in Foyles and bought books, whoops.

*

Still resisting the urge to write a Hobbit historical Roman-era AU, though I keep poking it tentatively 'round the edges. I'm probably saved by having two papers to write in the next ten days.

*

Hobbit art recs: Thorin and young Fili and Kili

Play with us, Uncle! by [tumblr.com profile] piiib
Uncle Thorin by [tumblr.com profile] kadeart
bedtime stories by [tumblr.com profile] flatbear
Thorin returning home by [tumblr.com profile] kaciart
Tear by [deviantart.com profile] em-mika

Oh, yeah, I can totally do another few sets with that same theme, since it's barely scratching the surface of my frankly alarming collection.

Double feature, since I missed a few days this week; Thorin and grown-up Fili and Kili

Reflection by [deviantart.com profile] murr-ma-ing
Relief by [tumblr.com profile] lorna-ka
get up already! by [tumblr.com profile] lanimalu
Fili and Kili watching over an injured Thorin by [tumblr.com profile] kaciart
Heart of Gold by [deviantart.com profile] maelstromarts
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (haunted (elec3nity))
One of these days I should actually get around to going to the Wednesday seminar series if only to see the cakes, because my department does themed cakes based on whatever that week's lecture subject is. I've seen pictures of some online and occasionally they're quite good. (I'd post a link, but I can't remember where I saw it.) Unfortunately I always forget to go to the seminar series because it happens to take place exactly at the time I usually make dinner. Awkward. Annoying. Maybe I will make it this Wednesday, since it's on technologies of the gibbet and sadly I got more excited when I saw that than I did about the hill fort massacre last week (which I did not attend). Apparently there's also going to be champagne, for Richard III reasons. Though I don't drink champagne, so there's that.

Perks of being in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester: you get all the freaking Richard III jokes in your e-mail inbox. ALL OF THEM. Wait, did I say "perks"? (Sometimes we also get 50 Shades of Grey jokes, too. *eyeroll* Though aside from job notifications for stuff I'm not remotely qualified, mostly the listserv tends to be various problems with the restrooms in the SAAH. Mostly the ladies, but there have been one or two e-mails about the men's, too.) Aww yeah, graduate school.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (acropolis (girlyb_icons))
I don't think I've been this quiet on my journal for a long time -- I mean, if you discount the Avengers not-really-fic and the to-do lists. Anyway. The term's winding down; I had my last class yesterday and I'm going back to the U.S. on Sunday with two 5K papers ("projects," they're technically called. Whatever, they're totally papers) to write over winter vacation and turn in during the exam period in January. Sadly, one is due January 14, which means I have to come back to the UK before my birthday on the 12th, because I might need to use the UoL library. I really dislike spending my birthday away from home (I've done it three of the last four years), and I'm not sure that my flatmate N. is going to be back by then either, so I may be spending it alone. Moping. Probably doing some serious retail therapy. (I have no idea how I'm going to get all these books home in September. Or August. If I get into graduate school. No, I haven't applied yet; I've already watched one deadline fly by.)

Leicester (both the city and the university) are nice. I live pretty close to City Centre, so I tend to go down there and bum around the shops and Highcross when I'm bored or stir-crazy. When I come back in January I'm going to have to expand my territory to Queens Road, since I was there for dinner with the cohort on Tuesday and I saw two used bookstores and a yarn shop. (It's on the other side of Victoria Park, on the other side of the university, so it's a bit out of my way.) The university is...I dunno, it's a university. I don't live on campus (well, no one does), so I don't spend a lot of time there; I go for class, for meetings with professors, or to use the library (which I don't study in, because I'd rather take out the books I need and haul them back to my flat, so I can mainline tea and make a mess and watch episodes of NCIS:LA in between articles and paragraphs). I like my department, which is great; I'm going to be very sad next term because I won't have my Households & Domesticity in the Ancient World class with my two awesome profs who are, have I mentioned, awesome? I love them. (That was an awesome class.) I wrote my essay on textile production in the Greek and Roman worlds, ranted about sexism in archaeology (I can expand, if anyone's interested), and started spinning again because, well, I kept reading about it.

I actually do like being a graduate student, because I get to geek out about things I find exciting and other people either (a) also find them exciting or (b) at least understand what I'm talking about. I mean, I'm probably not the most dedicated student in the department, or even in my course, but still -- it's nice being with people who get excited about the same, or at least similar, things as you. This is problematic, since my plan is still to go and do early modern history and part of my brain keeps going, "But...classics is kind of awesome..." THIS IS NOT CLASSICS. This is Roman (and Greek) archaeology and ancient history. Not the same thing. Related: but not the same thing. And classics fucked me up. (Need to remember that. This is actually a pretty big deal.)

