feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I didn't get one of the grants to go to Germany this summer, and I was cool with that. I'd planned to spend half a month here and the other half home, alternating like, and get some reading in for the MA exam (February year 2).

Or, alternatively, if I can get my shit sorted and find something interesting, apply for grants to do field work for my thesis.

Today I got an email from the soon-to-be-former grad advisor (because he's the new department head) asking me to his office, which made me really nervous (because yikes, did I do something bad?) He said it was good news when I got there, and they got another $6000 grant from the foundation and I can go. I just need to make plans and such.

My options are to spend 6-8 weeks somewhere like the Goethe Institute or to be a Gasthörer at a university. (That's someone who goes to lectures but isn't officially at the university, and they work it out with the professors in advance.)

Benefit of B is that it's much cheaper, so that grant will go a lot further. 6 weeks at the Goethe Institute in June/July is half the grant already, then add airfare. Benefit of A is that I can focus on the language, rather than learning something in German. Which could be interesting, but as I'd only be there for like the middle third of a semester, I don't know what I'd actually be able to learn. Plus at the end, I can take the C1 exam.

I'm looking at a 4-week intensive in Hamburg followed by 2 weeks in Berlin. (I'd like to be back in the US for more than 1 week before classes start on August 10.) I'd have to take the C1 exam in Hamburg, because it's only offered at the end of the month, but ehn.

But sometimes tbh spending the summer chillin with my spouse and cat seems like a good idea... IDK. I haven't had a chance to talk to Ben about it and won't until Friday. *flail*

HI

10 Sep 2016 05:21 pm
feuervogel: (never too late)
I went to DragonCon and even got most of my homework done before I went, so I didn't have to spend half the con in my room studying. I still mostly just hung out with friends and looked at costumes, but it was worthwhile, because I got to see people I hadn't seen in a year.

Grad school continues apace. I'm still enjoying my 2 linguistics classes (History of German and Languages in Contact), and I think Teaching College German is going OK (thanks, Goethe course!). I'm not overly fond of the literature seminar, but I like the second book we're reading better than the first (so far; I'm only on chapter 2.) It's by Günter Grass, so it's dense and complex, sentence wise, and it looks like it's about modern right extremism, which is always interesting.

My classmates are generally nice, but I haven't really Made Friends with any of them. We spend time together at school and sometimes out of it (which reminds me, I want to ask our facebook chat if anyone wants to get dinner this week after either seminar or History of German). Part of it may be because I live a little over a mile away (and not in the same apartment complex as all the Germans apparently) but also because I'm really boring and come home and do homework at night and go to bed at 10.

Thankfully I'm busy enough with homework that I don't have time to sit around being sad about my extrovert battery draining (though dragoncon helped that a lot).

On which note, since I got groceries, cleaned the bathroom, and did some prep for the class I TA, it's time for dinner and some homework so I don't have to do ALL THE HOMEWORK tomorrow.
feuervogel: (hetalia germany with beer)
The 1st of August, right after I moved here but before I cut my finger, it rained really heavily for a while in the afternoon and overnight. There's some construction going on across from my department's building, which apparently is affecting the drainage, because the ground floor/basement (where the TA offices are, of course) flooded.

(The rain was kind of like this, taken 4 days later.)

University maintenance got there with dehumidifiers and fans and cleaned it up, but they had to replace the carpet (and probably some other stuff). One of the offices had tile under the carpet, so that added to the delay. So, long story short, none of the TAs have offices right now. My teaching mentor is letting me use her office to drop my stuff between classes and if I need to work quietly. There's also currently an empty office which the profs are letting us use in the meantime. They aren't sure when it's going to be finished, but they hope before the end of the month. (There are also 2 classrooms down there, which we need.)

These stitches are annoying the crap out of me, and I can't wait to get them out.

My apartment is an ongoing saga of maintenance requests. First, my hot water was nearly boiling when it came out of the tap. Apparently the hot water heater had been set as high as it goes. Then when I decided to try my mailbox key, it worked, but there was no point, because the lock mechanism was absent entirely. (A lot of mailboxes have that problem here.) I picked up a washer and nut and a flange off the ground, where there are dozens, got my wrench, and fixed it myself.

Then my air conditioner started leaking inside, which resulted in a new unit being installed, because the old one was clogged and pretty fucking gross actually. And now my oven doesn't work properly. I decided to make a pasta bake, turned on the oven, and the upper element (broiler) didn't heat at all. The lower element did, so it baked, but not efficiently at all. Also there was a mysterious smell of gas, which is doubly bizarre because there isn't even a gas hookup here.

Now for some more positive things.

I'm really excited about History of German, and there's a small conference that we're hosting in October, which is required for that class. It's during fall break, which is kind of a bummer, because I had planned to go home that 3-day weekend, but I'll survive. I can go the previous or following week, maybe. I'm done at 11 on Fridays, so if I don't have a lot to get done and don't have to wait too long for buses, I can head home in the early afternoon.

