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I might (maybe just maybe) have a full draft of a corrected thesis today or tomorrow (probably tomorrow). That means I can shove all (*checks*) 369 pages* at my supervisor for her to read carefully/side-eye/annotate for typos**, and then she'll throw it back to me, and maybe by Easter I'll have this mess re-submitted officially.

While I really want to graduate in the summer, a lot will depend on a) the next couple of weeks of fine-tuning wording, and b) the goodwill of the examiners and graduate school to read, pass, and process this damn thesis in time to graduate. From how last September/October shook out, I'm so very cynical about the official admin end of things moving swiftly.

(I've either run out of emotion to spend on worrying, or I'm wound so tight I've reached some kind of inverted-stress zen space where worrying is a new normal. Probably the latter.)

*To be fair, 50 of those pages are references, title pages, lists of figures, various -ographies (bibli-, film-, etc.); also it's likely to be 370 pages by the time I'm through with it today. But for now, 369. I made the right margin a little smaller than my first submission attempt to keep the page count down, shhhh don't tell anyone. ETA: actually, it turned out to be 368 pages? And I didn't delete anything. This is what happens when you format figures to flow in line with the text, people. Chaos! Anarchy!

**You know how Word will flag people's names as misspelled? There are many many people's names in those 369 pages, and after a point Word's spell check function just gives up trying to keep up with the names and jargon. Once Word has had enough, it pops up a little bitter message saying there are too many spelling errors and YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN BUDDY. It's amazing to discover how trained I've become to wait for word processors to tell me when my fingers have typed something my brain didn't intend.

And to make the week more interesting, my flat is currently without a working shower. One of the reasons that sucks (...beyond the obvious) is I use shower time as thinking time. Y U DISRUPTED, ROUTINE. >:(
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I don't remember the first Terry Pratchett book I read. It doesn't really matter - I've loved his characters and world-building and horrible puns and anger and biting social satire and deft hand at parody long enough that an origin story won't add anything to this post. As I said on Twitter, he's left us lots to remember him by.

Read more... )
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Sometimes I'm just like, "No: I can totally fit more commas in this sentence. And it's not even a list!"

Because sometimes I just don't care.

Living dangerously, living on the edge. The edge of grammar.
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I've had a week of plague, it's been very unpleasant. I thought it was an annoying little cold, but it's been a knock-down drag-out ha-ha-you-had-work-to-do-ha-ha exhausting deal.

No migraines, no flu, just cough/sinus/ALL THE TIRED/constantly vaguely dizzy. Yesterday I checked with the place that made my new glasses, and they claim that there's nothing untoward about the prescription (it's a small change, shouldn't be causing problems). I also checked with a friend who'd also been out sick, and he recognized the dizziness from whatever he had, so.

I was supposed to go to Brighton on Saturday, and ended up dozing in bed all day. I zombied through Monday's teaching, and then spent Tuesday (again) hiding in my flat and feeling lifeless. At least I haven't been troubled with insomnia. I've spent so much of the last week asleep that I wish I could bottle the extra sleep and save it for later.

The worst is that I had planned to spend this week getting to grips with an academic field - well enough to incorporate some stuff into my thesis, at least - and that hasn't happened yet. It doesn't help that it's really Not My Thing (80% jargon, 15% sociology, 5% trauma studies). I'm stuck leafing through edited collections, whispering "what does that even mean" and messaging [personal profile] emef particularly obtuse phrases. One of the collections had some glaring errors in copy-editing, so I lost time in resentment.

I meant to have a chunk of work done by now, but what I do have in an appreciation for all the duvets I've stacked on my bed. It's a polyester nest and I love it.

(The second worst has been having no appetite, and no interest in food or energy to go grocery shopping, and yet being constantly hungry. IDK what's happening there either.)
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Today is this week's Day At Theatre Job.

So far:
- mystery branch/log (12' long) left in courtyard outside main doors. Suspect it's related to the on-going Real Ale Festival.

- two plants escaped their planter-pot overnight. Suspect similar to above.

- freezer found with doors removed (set on floor beside freezer). Indoors, backstage behind coded doors. Temperature logs (yes, this is a thing) suggest the doors were taken off last night. Who knows.

- checked and recorded the temperatures on our 8 freezers. Considered hiding in storage cupboard where we keep overflow ice cream stock, as well as unsaleable stock that hasn't been taken home by staff. Wondered if 8am was too early for ice cream. Reflected on my perpetual disappointment with strawberry ice cream. Decided probably spending the next eight hours in a dusty closet would be an issue. Left ice cream behind.