Anyway: I now own a truly ridiculous amount of tea, because in my defense, it was (well, still is) on sale at Morrison's, and there's so much more variety of black tea in England and...uh...okay, so I have a whole lotta tea.

The weather...the weather is whatever. It's cold. I have a down jacket and a cashmere scarf and lambswool gloves and a handknitted wool hat, knee-high boots (one pair is even fleece-lined, though they also have a 2 1/2 inch-heel), and sweater tights to wear under my jeans if need be. My room has a heater and my duvet is surprisingly warm. I really wouldn't mind going back to the South, but at least it doesn't rain as much as I expected. Thankfully. (Now that I've said that, the entire month of January will probably be rain.) I have had my moments of really missing being able to wander around in shorts and a tanktop, or cleavage-y sundress. And sandals. I miss sandals. (And gumbo, and red beans and rice, and jambalaya, and beignets. What is New Orleans, a blood disease?)

My desk is a mess, and I would really like to at least put it in some semblance of order before I go home.

Also I got addicted to jelly babies. This stuff is like candy crack. Fortunately the store brand ones at Morrison's are cheap. Hopefully I don't give myself cavities.

In conclusion: I can't believe I forgot to go to Beowulf by Torchlight at the Jewry Wall (Roman ruins and museum, need to visit again) earlier this month and also, I have still never had mincemeat. Sometime in the spring I want to go visit Bath again, and I want to take this Celtic dyeing class at Flag Fen in January but I don't know how I'd get there from Leicester (take a train to Peterborough and a cab to Flag Fen, maybe?). (There's also Bronze Sword Casting and Roman Mosaics and Basket Weaving and Medieval Clothing, but I have a taste for fiber arts, plus there's a spindling addition.)

oof.

Nov. 16th, 2012 12:25 pm
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (art of study (girlyb_icons))
My brain has apparently chosen graduate school to be that period of time when my body ceases to want to function on a normal schedule. I used to be so good at going to bed and getting up at reasonable hours! Like, I still think I'm not that bad compared to some college students I have known (I am generally in bed before 1 am), but it is personally distressing to me to be getting up after 10 am. Today it was quarter to eleven. Since I have to catch a 7 o'clock train on Sunday...this should be fun.

Actually, one of the more frustrating things about this is that I am, actually, waking up at about 8:30 almost every day. I wake up, I get up and pee, and then I...go back to bed for another hour and a half to two hours. Almost every day. Except for the day when I have class at nine, whereupon I set my alarm for eight and actually get up at about eight-fifteen in order to get dressed and eat something. Two weeks ago I almost slept through an eleven o'clock class. And it's not that I'm not setting an alarm, because I usually am on days when I have class, even if it's only an afternoon class, it's that I'm waking up before the alarm, turning the alarm off, and then going back to sleep. Waking up, I'm so not doing it right.

I don't have an alarm clock -- I'm using my phone as an alarm, which is the same thing I did all through undergrad. I guess one solution might be to put my phone on my desk instead of on my nightstand, where I actually have to get up to go turn it off, but since my phone is also my clock, then I just won't know what time it is when I inevitably wake up at an odd hour. (I wish I had blinds rather than curtains, because the curtains here are hardcore and block out all light. Which is great for sleeping, not so great for waking up. I can't leave it open because then there's too much light; sometimes I twitch it open slightly, but sometimes even that much light bothers me. If the curtains are all the way closed, I can wake up to just a dim gray light that could be anywhere from six am to noon.) I guess I could also get a clock, but it would have to be digital, because I can't sleep with a ticking clock in the room. (Which is why I can't have my watch on the nightstand. Right now it rests on my desk and so far I've been unable to hear it, but during undergrad I had to wrap it in a mitten and shove in my desk drawer every night so that I couldn't hear it tick. No, really.)

*

now I'm going to talk about food and my eating habits )

*

Also I'm pretty sure I used to be a much better student in high school and undergrad. (On the other hand, maybe not? I mean, I do actually put a fair amount of work in, I just don't know how I stack up to the other students in my course, and I guess I'm not going to know if it's enough until I actually write my first assessed essay. Which is due next week. I thought it was due in two weeks, but hey, it turns out it's good to actually check the due date on the syllabus. At least I figured this out a week in advance, thus still having time to do research and write the paper. Uh, at least I hope I have time to write the paper, it's only 3K and I feel like I have, at this point, done an awful lot of research, though probably not enough.)

(We shall not even discuss the state of my PhD applications.) (Unbegun.)

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