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ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

April 28th, 2010 (11:04 pm)

current mood: relaxed

So I'm sitting here watching David Tennant and Patrick Stewart on my television (PBS is airing Hamlet, yays!), but I'm only kind of half-way paying attention. Hamlet is one of my least favorite Shakespeare plays, and I've pre-ordered the DVD anyway. I've already *cough* not so legally *cough* acquired so many David Tennant movies/TV shows, that I felt a little guilty taping it straight from TV. But it was only $15, which is way cheaper than any TV show I might have been inclined to buy (I allow myself one DVD purchase from amazon.com a month, so Hamlet counts for May). It's a ridiculously good version, though, and I can't imagine what it might have been like to see this play in person with those two. I'm sure I would have died from the sheer awesome.

The best news is that I'm actually ALLOWED to sit here on the couch, surfing teh internets, and watching British actors. Today was my last day of work, not just for the semester, but until I find a real job. There wasn't enough funding to pay me during the summer, and in the fall I'll be done with coursework and slaving away on my thesis (and with no credit hours to register for, I don't qualify for a GRA). My boss gave me a $20 amazon gift card as a thank-you/going-away present, and I might think of a couple things to buy with it...

Hmm...Hamlet is two hours in, and it's just now taking an intermission. Is this going to be a four-hour show? Because I can't commit to that much Shakespeare, and I'm really tired. Good thing I plan on watching the whole movie with friends later!

Anywho, I came home and immediately wrote the last two pages of my only research paper of the semester. It's a fifteen-page paper on the use of imperial imagery in Victorian advertisements, and how the products and illustrations reflected Victorian values like gentility and civilization. It was actually a pretty fun paper to write, but I'm glad it's over. Now I have a whole month off to work on my thesis before my summer class - and last graduate class ever - starts in June.

And may I briefly mention how much I am FREAKING OUT over Supernatural? There's only three episodes left of the season, and then its huge five-season arc will be complete. I've invested five years of my life into this show, and I'm so excited to see how it will turn out. And although I've been railing against the show being renewed for a sixth season (seriously, these boys needs a break! look at how fantastic Doctor Who has been creatively thanks to its year off), I'm kinda glad that I don't have to say goodbye to Sam and Dean quite yet.

ilikesmike [userpic]

Post Time!

April 16th, 2010 (11:43 pm)

The semester is winding down, and I'm simultaneously very excited and very nervous. I've completely given up the hope that I would be done with my thesis over the next couple months and graduate in the summer - there's just too much left to do. But on the plus side, I'm almost completely done with all my coursework. I still have to do an internship, and the good news is that it'll be a combined internship/advanced archiving course. My adviser has been helping the professor figure out what to cover (it's a brand new course), and she told me it'll focus on the main themes found in Certified Archivist exam (since there's technically no degree for archiving, like there is with library science, passing the exam shows that you're as qualified as you can get). I highly doubt I'll actually take the exam, since it's probably only necessary for really fancy archiving jobs and administrative positions that I don't really want. Working in a small museum or county historical society is just fine with me, so long as they're paying me something! But the class will teach me the important issues that interviews might ask me and the archiving lingo that they'll use, so that'll put me one step ahead of other applicants.

Right now I should be working on my Material Culture research paper, but obviously I'm not. And really, the fact that I'm posting here shows how hard up I am for some sort of distraction, lol. It's a fascinating topic (explaining why some Victorian advertisements feature imperial images), but I'm soooo sick of writing papers. It's all I've been doing for the past two years, week in and week out, and this really doesn't bode well for the thesis. If I'm having this hard of a time writing twenty pages, what about when I need to start writing a hundred? Thankfully I still have tons of research to do, so I can put that day off for a little while longer.

Obviously everything hasn't been all dreary and stay-in-the-apartment-to-write-and-read-for-school. I've seen a couple of good movies in theaters (Clash of the Titans and Kick-Ass, for obscure British actors, obviously) and been watching lots of good TV shows (the new season of Doctor Who, the end of a huge story arc on Supernatural, the last season of Lost, the second season of Being Human, among others). Oh! And I've been listening to David Tennant read the How to Train Your Dragon series for the past couple of weeks at work. I know the books are meant for little kids...like, elementary school kids...but they are actually ridiculously cute and funny. I probably wouldn't enjoy them as much as I am if I were reading them myself, but that just shows what a great job DT does. He does different voices for all the humans and dragons, and today I particularly loved when Romans showed up to kidnap a couple of Vikings, and DT spoke with a ridiculous Italian accent. So. Cute.