- 35 text message alerts about humidity in the gallery. Faulty sensor is a known issue. Won't be replaced for another month. Deleted all 35 messages (fun on an ancient Nokia, just hit the same key over and over and over and over again). Got another text alert. Deleted it.

- opened draft of thesis, fully intending to actually no really no really finish off this one section (for real!)

- set up for a meeting in the boardroom. woo, chairs! woo, tables!

- sorted and delivered the morning mail. Except for that one parcel, which I'll deliver later. Probably.

- told Marketing Guy the marketing powerpoint on the marketing screens was marketing. Sorry, that it was frozen. Marketing.

- told Tech Director about the plants escaping their planter-pot. Gave the plants voices and acted out the plants hailing Ale Fest attendees for assistance in escaping their pots. Agreed with Tech Director that maybe I haven't been getting enough sleep.

- retrieved door lock bit from Front of House office. Checked maintenance log to see if it's been reported. Wondered if Afternoon Guy could fix it without putting through a maintenance request. Showed it off to Box Office, quipped "Door 3 is unlocked!" They laughed.

- bought a muffin. forgot about muffin. felt hungry. remembered muffin. ate muffin. *joy*

...three more hours until Afternoon Guy gets here.

ETA: *looking through glass doors into boardroom, where a meeting is in progress*
Me: "That room is in use until 1pm."
IT Guy*: "Is there any chance I could get in there earlier?"
Me: "Not unless the meeting finishes before 1pm."

*later, he identified himself over the phone as 'IT Guy'. idek.
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The danger of listening to historical fiction audiobooks (and audiobooks of books that are actually old) is that when it comes time to write a polite email, one's prose does rather slide away from one's usual voice.

Also I have ANOTHER cold and JUST WANT TO GO HOME but this is an IMPORTANT EMAIL I've bee putting off all week and really I just want to curl up on my couch and ooze snot in peace.

Instead of sending the IMPORTANT EMAIL, of course, I'm blogging about it. And sneezing.

(I'd suspected I had the start of a cold Wednesday night at work, when I felt all tired and draggy; this was confirmed Thursday afternoon when I woke up with blocked sinuses, having completely missed Thursday morning. Now it's Friday, where I have a foggy head and mostly zero appetite, aside from a craving for donuts. Whatever, rhinovirus. Whatever.)

ETA: EMAIL SENT. "I hope this new chapter is a sufficient fulfilment of the relevant part of the resubmission guidance." What is wrong with me.
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I have a list somewhere of posts I'd like to make, but haven't (yet).

This is not one of them.

This is the post where I'm struggling through the last few bits of my new Methodology chapter, trying to work out how to say "also there's Club Vivid, which is, um, louder than other vidshows."

I have fuzzy memories of last year's CVV ending with me sitting on the floor, full of whiskey (?) and in my cosplay Bucky ballgown, yelling Pink lyrics, and feeling excellent. So I'm struggling a little with how to word this part concisely as part of my description of viewing practices, without sounding really dull.

So far, I have: "An alternate mode of viewing occurs during the CVV vidshow, an evening event in which the furniture in the convention screening room is reset to allow dancing and conversation, accompanied by three-hour programme of vids with up-tempo soundtracks."


I'll get it eventually. Just wanted to moan. :D

(in other news: still here, December was nice, teaching this term, yesterday I was on campus 12hrs and doing academic work for each and every hour.)
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I have a persistent cold and writing to do.

If my motivation wasn't already minimal, being transformed into a snot machine hasn't done me any favours.


On the other hand, it's kind of amusing to shift my head and imagine I can feel the contents of my sinuses slowly shift. Maybe I can actually feel that, who knows?

Over my (daytime) shift on Tuesday I developed a horrible-sounding cough, and my boss told me to go home. So yesterday (Wednesday) I made a nest on my couch and watched the BBC miniseries Byron (no plot that I could discern, just a bunch of scenes), Elementary s3 thus far (still not used to clean-shaven, very-short-hair JLM), and some of Forever (charming but jazz-hands-y fluff).

Still not caught up on Sleepy Hollow, but after a few eps it seemed to have lost the improbable levity of the first season.

I am, however, facing some transatlantic flights in the next few weeks. Should be plenty of time to watch a few things, especially as my laptop is nearly new and the plane is supposed to have power outlets at every seat. Bring it on.

...still don't want to do any writing, though.
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I've been reading some foundational film theory this week, and one piece - from the guy who founded the department and is held in esteem for his pioneering scholarship - contains some real gems.

Mostly, it's what I expected, with auteurism in full force (implicit through the first half of the book, explicit through the rest) and with 'the film-maker' and 'spectator' always being 'him'. (It's from 1972, so I'm less willing to just let that slide.) And the examples used are the same as showed up on this prof's syllabus year after year. You want canon-creation? You got it.