We're supposed to attend all departmental events, like conferences and colloquia and invited speakers, which I understand but I hope doesn't conflict with spouse visits.

The other grad students are nice. One of them is also a nerd and he has piercings (like, plugs and snakebites and a septum, etc) and he watches Steven Universe. There are 2 Germans and another American woman. I seem to be the only linguistics-focused person, but I'm ok with that. After the horrific experience of my residency, I was apprehensive about living alone and being in a place without people I know, but I think this should be better. (And I have friends a mere couple hours' drive away in Atlanta if I need it, and Ben's 5 hours away, rather than across the country.)

My course load this semester is History of German, Teaching College German, a post-war literature seminar (I don't recall the title), and Languages in Contact. Next semester I have 3 required courses and might be taking Russian 4 (I'll need to catch up/keep up on my own this term somehow).

I may or may not have explained earlier that I need a second non-English language for the MA, and I picked Russian for reasons. I took a year at UNC, and I was going to continue this semester but a) it doesn't fit into my schedule and b) it's an undergrad course and doesn't count toward university requirements of 12 graduate-level credits. But the program director and the Russian head are working with me to find something that works. Which is good! They seem to want us to succeed.

Now I'm going to see if I can find the new Steven Universe and watch that. And probably redo my toenails. Tomorrow's the first day of teaching! (I have accelerated elementary German, which is for people who've had some before but didn't place into 2000 level.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I was cutting carrots yesterday afternoon, and one of them rolled, resulting in (eventually) 3 stitches and a tetanus shot. About 2 hours after it happened, I drove myself to the closest urgent care (after getting the bleeding to stop enough to put a bandaid on, then waiting until I was sure I wasn't going to pass out and also drinking sugary tea; I also ascertained that the trip was covered by my NC insurance).

If I'd been home, I'd have yelled for Ben (or called him, if he had a job) to drive me to urgent care while I held a paper towel on my finger. I don't really know anyone here yet, but maybe I could have gotten one of the apartment people to drive me, but they probably wouldn't have wanted to wait.

I'm not super worried about future events, but I'm trying to decide which of the department staff to tell "ok, here are things that could happen; probably won't, but if they do, here's what to do."

I'll update more about my apartment and life here later. I'm so sick of driving across town for things at Target, though >:[ I've been here not quite 5 days, and I've gone to Target 3 times. This Target's layout is a fucking mess, too, so good luck finding anything.

Alaska!

17 Jul 2016 10:33 am
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
We had a great trip to Alaska. All flights were uneventful, and we successfully got on the boat at the appointed time. The scopolamine patch worked, and I learned that "wash the area after removal" doesn't mean "scrub it hard with a soapy rag," because that made a nasty, red, itchy spot that made it hard to place patch 3 (you alternate sides).

The weather was gorgeous most of the time--unusually sunny and warm. It was super cold when we had a small craft trip to look up close at a glacier, but that's to be expected.

And wildlife! So much wildlife. We were awakened by the leader at like 6:15 the first day because there were whales off the bow, so I bundled up for wind and cold and grabbed my camera and went out to see whales. There were whales like every morning. There were also brown bears with cubs, which were awesome. And we saw sea lions, sea otters, river otters, seals, puffins, and about a million bald eagles. Other people saw porpoises, but I missed them. Oh, and RAVENS. Lots of ravens.

Here are the photos I took with my phone. I took a bunch on the real camera, which has a wrist strap and optical zoom, mostly when we were in a small boat super close to the water. (I drop my phone a lot.) I need to pick the best from those and add them. Sometime...

We started in Juneau, visited Mendenhall Glacier, got on the boat, then went through the inside passage to Dawes Glacier, Petersburg, Elfin Cove, Glacier Bay NP, some Narrows, and other places, and ended in Sitka. They gave us a little map, and I drew the route on it. They had a laminated one they drew on every day.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Tomorrow I'm flying to Juneau for a National Geographic cruise. Anxiety brain is giving me all sorts of scenarios involving weather and flight delays (we have a 1-hour layover in Seattle) and missing the boat. Thanks, brain.
feuervogel: (food)
A friend (who just completed a master's) was making bentos for her lunches and posted about it on facebook, and I thought that was a cool idea (save money, eat nutritious lunches that aren't just PB&J every day), so I looked into it for myself. This friend suggested justbento.com, which I have mined thoroughly for vegetarian recipes (and recipe ideas). The blogger has a bento 101 series, which is basically "a bento is protein, grain, and fruit or veg" and "build up a stash in your freezer" and "things you already like to make are great."