Ugh...it's nearly midnight and I can't decide whether I should give up being productive, or squeeze out a little bit more before I go to bed. The really sad part is that I'm technically ahead on the research paper. Everyone else in the class that I've talked to has only just now started reading the books, and I've already got the thing half written. I want it over and done with so I don't have to think about it anymore, but here I am, blankly staring at the computer screen. And yes, I know it would probably help if I stopped staring at my Doctor Who icon and started thinking about racial attitudes in Victorian England. I just don't want to, ok? The Doctor wins every time.

ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

February 8th, 2010 (11:05 pm)

So it's probably been close to three months since I've posted. There's a very good reason, and yes, it's the same one I've been using since day one: school. The month before classes ended last semester was pretty much my month from hell with dozens of pages of papers due. And then Christmas break began, and it was the most blissful four weeks that I've had in ages. I meant to be a good little grad student and work on my thesis, but that plan went out the window pretty quickly. I spent the entire month traveling around Alabama visiting friends and family, and there was very little time to read for fun, let alone school.

This semester is already a month gone, but it's going pretty good. I'm only taking one class and two sets of thesis hours. I'm meeting with my committee next week to go over my prospectus (a 3-5 page paper explaining my topic, sources, etc.) and get suggestions from them. I've read pretty much all the books that are out there on my topic, and I'm close to being able to start writing the first chapter. That's the easy chapter setting up my entire thesis, with background info about Alabama politics at the turn of the twentieth century and explaining what other scholars have said and why my research is different. Beyond that, though, I've done pretty much nothing.

I'm also still working in the archives fifteen hours a week, and that's about to get very interesting. The library is starting phase one of a HUGE renovation, so all these contractors and maintenance men are about to build up temporary walls and knock down parts of the current cinderblock walls within our little section of the third floor. And we're still expected to work up there with all that noise going on...*sigh*

Most of my spare time is spent keeping up with my TV shows and all the new costume dramas I find. Or goofing off on the internet, like now. I've been really good about keeping up with my lj communities, but obviously I haven't felt compelled to actually post anything here. Nothing exciting going on in my life...even I get bored of it sometimes! But that's what grad school does to you, and in August, it will all be over! I've always been a dork who loves school, but I'm over that now. This thesis is literally going to drive me crazy, so there's no way I could do a dissertation too. Plus, when I get a job I'll have tons of extra time and money to devote to my actors, and obviously I make all my life plans around them.

ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

November 28th, 2009 (03:30 pm)

current mood: lazy

Once again, this incredibly busy semester has completely taken over my time, and I've sorely neglected my lj. Right now I'm in the middle of Hell Week #2, which is actually worse than the first one. I've finished all the readings for my last week of classes, so right now I'm about to start the process of writing my last three assignments (one for each class). I've got a grant proposal due Thursday for Intro to Public History which I've heard isn't as bad as it seems once you actually start writing it, and I'm counting on that to be true. Because on Thursday I also have to turn in a 10-12 page paper for British Empire. And then next weekend I have a 6-8 page final exam essay for Historiography that isn't nearly as fun as the midterm was. The only bright spot is that I made A's on the two previous British Empire papers, so I don't feel nearly as stressed for this one, so I should (hopefully) knock it out pretty quickly. Even with a B on that paper, I should be able to get an A in the class.

I've spent the past three weekends in Georgia working on various assignments, and I came back yesterday after a brief 48-hour break for Thanksgiving. But it was a very good Thanksgiving, and now that I've been able to take a little bit of a break, I'm ready to tackle the next two weeks before the long-awaited Christmas break begins.

Sadly, my Christmas break won't be 100% homework free, since I plan to do a little work on my thesis. I've got a few books I want to re-read and take more notes for, and I've got to organize all the notes I've already taken. If I can get them typed up and organized on my computer, then I'll be able to start writing some of it as soon as the new semester begins.

ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

November 9th, 2009 (11:59 am)

current mood: thoughtful

I don't have much to say since I have literally spent the entire weekend stuck in front of my computer for this stupid historiography paper, but I figure that saying that I have nothing to say will keep me in the habit of updating.

So, about this paper.  My historiography professor "strongly recommends" that we turn in a rough draft of our big paper tonight, and since I really want an A on the paper and I've never had him before, I figure I'll do what he asks.  However, I've spent all semester reading and writing for other assignments that I didn't touch the five books for this paper until last Monday.  And honestly, I've only read four of them.  My topic is disfranchisement in Alabama, and only one scholar ever wrote a book about just disfranchisement and just in Alabama.  Everyone else looks at the whole South or includes it in their history of Alabama in the late nineteenth century.  And guess which book I haven't read?  His introduction gave me enough information about what he's going to say that I've been writing this whole paper without quoting him once.  Hopefully the professor won't notice....

It took forever to organize my thoughts and think of a thesis and make some coherent thoughts about this topic, but I think it's ok now.  I know it's just a rough draft, but I want it to be a good rough draft.  Something that shows I didn't wait til the last minute (though I did) and actually put thought into it (which I also did).  And the better the rough draft is, the less time I have to spend on the paper later, and the better his constructive comments will be.

That's been my whole weekend, though, so there's nothing else to say.  Except that it's the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and I'm planning to celebrate it/reward myself for my hard work this weekend by watching Goodbye, Lenin tonight after class. 

Oh, and I still haven't found time to go through my friends list.  Bah.

ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

November 7th, 2009 (01:30 am)

current mood: stressed

I have a confession to make - I've been avoiding livejournal for over a week now.  Why, you ask?  Because I got so incredibly busy in the days leading up to fall break, during fall break, and in the weeks after fall break, that I was constantly forgetting to check livejournal, let alone post.  And by the time that I remembered that I hadn't visited in a week and a half, or more, I was a little scared to go check it.  I'm a member of so many communities that I just knew it would take a solid hour of going through my friends lists and looking at all the posts (especially the ones with icons), which I just can't spare right now.  But I've decided to take baby steps and at least update my lj, so that Effie knows I'm still alive and surviving grad school.  And since she's probably posted some entries in the past month that I haven't read/commented on and she might think I've forgotten her.

And really, livejournal, you shouldn't feel so bad about yourself.  I'm just now starting to watch TV shows that aired three weeks ago, during fall break, so it's not just you that I haven't found time for.  I've literally watched no television besides Supernatural and Project Runway the last three weeks because I've had so much crap to do for class.  However!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Next semester I'll only be taking one class, and an online one at that.  I have to take nine hours to keep my Graduate Research Assistantship, and six of them will be thesis hours.  I will obviously be doing a lot of reading and writing, and writing a hundred-page thesis using original research will certainly not be easy, but I'm ready for a change of pace.  I love my classes and my professors and reading all these fascinating books about fascinating subjects, but I'm so tired of writing papers proving that I read the books and understand them.  I know the thesis will be waaaay more stressful, but at least it's not another book review or historiographic essay!  I've had my fill of those, thanks.

So what have I been up to?  A lot of work and a lot of procrastination, all at the same time.  The last time I posted was right before fall break, so I guess I could start with explaining how that went.  I went to Montevallo Wednesday after work, so that I could get up bright and early Thursday morning to go over to Montevallo's library to take another look at the constitutional convention transcript.  Since I knew I wouldn't have time to do any significant amount of research, I did the next best thing - I took pictures.  For a couple hours on Thursday and Friday each, I stood in the little archives room taking 600 pictures of 600 pages.  I knew which two issues I wanted to address in my thesis, and I knew roughly where they were in the transcript.  Most of the time was spent flipping through the pages, making sure that I got the complete debates, from beginning to end.  I haven't had a change to look through them yet, obviously, but that's what they invented Christmas break for, right?  To work on theses and dissertations?

I saw all of my friends Wednesday through lunch on Saturday, and then I headed back to Carrollton to get some homework done.  I don't even remember which assignments I had to do, but they must have been pretty important.  Wait!  Historiography mditerm.  That's what I had to do, and it was due on Monday, hence the early return.