BUT THEN there's the occasional use of capitalisation ('Life of a Thousand Cuts'), and the reason I started to post: this next bit. Writing about the passivity* of the film audience in a movie theatre, he says: 'In the movies we have to accept the point of view given to us. Our activity in the cinema, discounting the extra-curricular enjoyments of courtship, arson and malicious damage, is very limited.'

*Television Studies orthodoxy says audiences are active. Film Studies is slowly catching on to that possibility.

It really does say, 'the extra-curricular enjoyments of courtship, arson and malicious damage'.

This is a very different image of the active audience than what Television Studies goes in for. And then there's the idea that your options while watching a film are: a) sit and watch quietly, enraptured by the hybrid of illusion and realism flickering on the screen, b) 'courtship', c) violence. But also, what interesting examples to pick, if the intention is to evoke the scope of things to do in front of a screen that aren't watching the movie. And what about the notion that 'arson and malicious damage' are enjoyable ways to pass the time? (Even allowing for sarcasm, it's still a great line.)

Meanwhile, I've got a cold. Or it might be developing into a cold. Best case scenario is that I've had a mild cold for weeks without noticing, and this is its last hurrah.

The other night, I watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the English version. I have lots of thoughts about it in comparison to the BBC adaptation of the Wallander novels, where the (somewhat unlovely) interiority of our heroes is displaced in favour of Daniel Craig or Ken Branagh looking a bit tired and rumpled. I'd read Dragon Tattoo years back, and not liking much/any of it. So I've also got thoughts about Fincher adapting an overlong and problematic novel, and Craig's almost comically anti-Bond performance.
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Big adult-land excitement this weekend! Seems my last electricity bill, which was based on an estimate*, was far in excess of what it should be. How far in excess? The estimate from August is more than the reading from the weekend.

*I was in Manchester, Toronto, and Chicago when I got the reminder to read the meter, got the bill, and paid the bill, respectively. Nowhere near my meter. Whoops.

The utilities bills at my previous flat must've been atypically high. I'd shrugged off the estimate because it was half of what I'd paid before.

OKAY BUT MORE EXCITING: the most recent Doctor Who. cut for spoilers )

Over the last week or so I watched the first season of The Borgias. I am looking forward to continuing. Aw, bonkers costume dramas. Aw, Neil Jordan. The rest of new television is piling up, but I haven't felt much like keeping up.
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I booked a trip to Mexico for mid-December. After talking about it for four years (and saving up for four years) I'm finally going to visit my sister. The travel is going to suck (~21h each way!) but I've been assured it'll be worth it.

I spent Monday and Tuesday this week listening to Oingo Boingo non-stop. (I started with the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, late last week, but then decided what I really wanted was Oingo Boingo.)

Aww, look at them, all looking like they're enjoying themselves:

And tonight, I'm dragging a few friends around to my place to watch The Crow. Some of these people have never seen The Crow. Clearly, clearly this must be fixed. I haven't seen it in years, but I'm sure it's still excellent.

(And in other news: it's been over a month, and I still don't have an official report/letter from the Graduate School. Apparently it's still before the Chair. There are things I need to query/clarify off the unofficial report, but have been waiting for the official one, which might have addressed the same issues. I just don't know yet. It's very frustrating. *hands*)
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This past few weeks I've been hiding from campus and/or spending time working in the Arts Centre, because I still don't have the final and official list of corrections for my thesis.

All I can say is: thank goodness I never have to go through a viva ever again.

On the bright side, Sleepy Hollow continues to be amusing (good actors having fun with sill material), Doctor Who is mostly watchable (good actors struggling through questionable material). I look forward to watching all the other stuff I've been meaning to get to.

I did watch all of Adventure Time over the last month, though! \o/

My experience of the Arts Centre is going to be (has already been) odd this term, as I'm working almost a part-time contract (though as non-contract casual staff) because one of the full-time guys got seconded into a promotion. We casuals are picking up his hours. Since I'm still restricted in my hours (student visa!) I'm doing lots of the higher-paid-but-frequently-unpleasant role (Ops), and none of the often-more-pleasant-but-lower-paid stuff (Head Steward).

(We're talking, like, more than double the hours and +£2/hr on pay.)

It works out for the other Heads, because I'm not competing for limited shifts. It works out for my schedule and budgeting, because I've got the whole term's worth of work booked, rather than lining up every two weeks to pick up what I can. However, the hours still suck (shifts are either 7am-4:30pm or 3pm-11:30pm/midnight), and the responsibility and intense multitasking also sucks.