So I decided to test out a recipe from her site (http://justbento.com/handbook/johbisai/japanese-dry-curry-with-soybeans-or-tempeh). We made it for dinner, and I put the last bit of rice in a container, dumped some more curry on it, and popped it in the freezer to see how it works that way. The recipe is amazing; I'd scale back on the curry powder (ours is hot) because it's more concentrated than with a regular soupy curry. (I used a little over a tablespoon, which is about what I use in the regular curry.) I want to try freezing the curry bit separately (in an ice cube tray?) to see how that goes.

I also made sweet potato and chickpea koftas from a cookbook I have (Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven). They're really good, but they don't form into patties like the recipe says they should. I scooped them up by large spoonfuls and dropped them into the skillet like weird cookies. Either I need to use less sweet potato or more chickpeas; I added extra flour, but that didn't help much. I ate them tucked into pita bread, which was delicious. Super filling, too. (I had 4, the pita, and a carrot.) I put 4 into the freezer in a little gladware thing. I bet it would also make a nice hummus-like spread, especially if I sauteed the garlic or used roasted.

There are a lot of things I want to try before I go to Georgia, so I can have a repertoire and a habit. I'm clipping a lot to my Evernote from both justbento and budgetbytes.com.

Two months! Ack!
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Since I last wrote, I've gone down to Athens to find an apartment. I looked mostly at complexes, but stopped by a few Craigslist roommates wanted places. One of them was almost perfect, but I didn't want to flake on the appointment I had the next morning, so I missed out because the other person who looked at it said yes first. Boo. So I went back to my favorite complex from the previous day, took measurements and a couple pictures, and filled out an application.

I don't know how long their application review process (background & credit check) takes, but hopefully I'll know where I'm living come August really soon. This place would let me move in Saturday the 30th, which is great, because Ben will (hopefully) have a new job by then and be less able to just fuck off to Georgia for half a week to help me move in. (He may need to take Monday off for the drive back, but 1 day is easier than 3.)

I'm making a list of what I can scavenge from the house and what I need to buy, and I'm organizing everything on a spreadsheet. As I pack things into boxes, I'm listing them and color coding so I know what I've packed already and don't have to go "augh did I already pack my extra pens? What about the hand towel?"

Of course, there are a lot of things I'm still using and will be, but we have an overabundance of dish towels and such, so into a box it goes. I'm most likely going to be leaving fall/winter things here until late September or October; I can put them into their usual off-season storage bins and set them aside, then if they fit in whatever vehicles we take (my MINI and a rented something), yay; if not, they can come down later. Not like Georgia is colder than here very often.

I also need to learn how to reupholster a couch. I thought mom knew, so I asked if she would come down and help, but she said that was all grandpa, and that was that. :P So DIY tutorials on the internet will be my friend. Anyone know of a particularly good one?
feuervogel: (happy)
I got my official acceptance letter from UGA in the mail yesterday, and now I have a million forms and things to fill out. I haven't gotten my funding offer from the department yet, but I have some unofficial news from the program director in email, so when that's official and formalized, I'll let y'all know.

So yeah, I'm going to Athens, GA, for 2 academic years to study German linguistics. Whee!

Updates

15 Mar 2016 02:34 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
We lost Claire a few weeks ago. It hurt too much to write about, so I didn't. It was very sudden; she had a blood clot, and there was nothing we could do.

My GP agrees with me that I have Raynaud's and probably some form of Ehlers-Danlos (hypermobility type).

I should be hearing back about grad school soon. Russian class is going well.
feuervogel: (happy)
Poker night was fun. I won/tied for first (I took my first hand with a full house). It was all people I already know, including two of my tai chi teachers (they're married). There wasn't a whole lot of Deep Conversation or anything, but it was nice.

Game night went well. We had 6 RSVPs, then one of them broke her leg, so we went down to 4 (+ me & Ben). We played Lego pictionary for a while, then switched to a ridiculous game called King's Blood, which is sort of like Uno x dominoes with anime-style drawings of people. Not a whole lot of Deep Conversation, though we had some "OMGWTF TRUMP" with our pizza. Some of the people I invited couldn't make it this month but wanted me to let them know about next month etc, so I'll call it a success. (Also it makes us clean the house, which otherwise wouldn't get done.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I was using my phone on the couch, like you do, reading facebook, and it gave me the 14% beep beep warning. A short time later, it was down to 11% or so (the red "plug in please" light hadn't started blinking, so it was over 10%). Very shortly thereafter it gave another beep beep warning and shut off.

Fuck it, I'm ordering that Moto X tomorrow. This isn't the first time the phone has turned off after going from a charge I ought to be able to get another 10 minutes or more of browsing on.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I've been vaguely looking at new phones since mine has a crappy GPS, and sometimes it's slow to respond when I start typing into the google box, and when I was driving to Athens in October, maps crashed when I was on I-85. Sometimes the touch screen doesn't respond quickly--there's one icon I consistently have to press 4 or 5 times to get it to open, and half the time when I'm in twitter trying to press the 'new tweet' button, I end up on the home screen because it read it as "back arrow" instead. The battery life isn't so great anymore.