That week flew by, and on Friday, I headed back to Montevallo again for Suzanne's wedding.  Technically she got married in Huntsville, but I went to Montevallo Friday night to see all my friends, and then a bunch of us carpooled up there Saturday morning.  And it's a good thing I didn't attempt to get there on my own because it was ridiculously confusing.  Not only did we have to navigate our way around Huntsville, but we had to navigate our way on a military base.  We drove past the NASA buildings, past the missile buildings, past the fallout shelters, and then we found the little "rustic lodge" where they hold weddings and other events.  It was really gorgeous, though, and looking through the pictures, you'd have no idea that there were fallout shelters just a stone's throw away.

I got very little homework done over fall break, and I got even less done the weekend of Suzanne's wedding.  However, those were incredibly productive times in comparison with Halloween weekend, where I gave up on doing homework all together.  That was my last hurrah until Christmas break, so I made sure to enjoy my friends' company rather than halfway paying attention to them while I read a book for class.  My friend Haley had a Halloween party, and I dressed up as a Magic 8 ball.  I must confess that I can't completely take credit for the idea.  I googled "cheap Halloween costumes" and the best suggestion I saw was an 8-ball.  I did, however, think up the "magic" part all by myself.  I cut a circle out of white poster board and drew an 8 on it, and we duct taped it to my back.  For the answers, I cut triangles out of blue poster board and wrote official Magic 8 ball answers on them.  And "42."  Laura thought that one up, and it was such an obvious choice that I kind of hated myself for not thinking of it first.

So, now it's a week after Halloween and I've spent the week furiously working on my big research paper of the semester for Historiography.  The professor "strongly recommends" that we turn in a rough draft on Monday, but I'm not entirely sure that I'll get it done.  I'm shooting for a good ten pages that have been revised to the best of my ability, and then a little paragraph explaining what the other five pages will be about.  That should give him a good enough idea of what I'm doing that I'll get constructive comments back.  However, I've gotten so used to taking weekends off that I'm horribly unmotivated and I'm growing more and more inclined to give up and take the chance that I'll get a good grade on the final draft of my paper.  *sigh*  Maybe I'll be able to power through and reward myself with something Monday night for turning in a draft, like some Doctor Who.  I always work better when there's a goal in mind.

ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

October 13th, 2009 (11:41 pm)

current mood: restless

At last, the long awaited fall break begins tomorrow afternoon.  I have work in the archives from 10-3, and then after grabbing lunch at my apartment, I'm heading home to Birmingham.  The plan is to spend Wednesday night with my family, renew my drivers license Thursday morning, and then head to Montevallo.  I'll have a couple of hours on Thursday and most of Friday free to spend in the archives working on my thesis, and at night I'll get to see some of my friends.  I'm really excited about all the DVDs we'll get to watch.  Between the last two seasons of Coupling and some movies that I've recently purchased, we'll have some very good times indeed.

Tonight was supposed to be a productive day before I headed out and began my fall break, but the break unintentionally started early.  Right after work I went to the Blockbuster that's going out of business and bought several movies for super cheap.  All for British actors, obviously, and it was quite a decision to decide which ones to take home with me.  Actually, scratch that.  Only two were bought specifically for British actors.  I did buy Goodbye Lenin (finally!), which, as a German movie, has no Brits in it.  It does, however, have the gorgeous Daniel Bruhl.  And I bought Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day for Lee Pace (an American), but...to my delightful surprise...it has Tom Payne in it!  Effie, you'll remember him as Linton in the Wuthering Heights I gave you...Healthcliff's son that dies at the end.  I promise he's way more handsome when he's not playing an invalid.  I also bought Brideshead Revisited (Ben Whishaw and Matthew Goode...swoon...) and Shark Attack 3: Megalodon with John Barrowman.  Oh yes, you read that right.  I now own a campy Sci-Fi original movie starring John Barrowman.  Obviously this was before his little stint on Doctor Who, back when he actually had to find jobs to pay the bills.  Now England just throws money at him for being so awesome.  And for providing the world with Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.