All of my academic motivation has, like, atrophied since June. Hiding from campus might've helped, but we'll see how much typo-hunting I get done this week.
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Tomorrow morning I'm defending my PhD!

I'm sure this is why PhD students are encouraged to give conference papers: to get used to the attack of nerves when faced with explaining/defending one's work to Strangers Who Matter.

Of course, this will be a long discussion with no script, unlike a conference paper's typical 15-20min limit and carefully rehearsed* presentation.

*and not hastily assembled the hour before the panel, no...

In preparation, I've been re-reading my thesis and finding typos. Eight so far, in a document 362 pages long. Not a bad ratio, all things considered, but still: typos.

The three reasonable outcomes are: pass (fix typos, but otherwise a-okay), pass with minor corrections (1-3 months of tweaking), and eeeuuuugh fix those big things and resubmit (up to another year of work). (The unreasonable outcomes are the ones written in to university regulations to account for people going AWOL and handing in a handful of dried leaves* instead of a thesis.)

*Even in biology, I'm sure you need to have at least a bibliography.

My supervisor suggested I think of the viva/defence as a performance, and feign interest in work that I might be bored with. I agreed somewhat, but countered that the bigger challenge will to feign confidence and a belief in the work's value and rigour. Oh self-esteem! Don't fail me now!

I've been re-watching a few of the key vids, and yes: I am still moved by the work, so my emotions and enthusiasm for the form are still present and accounted for.

Tomorrow night, whatever happens, the next screening at Bad Film Club is Dracula 2000 (my nomination!)... awwww yesss.

Next time I post, I might have a doctorate! Or be facing many more months of soul-crushing re-drafting and extra research!

*runs off screaming towards the bus*
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Happy September! I was thinking of taking advantage of this Monday morning by going for a short walk down to the blackberry bushes and seeing what I could bring home, but it's raining. No blackberry picking for me today. :(

August was busy - visiting Ontario and Vividcon took up most of it - and then just as I got back (with a day off for jetlag!) I worked five days in a row at the Arts Centre. I didn't have plans for that holiday Monday, which worked out well because it seems the entire country got terrific rainstorms the whole day.

Vividcon was, as always, excellent. This year's premieres were hard to watch (because of content), and it's almost enough to make me want to learn to vid to counteract the grimdark excesses. But other than that, it was a nice and relaxed con; it seems this year it was about hanging out with friends rather than awkwarding myself into conversations with strangers. Hooray! Also, our MCU Regency AU cosplay kicked ass for Club Vivid. (My first fanwork = three dresses!)

Unlike previous trips back to Ontario, I didn't try to catch up with Toronto people. And I still came home exhausted. I also came back with a new laptop (abandoning my old netbook to the wilds), which is nice. I'm still working out Windows 8 - though things might run smoother after these 32 updates install - and I haven't even tried customizing those tile things. I found the option to display the desktop at start-up, so I've been going with that.

I also-also came back with three lengths of fabric to make into dresses (woo hoo sale shopping!). I've made two of this pattern (Washi Dress), but there's something about the shape that reminds me too much of a school uniform. (I don't regret them, and the pattern was useful in hacking my way through designing the VVC cosplay dresses - several hours with rulers and tracing paper later, I emerged with bodices.)

So I'm going to try a different indie designer pattern, the knee-length version of the By Hand London Anna Dress. I'm even doing this properly: last night I cut out the dress bodice using leftover fabric, because I know it's not going to fit as drafted. I didn't exactly cut it out as drafted, either; I followed a width from one size, height from another, and shifted the armholes slightly. I'm pretty sure I'll have way too much fabric in the bust, and there are probably better ways to alter the fit, but I've started! Much better than staring at a pile of fabric, thinking about sewing. (And then, I'll save up for fabric to make a na na na na na na na na Bat Dress.

Tomorrow I'm going to Portugal for a few days. Woo!

(And then: my viva is on the 18th, my birthday is on the 28th, and then it'll be October. Yikes.)
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Graduation week wasn't nearly as bad as previous years.

The guests were far more calm and well-behaved than any of us expected. It could've been the ridiculously nice weather, or the result of all the minor changes to the day itself (i.e.: not forcing grads to queue and register before taking their seats; location of alumni/careers stands; opening doors to guests only 30min before we want everyone sat down; adding an extra ceremony and reducing the average number of grads). Plus, the stewards working tended to be more experienced, were mostly working the whole week, and therefore the team worked really well together.

(I also have to wonder about the effect of putting male stewards on the first two points of contact, and having them explain the we-seat-you, all-parties-must-enter-together, etc., policies of the day. By the time guests got to us - the seating team was men and women - there were very few arguments about seats.)