Aside from that, it works fine. (And I can't be entirely certain that the touch screen response isn't related to the ice cubes I call fingers, but the other icons open fine.)

So I want to get a Moto X Pure, and the one I want is $450. It's unlocked, so I could put a foreign SIM in it when I travel. (I plan to unlock my current phone and put a German SIM in it when I travel, because the SIM I have is a micro SIM and the new one takes nano. Of course. But if I moved there, I could get a nano SIM for this phone. I just want the flexibility.)

But I can't convince myself that I need to spend the money right now. I mean, I get frustrated with my phone a lot, and I'd probably be happier with one that doesn't suck as much, but $450 is a lot of money. I keep asking Ben if I should get the phone, but he says "if you want" and other not helpful things. Because I want but I don't really need.

So I don't know. I don't want to hit "buy" and then be hit with buyer's remorse. I'll probably need a new computer toward the end of the year (especially if I get into UGA), and MacBook Pros run like $1300. (Do not suggest a Windows machine, thank you.) *flail*

I feel like I need permission to do it, because it's not critical, just something I want. Or could use. sigh
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I invited about a dozen local friends to a monthly game night at my house. Two responded yes, two responded "definitely maybe if we don't have other plans." Two can't make it because of school commitments. One would like to come sometimes. Silence from the rest so far. I guess I should send them a ping and ask for an RSVP by next Wednesday so we can plan appropriately, but that feels so pushy.

So I've made my move; now it's up to other people to respond.
feuervogel: (enemy birds)
So, I work from home, and I don't really see anyone outside the pub anymore. I've been too busy to throw a party for a while (though I intend to have a 40th birthday bash), and my entire social life consists of sitting with my husband on our couch.

This is ... inadequate.

I don't get invited to parties, or "hey, we haven't seen each other in ages, let's hang out this weekend," or anything where I can feel something like an emotional connection to someone other than my husband. (OK, some newish friends from the pub invited us to poker night next weekend, but that doesn't sound like the kind of thing where you can hang out and talk about stuff, since you're playing poker.)

I like doing stuff with people! But I don't know how to get people to invite me places. No one thinks of me when they think "people I want to have at my NYE party" or whatever. This is why I keep telling Ben I don't feel like I have any friends at all anymore. Even the people I was closest to who live on the other side of the country now I feel like I've drifted really far from.

I don't know how to make it better.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I have a mid-2011 11" MacBook Air, which has 384 MB of video memory, according to Apple. I recently hooked up a spare external monitor to it, and when I put Chrome on the extra display area, webpages load really slowly. Like, it's really hard to read tumblr because one image out of six will load.

I've been having problems with webpages not loading images if I've had the tab open for a while now (long before the external monitor), and usually if I closed the tab and reopened it, things were fine. (I initially thought I had to relaunch the whole browser, then I remembered that Chrome keeps each tab as a separate process, so closing one tab is as efficient and saves time.)

I told Ben that it got worse when I got the new monitor, and he was like "pffff, that's impossible." Then I told him again today, after clearing all my chrome settings and preparing to uninstall/reinstall it, because it works perfectly on the native monitor, and he said, "ok, well, maybe..." then some computer graphics mumbo jumbo I didn't quite catch. He suggested mirroring the display rather than extending it, but I really like being able to be reading tumblr (or playing dragons) and looking at twitter in the window below, so I don't really like that option. Also because setting it to mirror does awful things to the native screen resolution and display.

So I'm throwing this out here in case any of you know if that's a thing, or how to deal with it. I really like being able to edit text at a readable size (or see more of it at once) and sitting with my neck in a more natural position, so I'd like to keep this monitor.

RIP Luna

1 Dec 2015 02:43 pm
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
Today around 5, we're taking her back to the vet one last time. She always hated it, so we wanted to bring her home after the ultrasound for snuggles (and maybe some tortilla chips) and so she doesn't spend her last day entirely at the vet.

http://feuervogel.tumblr.com/post/134345994341/gotta-say-goodbye-to-this-sweet-face-today-love
feuervogel: (group hug)
We didn't get to SF as planned very late Monday night because our plane had a maintenance flag, which resulted in a 2-hour delay. We could have gone home and rebooked for a Tuesday AM flight, but going to Atlanta (and staying in a hotel on Delta's dime) meant we could get an earlier flight to SF. So we did that.

Tuesday we went to lunch with Mo & Enne, and we went shoe shopping, where I tried on the Vivs at the Fluevog shop, and now I really hope Santa brings me some shoe money. Then we BARTed over to Oakland, got dinner with Robynne & Starchy, then I tried on about a million bras at Robynne's shop (bought one). After that, we thought about going out to a tiki bar, but sitting down felt really good, so we had mixed drinks at home instead. I had a de la Louisienne, which is rye, Benedictine, vermouth, and Peychaud's. It was pretty awesome.