After my hour-long excusion to the Blockbuster, I went home and attempted to read the last thirty pages of next week's British Empire book.  It took two hours.  Apparently it's really hard for me to be motivated the day before freedom.  =/  I actually got some work done while watching Miss Pettigrew, in between the swooning over Tom and Lee, though.  I scribbled down some sentences for my historiography midterm, and they don't sound half bad.  I didn't get a complete first draft finished like I hoped, but two pages sound near perfect, another two are kind of all right, and the final three pages are still thoughts floating around in my head.  I figure if I can write them down sometime during the next few days, I'll be not too stressed when I come back to Carrollton Saturday night.

In the middle of my productive spurt, my two roommates decided we should go get Blizzards from Dairy Queen, and then we sat around talking for a couple of hours.  Obviously we all had more important things to do, but we also obviously dreaded doing them.  So now it's midnight, and I'm not even going to pretend to be productive.  I'll just waste a little more time on the internet, like updating my lj, and then I'll head to bed and hope to be a little better tomorrow.  Maybe the happiness of being at home will help my brain recover a little from all the thinking it's been doing, and the next couple of weeks will fly by as I continue to count down the days until Halloween.

ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

October 4th, 2009 (08:46 pm)

current mood: working

I have come to the conclusion that even when I don't have deadlines pressing down on me, this semester is one of never-ending work.  I read and read and read for class, and no matter how fast I read, I just don't seem to get as far ahead as I need to be.  Fall break is a week and a half away, and I really need to make a list of everything I absolutely have to get done before I leave.  It doesn't help matters that my Historiography professor assumes we have nothing better to do than read for class AND write a take-home midterm.  I think it's one essay that will be eight-ish pages long, and without a laptop, there's no way I can work on it while I'm at home.  I'm really hoping that we'll get the topic tomorrow night in class (so we can work on it for two weeks), but I doubt that will happen.

So, basically, my life for the past week can be reduced to one word: reading.  Although I have been able to find time to keep up with all my TV shows, thanks to the power of the internet.  I hate using a hair dryer, so while my hair dries in the morning I watch an episode that I may have missed a night or two before.  Or, if I'm completely caught up, then I just re-watch an episode of Glee or Supernatural.  I haven't even really been attempting to find new Korean, Japanese, or British shows to download/watch on youtube (besides the new season of Merlin, which started a couple weeks ago, but I count that as one of my must-see TV shows).

Sadly, it goes without saying that all reading for fun is definitely done for.  I haven't even picked up Les Mis, which I read 300 pages of during the summer, twenty or so pages at a time.  Surely I can find time to read a little bit of Les Mis every night, but I genuinely don't think about it anymore.  Which sucks because I really, really want to be able to say that I've read the unabridged version of Les Miserables...I'm pretty sure it's one of those things that most people want to do but never actually succeed at.  Mostly because Victor Hugo goes off on too many unrelated tangents and gives too many flowery descriptions.  Do we really need a good thirty pages about the Bishop before we even meet Jean Valjean?  No.  Right now, Les Mis is the only book I can think of that is probably better in its abridged form.

Yesterday I made a little free time for myself between readings.  I watched the first two episodes of Supernatural (one of which was the one where the hot guy from Glee is killed by a wendigo...score!  for the hotness...not the dying....), and I attempted to go shopping.  I have a gorgeous skirt that I need to find a top for, and I was wanting a new jacket, but I failed on both attempts.  The day was saved when I got a much-needed haircut, though.  I ended the day by finally watching The History Boys, and it is now one of my favorite movies ever.  Not only were several of my obscure British actors there, generally being quite adorkable, but there were several serious discussions about the nature of history that actually made me think!  History and obscure British actors - two of my passions combined in one movie!  And then the icing on the cake was when Samuel Barnett sang for me. Three. Times.  And once was in *swoon* French.  He has a gorgeous voice too...hopefully he'll show it off in future movies.  For the movie alone, this was a fantastic weekend.

ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

September 27th, 2009 (04:18 pm)

current mood: thoughtful

For the past week and a half, I've been experiencing a severe drop in my level of stress thanks to the fact that I've had practically nothing due for class.  I like reading books and articles much more than I like writing, so even though I have an awful lot of reading to do, I don't mind so much.  I've got all my syllabi out and am crossing off readings for both this week and next (and soon for the week after that), which means my plan is quite successful so far.  I'm in the middle of a month-long stay in Carrollton, and then I have three weekends in a row to go home (for fall break to research for my thesis, for Suzanne's wedding, and then Halloween weekend).  And of course, I have two big papers due right in the middle of that three week stretch.  So, in order to get ahead, I'm reading as much as I can for the next couple of weeks, and theoretically I'll have all the readings done for the weeks that papers are due.  And I'm not even putting off the papers because I'm a huge paper procrastinator (which I am).  Both the papers are historiographic essays (one for Historiography and one for British Empire), and they're based on the readings for class.  Which is excellent, because the last thing I need is outside reading for papers when my days are full of readings for class discussions.

Besides reading for class, not much has been going on.  My class last Monday night was cancelled due to the flooding (finally!  inclement weather worked in my favor!), and my British Empire class had been cancelled because the professor was at a conference.  So I only had one class last week, which was really nice.  So far I've been able to keep up with all my TV shows, even a couple of new ones (specifically Glee and FlashForward).  As the semester goes on I may have to cut back on a few of them and wait for Christmas break repeats, but right now I'm watching as many as I can.  And actually, I've watched every episode of Glee and Supernatural both as they air, and later online because they're just that addictive.

Speaking of Supernatural, I had a most ingenious idea the other day.  The music in Glee is amazing, and I know that they're going to be putting out a soundtrack eventually which I will definitely buy.  But, the music on Supernatural is equally amazing, but they don't put out soundtracks (because the cast isn't singing the songs, like in Glee, and it's music that's readily available).  So, I decided that I'm just going to make my own mix CDs of all the songs in Supernatural, going in order.  I need to start watching the show again from the pilot anyway, so I'll just make a list as I go along.  Theoretically, I'll have a whole CD for each season, with "Carry on Wayward Son" being the last track on each one (for tradition's sake, of course).  I'm not sure how long it will be before this project is started, let alone finished, but it's something I definitely want to do.  If nothing else, I'll at least have a season 5 soundtrack ready by the end of the season because I've already grabbed the songs for each episode they've aired.

ilikesmike [userpic]

(no subject)

September 21st, 2009 (02:32 pm)

current mood: creative

Now that the stress leading up to last Thursday is several days behind me, I'm feeling a lot less panicky about how behind on assignments I am.  I spent the weekend in the apartment, and although I did spend the whole of Saturday with my butt on the couch watching movies on TV, I did do a lot of reading too.  I've read everything I need to read for class this week, and I'm already half-way done with next week's readings.  And I'm beyond excited that the only writing I have to do over the next two weeks is a book review.  I do hate writing them, but I'd rather write a three-page book review than a ten-page something else.

Some of the more interesting events of the past week -

-Tuesday and Wednesday were spent reading the two books for Thursday's classes and writing a presentation for one and a book review for the other.  I managed to get it done a few hours before class, and I literally felt a weight lifting off of me as the day went on.
-My presentation in British Empire went pretty well.  It was oddly more nervous talking to six people than to a class with more people, but I'm glad it's over with.  And, since I had read the entire book and took lots of notes, I talked more than anyone else during discussion.  Always a plus.
-For Intro to Public History, my group took a field trip to Bremen to do some on-site scouting for possible stops for the walking tour.  A very necessary excursion, since only a few of us had actually visited the town.  The best part was that we missed the first two hours of class, and it was a legitimate excuse that the professor encouraged.
-Thursday night was spent doing absolutely nothing besides gushing over the boys on Supernatural and watching Project Runway.
-Work on Friday was boring, as usual, and I spent the rest of the day watching TV/reading for class.
-I found a surprising amount of obscure British actors on TV on Saturday.  I watched Gone in Sixty Seconds (for Chris Eccleston...looking very young and very nice) and 300 (which is pretty much obscure British actor porn).
-Last night I watched the Emmys and am convinced it's the best awards show I've seen in years.  NPH was an amazing host, I agreed with most of the winners, and it was really entertaining (I especially loved how they introduced the presenters with the most obscure acting job they ever had).

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