Graduation week ate up six-and-a-half days, the next week has been a lazy combination of sewing up some cosplay for next month, punctuated by a few films (Maleficent, Batman and Robin), and trying very hard not to think about academic writing or unemployment.

I don't have much recent experience with sewing, or much previous experience in doing anything complex. This current project (as I said on Twitter, pics if/when it turns out okay) is taking up most of my attention. It's nice to be so preoccupied (academic writing! unemployment!).

Next week I'm off to North America! For 20 days! There's VividCon, and a family (incl brother's girlfriend! yay!) trip to see a few Stratford shows, and a family thing the day after I land that I'm apparently not to worry about because I'll be jetlagged anyway. Woo!
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Still here, still alive.

June was terrifyingly packed, and July so far has been uncomfortably busy, too.

VidUKon was excellent, and I enjoyed every minute (my panel went really well!), but it also came in the middle of a very busy time (emotionally, and in terms of tasks).

Career/job stuff )

I'm still horrendously behind on TV I want to watch - seriously, the list is beyond tragic - but I did take the time to watch s1 of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. The costumes are definitely great, and the guy who plays Jack has a great voice, but I wasn't too impressed by the writing. I have a feeling I should watch Orphan Black before VVC, so that'll be next. When I get a chance.

Next week is Graduation Week, my fourth, and I'm not looking forward to it. Long days, unpleasant people (most guests are lovely, but enough really aren't), and tedium. 12 ceremonies this year, 12 times through the same welcome speech, etc.

On the upside, I've done this enough that I'm pretty unflappable. Whole party didn't enter together? No need to argue with them, just seat the next whole group. Insisting other seats will be better seats? Fine, sit over there; don't be surprised when you have to keep standing so we can seat people around you. Loudly insisting that you need a better view because it's your kid graduating (oh is that why we're all here...)? My 'impassive and unimpressed' face has years of practice.

I've been whining about needing a break. I've still got 22 days left to go before I hit Ontario. I would like a guilt-free day off before then, but if not... 22 days. (I think I'll get a hotel room at the airport for the night before I fly, just to have a few unbroken hours of no people.)
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Friday's shift was the most terrible shift. As it's workplace stuff, the details are long and boring to outsiders. I'd be happy to rant in person, but it's not exciting enough to be interesting.

It can sound defensive/dismissive to say "It's not my job to fix that thing you're mad about". But it's also true to think "Your bad decisions got you here; I don't have the magic/psychic powers to fix this, even if it was my job to help".

It was so bad that yesterday my line manager apologised to me, for having been put in both situations (both! argh!), saying neither should never have happened. He also said he would've understood if I'd called in sick for Saturday and Sunday's shifts (thankfully, both were shorter and therefore infinitely more pleasant).

It's been a fascinating (and sometimes fun) job, and I've been happy for the wages, but I'm reluctant to take on more shifts. I'm in again tomorrow, which should be another busy day; knowing I've got savings enough to support myself for the next few months (without an unpleasant few-times-a-month casual job) makes it easier to stomach.

There are four Major Things in the next ten days (three academic, one fannish VidUKon YAY!). One academic thing is unexpected/terrifying/exciting and landed in the middle of Friday.

What I'm saying is, I'm quite tired today.

I was supposed to attend a research + snacks thing at noon, and then meet my supervisor at 1pm. But meeting my supervisor is all I can do today, people-wise.

I'm thinking some TV time is due.
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I haven't touched a sewing machine in about ten years, and never made a dress even when I did.

Obviously the answer to "what do you do on a Monday when waiting for your viva?" is "make a dress".

I made a Washi Dress, because a friend has made, like, ten (nine?) in the last six months and really seems to like them. Plus there aren't oodles of pattern pieces and all the back shaping is accomplished through shirring.* WIN.

*I.e., not too complicated.

So I found fabric online: Cue the phone pics! )
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After glorying in the idea of sitting around all day on Wednesday, I looked at my week and realized that I'm actually invigilating that day. Boo.

OTOH last night I did unlock the last hidden level of Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and played it through (twice, once on free play). I was about to go for the last five minikits when - gasp, shock, and not for the first time - the game froze. SIGH. I've given up on the race side-quests, because they stress me out; I've stopped muttering "Shut up, Coulson" at his 'helpful tips' (yes, I need someone with magnetic powers which is why Magneto is right here). On the whole, I've enjoyed it. Got a good six months of casual entertainment out of it, which is nice.

But, you know, Wednesday. :'( (Thursday, though. Thursday I don't have anywhere to be.)


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