Wednesday I met several of my VP classmates for lunch, which was nice. I hadn't seen any of them since VP, and I missed them. I miss talking about writer stuff. After that, we went back to R's for our stuff, then took BART to a station where Ben's parents picked us up & dropped us off at our B&B. Dinner was at a Vietnamese place called Tamarine. I had a squash & sweet potato curry which was lovely.

Thursday we didn't do much until dinner, which was around 3:30 or 4. Ben's brother & his wife (and her parents--this was a packed house) made dinner. Ben's mom had Christmas, which was a bit excessive IMO. (Too many presents. Too many stocking stuffers. I don't need more Stuff! I need LESS!)

Friday we went for a walk at a nature preserve in Mountain View then had lunch. Ben and I went to Adam, Alexander, and Rachel's. We played a round of Sentinels of the Universe (where we ALMOST WON but the environment killed us a lot) then went up to Vynce's to hang out and play more games.

Our trip home was entirely uneventful.

Luna is sick and not really getting better. She doesn't have much of an appetite, and trying to convince her to eat is difficult. She's lost more weight since we were gone. She still loves Cheetos, though. IDK. CATS.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Heading off to San Francisco this week for Thanksgiving. Flying out at 5 pm and getting in super late, so I don't miss the last lecture of the semester in my Russian class. (On something really complicated and important: verbal aspect. Which the book explains poorly.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
November 18, 5:30 AM PDT - November 19, 5:30 AM PDT.

Come breed dragons! I'm in Fire Flight, if you want to join me there.

Stuff

10 Nov 2015 04:19 pm
feuervogel: (heart's desire)
I took the GRE a week ago and finally submitted my grad school application. I don't have official scores yet, but the computer told me when I was finished that I had 163 verbal and 155 math, on a scale of 130-170. (They rescaled it to make 50th percentile for math, around 152, actually in the middle, as opposed to 680, where it used to be. I am still rubbish at GRE math, but give me actual algebra problems to solve, and I am fine.) They can't give you a preliminary score on the essay part, obviously.

I have officially applied to grad school! This is terrifying. I haven't submitted my writing sample yet; I'm still working on making it not terrible. I want to get in, but I'm nervous about what will happen if I do, and scared I won't. And I won't know until probably April -_-

One of the professors I talked to while I was visiting last month said a PhD is worthwhile, because then you can teach at a university (adjuncting, not just full-prof). But I don't think I want to do that; I mean, it's a lot of work for crap pay. So I have no idea what I'd do with a PhD that I can't do with an MA.

So I've been researching what you can do with a Linguistics PhD (though German studies is also a possibility; I think I want to focus on sociolinguistics/dialects/ethnolects/language contact for my MA thesis, so ling is more appropriate probably.) And it's like, well, you can be a professor, or work for the government, or if you do computational linguistics you can work for machine translation places, or you could coordinate language education programs. (This is the most useful thing I've found thus far, and it's not that helpful.)

So anyway, friends, do any of you have experience with this sort of thing? I don't want to put myself through the torture of a PhD program if I'm not going to use the degree and if I don't need to. (I'm looking into programs both here and in Germany. Not very seriously at the moment, bookmarked for later.) I haven't completely ruled out the idea--if during my MA studies, I read a paper that's really cool and I get inspired for a PhD thesis, yay; if not, I'll have an MA and be able to teach community college here & elsewhere. I'm like 99% sure I don't want to do a PhD because of the effort etc.

Let's see... I took my car in for an alignment today because they told me my back tires were wearing unevenly, and they need to replace the control arms ($500) and at least the rear tires ($250), preferably all (another $250). I said just to do the rear tires, because this is all really expensive. Hopefully they'll have it done today so I can get my car back before I have to go to class tomorrow.

Speaking of class, Russian is going well. It's not too hard yet, but I'm waiting for the shoe to drop in second-year. First-year is all basics, like all 6 cases, verbal aspect, and verb conjugations; I don't even know what's in second semester yet.

Um, I'll be having a fandom yard sale sometime eventually, once I have time to catalog (photograph) my stuff. Which could be a while.

Things

5 Oct 2015 04:52 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I'm doing pretty well in Russian class. I think I have a 98% in the class. We've just encountered the first weird thing--verbs of motion. The "weird" part for me isn't that they distinguish between going by foot or by car, or that they take the accusative after prepositions (German does both, though the former with less strictness than Russian). No, the weird part is that you distinguish between uni- and multi-directional movement. (Which my professor explains as determinate vs indeterminate, and I think that's better than in the book.) It makes sense, but it's not intuitive, so I have to think about it a lot.

I have a vocabulary quiz on Wednesday, and there's a lot of vocabulary this chapter. And a lot of verbs. Hooray for flash cards. We also have our oral midterm on Friday (or Monday; I plan to volunteer for Friday). We get *practice* in class on Thursday. I am surprised at how much hand-holding there is.

I'm driving down to UGA next week, and this time I'm actually going to see the department and campus with students in it. Which will probably make me go "argh, students, go away," like Chapel Hill does. I'm excited but also nervous. I want to be enthusiastic but not trying too hard, and that's ... a difficult balance to strike. This time I'm staying in a hotel practically on campus, so I can walk to various campus-adjacent things as well as to campus. I'll be leaving right after class on Wednesday, or as soon as the bus gets me to my car (2:40ish) and I pop into WSM for a sandwich or something to eat for dinner on the road. It's 5 hours plus stops & traffic (I'll hit Charlotte at 5, which will suck, so I may stop at a rest area and eat my sammich), so I'll get in pretty late. Well, 9 or so, which isn't *late*, but I typically prefer to arrive places around 7.

I haven't gotten any editing to speak of on the novel since the semester started, but I'd like to start setting parts of Tuesday & Saturday (or Sunday) aside for that. Weekends keep being busy with things I can't do during the week; Tuesdays I end up running errands a lot. (Tomorrow I need to get an oil change, and I have to learn so much vocabulary...)

That's my super exciting life right now.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Let's see. I started playing Flight Rising, this dragon breeding game with forums and mini-games and monster battles. It's fun. Look at my pretty dragons.

I started Russian 101 on Wednesday. So far we've learned the alphabet and the weird Russian pronunciation rules (regressive assimilation, vowel reduction, palatalized consonants). It's very strange being in a class with 18-year-olds. For example, yesterday, two classmates were talking before class, and one of them asked when Chernobyl happened. I answered immediately and without thinking, "1986." They both were like "whoa, you just knew that!" So I said, "Well, I was alive then..." They asked what it was like, and I don't really remember, because I was 10, you know? But there was a lot of confusion and no internet to get information from, just TV news and newspapers, and it wasn't like Russia was terribly open about what was going on over there...

So yeah. It's weird. I don't want to be aloof or standoffish, but I also have this "well, I'm a LOT older than y'all, and it's weird to try to be friends with you because it could come off really creepy." So we'll see how things go.

Dragon Con is in less than two weeks oh fuck.

Still working on revising the spy novel. I'm getting close to the part where things get exciting, but there's a bit of rewriting I need to do, not just sentence-level revision, so, ugh. Also I don't have as much time per day to write, so I'll probably do something like spend a couple hours each day on the weekends and squeeze in some during the week. We'll see.

Helsinki won the 2017 WorldCon bid, so I'm planning to go to that. As long as it doesn't conflict too badly with grad school (if I get in). Their dates would get me back to the US about a week before the semester starts, which could make, you know, course planning exciting, especially if I go to Germany for language class on a grant.

But let's not put the cart before the horse, here. I haven't finished my application yet, because I haven't taken the GRE yet and I haven't uploaded transcripts. They at least take unofficial ones at the application stage, which is great, because those are free and things I mostly have on hand.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I posted this on tumblr, so sorry if you see this multiple places.

I’m going to get this damned novel to the point where I can call it complete and send it to people (what I call a first draft). Here’s how I’m gonna do it.

For the next month, I’m going to revise, rewrite, or write at least 2 scenes a day. (A scene is the basic unit of composition in Scrivener, which is what I use. You then compile scenes into chapters. I find this much more manageable than writing in Open Office, perhaps due to the aphantasia.)

Once the semester starts and I have 4 hours of class a week, plus a good hour of travel on top of it, I’ll work for an hour before class and an hour after homework. (I’m learning Russian. There will be homework.)

I have other things on my schedule, like working out, class prep if my ad-hoc class happens, and (hopefully) making Shatterdome ATL 3 happen, so I’ll have a nice busy schedule.

If I can, and all goes well, I’ll have a finished draft by the end of the year. (90 scenes/2 scenes a day=45 days, but no guarantees on how much I can do while studying Russian.)

Today I’m rebuilding my outline (and timeline) so I can dive in tomorrow.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
The trip out to Orcas Island was arduous. I got up around 4 am to shower and get the last of my things packed and do physiotherapy before heading off to RDU for our 8:25 am flight to Atlanta. We got to the park & ride lot around 6:15, then arrived at the terminal with plenty of time to spare, considering the dearth of people lined up for security.

I slept most of the way to Atlanta, where our connecting gate was right beside our arrival gate. Yay! I rewrote my grad school statement of purpose and revised a short story on the flight to Seattle. (I also took a nap.)

We landed in Seattle at 1:25 local time, and we met up with one of the bride's friends who needed a ride to the resort. (There was a tight shuttle connection.) So we picked up the car, stopped at Taco Bell, and drove a little over 2 hours to Anacortes to get the ferry, which departed at 7:20 pm. (We waited about an hour iirc. An aunt and uncle were there, and one of the groom's childhood friends showed up, so we had a merry little party.) Then the ferry took an hour to get to the island, after which we drove to the opposite side of the horseshoe-shaped island, arriving on site around 9 pm local time. I had to drag Ben away from the people hanging out & chatting with his brother and such. We finally got to sleep around 10. That was a fucking long day.

So anyway, Doe Bay resort is nice, in a really pretty spot, and not too far from some state parks where you can do various levels of adventure walking. We had a little more time to spend at Obstruction Pass than Moran, though the view from Mt Constitution was pretty rad. We got to spend some time with one of Ben's cousins, her husband, and their (12-year-old!) daughter. And some other cousins who have no children. And aunts and uncles and friends of the happy couple and all that kind of thing.

Because of ferry timing, we couldn't stay past midday Sunday, following a brunch that lasted two hours and made me feel very hobbit-like. So we drove down to Seattle and stayed in a hotel near the airport, then had dinner with some Carolina friends who live out there now.

Our flight back east left at like 8:15 am, and various forces conspired against us getting food at anything resembling reasonable prices. The US Open was over, so the line for security was absurd, and we stood in it for the better part of an hour, so by the time we made our gate, we could pee and fill our water bottles, and that was about it. Which forced us to spend $obscene on the pay-as-you-go in-flight food. Then we had to do the same on the ground in Atlanta, because this time, our connection was 2 concourses away. Fun!

If you're in my G+ circles, you should be able to see this album.

And now I'm home until July 9, when I go off to Readercon. After that, my next travel isn't until Labor Day weekend (Dragoncon).

Hi, bye

17 Jun 2015 01:32 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Finished sorting all the things from Shatterdome ATL 2 (jaeger boogaloo) and repacking things for Ben's brother's wedding, for which we will be traveling longer than it takes to get to Europe yet not leaving the country.

The wedding is on Orcas Island, which is a 2-hour ferry from somewhere in the Seattle area, and the ferry station is a 2-3 hour drive from the airport. Then we have to get from the ferry to the resort. I seriously do not understand how anyone can live on a remote-ass place like that. I feel isolated in my semi-suburban town on the edge of a moderate metropolitan area.

So we're leaving here at 8:25 am and getting to Seattle at 1:25 pm local, then our ferry leaves at 7:20 or something. At least we'll have time to pick up some food for lunch-dinner when we get there. We only need to be at the ferry port 90 minutes beforehand.

What I have left to do today is clean the cats' water fountain and paint my nails. Then I need to pack my toiletries and other carry-on things in the morning.

Also, I registered for class at UNC this fall, where I'm taking Russian 101. Whee! I can get 2 semesters in before I start at UGA (if I'm accepted). ... I need to work on my application materials, but I'll do that after I get back from the wedding.
feuervogel: (group hug)
Tomorrow morning I'm heading off to run year two of Shatterdome Atlanta. I think we've done everything we need to do that can be done at this point. Badges need to be assembled (laminated, labeled, punched), but the labels, laminator, and badges are in 3 different places.

Last year felt pretty hectic, but part of that was not having enough staff and having a very unreliable person in charge of some important things. But all that needs to be done tomorrow is putting the badges together and putting t-shirts & posters from pre-order with the appropriate badges. Aside from, like, setting up screens and speakers and all that. Which obviously can't be done until we have the convention space. And the a/v equipment.

ALSO our hotel came up with a really cool menu for some themed drink renames. Either their graphic designer is a huge nerd or they're really bored. I'm pretty excited about that.

(Also also, if the convention is run by people who don't micromanage everything and trust the people they delegate to to get the job done, you're not frantically putting a schedule together 12 hours before the convention starts, not to speak of the program book!)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I met the grad program director, two faculty members, and the department chair. I got a tour of the department and some of the nearby campus buildings (library, fancy student union/classroom thing).

It's comforting to see that universities everywhere stick their humanities departments in aging buildings.

I liked it. The faculty were nice. They had a crapton of German books. The grad director is a medievalist and has a shelf full of Tolkien (and he said that sometimes a guy in LING offers an Old English/Tolkien class, and on occasion there's a course in Gothic).

I will have to learn a second foreign language, but I could refresh my Japanese or take something like French. I'm looking into getting a head start here, depending on what I take.

The department chair said, "You could apply for spring admission." I didn't know that was a possibility, and I'm not sure I want to? I mean, yeah, sooner started, sooner finished, but that's 6 months away. Application deadline is Sept 15. I could probably swing that, but I don't know. Do I want to start in the middle of the year? It sounds like the setup for something awkward, like not belonging to either fall admission cohort. (Then there's the question of finding an apartment January 1...) IDK. I emailed the program director and asked about that (and about the 2nd language.)

So yeah. I want to make this thing happen. Here's to making my application the best I can.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
I drove down to Athens, Georgia, this morning to visit UGA. It took about 5:45, including 2 stops (1 for lunch & pee, 1 for pee & turning on GPS). Not a bad trip, even if Maps routed me through the least scenic way at the end.

I decided to start getting my bearings by walking from my hotel to a game store practically on campus (to drop off some flyers for Shatterdome Atlanta). It was only about a mile (each way), though it was 90 degrees, sunny, and humid. So by the end, I was really sweaty. And apparently my shoes get looser as my feet get hotter, because they started sliding enough to give me blisters on 3 toes.

Even though the place I wanted to get dinner was only half a mile away, because my feet were hurting, I drove. I went to a vegetarian restaurant called The Grit, where I had pretty good food (Grit Staple (beans, rice, cheese) with a side of falafel, grasshopper cake; local beer) for $19 including tip. Not bad. I was super full at the end of it.

I found the Target after dinner and bought some band aids, then I went to the other gaming shop, which is on the south side of town. The guy there was nicer, and there was gaming actively going on. Lots and lots of dudes, but no one was a jerk, so I'll call it a win.

I drove back by getting slightly lost on campus (the sun was in my eyes, so I couldn't see the sign and turned too early), so now I'm sitting in my hotel and relaxing. I'll probably turn in early, I dunno.

Tomorrow I'm meeting the director of the graduate program at 11, then having lunch with some faculty and meeting the department head at 2, then I'll come home. So I'll be getting home around 9 pm I guess, since I'll have to stop somewhere for dinner, though I can go to like taco bell.

I'm really glad I looked at the department website yesterday to come up with any questions I might have about the program, because either I missed or they added a requirement for a second foreign language. Which means I need to learn a second foreign language. I don't know if it can be done concomitantly with graduate work, but I can't imagine it'd be easy trying to learn a language while doing everything else. So I'm going to ask about that, and see if I can start by taking a year of Turkish at UNC, assuming they actually offer it every semester. I emailed someone in the department yesterday, but I haven't gotten a response yet. So IDK.

They do offer Turkish at UGA, but see above re ZOMGWTF. So if I only had to take one year, that might be easier? La.

So anyway, that's what I'm up to. More later, probably.
feuervogel: (moo)
Some of you may recall that there was an incident on the way to Dragon Con last year.

I resolved not to go any places where Dennis will be and to inform the organizer of the reason: Dennis verbally abused me. At that point, it's up to the host to decide whether they will invite the abuser or me and Ben. In my ideal world, they disinvite the abuser and unfriend them.

I don't live in my ideal world. I couldn't even get the fourth person in the car to agree that he was abusive, though she did admit he was out of line.

So anyway, there was an invitation to a party/cookout this weekend, and I wanted to go, because a lot of people I like were invited and may be there, and I don't ever see them. I know that the host is friends with Dennis (he's parked his MPV in host's driveway on occasion), so I asked if Dennis would be there.

He said probably, so I replied
If Dennis is there, I would rather not attend. He verbally abused me on the trip to DragonCon, and I will not be in his presence. He will not apologize, and he probably doesn't think he did anything wrong.


Host's response started off "I'm sorry to hear that" and said he'd find out if Dennis would be there or not. No consideration of disinviting him. So anyway, Dennis is definitely going to be there, so Ben and I will definitely not.

I am very glad for Ben's support in all of this. He is fully on board with my plan to tell people why I will not be in the same place as Dennis.

What's most disappointing about this is that none of my friends--including the 4th person in the car (let's call her W)--have my back on this. W's preferred strategy, as discussed over gchat, is to ignore it and continue not seeing Dennis anywhere, as opposed to ~~creating draaaamaaaa~~ and telling people who interact with him that he's an abuser. (Which W wouldn't even accede to anyway.)

It's the Geek fucking Social Fallacies in action.

Yes, we are all adults here, and we can all make our decisions about who we are friends with. But if someone tells me that Mutual Acquaintance X has done a horrible thing, X is off my invite list forever. (One friend told me about an X who picked on her cat and made the cat sick. X wasn't really on my invite list to start with, but that earned him a permanent NOPE.)

What Dennis needs to receive are consequences for his actions. One of the things Ben told me that Dennis said in a rest stop bathroom was that he was "sorry" for the consequences (which were I think 'having to deal with this irrational cunt you call a wife'). Not for being an asshole, but for inconveniencing Ben.

The consequences I want to see are universal shunning. I want him to be told that he is not invited to parties because I'll be there and people want to see me. I want him to understand that being abusive has consequences, and that those consequences affect him, not the person he heaped abuse on.

Which is the part that makes me the most upset, really. I was a victim of his abuse (I know of one similar story, there are probably more), and I'm the one suffering a loss of social life.

And this is why I need better friends.

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