Vulcan’s Peak

Archive for the 'grad school' category

Recommended viewing

February 23, 2008 1:51 am

One of my courses this semester is on rights in publishing (copyright, subsidiary rights, permissions, contracts, etc.). Sounds dry, but it’s been really interesting so far. And not only because of things like what I’m going to show you, though that helps, too.

Last week, we had Larry Lessig in as a guest speaker by virtue of this video. The whole thing is about 20 minutes and it’s very good — it’s a presentation he gave on creative freedom.

If you’re just looking for some funny, however, skip the video ahead to about 8:40, where Lessig presents three examples of what he calls “remix culture.” The first will particularly amuse fans of the Muppets. The second (at 9:30) becomes a bit of an eyesore, but just wait for it… And it only lasts a minute, because at 10:30 there’s a beautiful political romance.

In other news, a notice on the school website announces that the main dining hall “will be going trayless February 25th to 29th.” (I love the way they phrase it.) We’ve got about six inches of snow on the ground tonight — I guess the cafeteria-tray-as-makeshift-sled phenomena is universal.


January 10, 2008 12:05 am

Things I thought about doing this evening, but didn’t:
-Doing laundry.
-Cooking something new for dinner to provide a break from the leftovers from last weekend. (Don’t get me wrong, I adore leftovers and plan for them. But variety ain’t a bad thing either…)
-Finishing The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Sequel to a book subtitled The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, so you see where the attraction is. At least in part — Wrede is singlehandedly responsible for some of my best-loved (and most often lent out) books in middle and high school (like these and this and this one and its sequel and even this one, which I borrowed from Elf and later found a used bookstore copy).
-Finishing two letters (Only managed one.)

Events I’ve planned to blog about in the last month, but didn’t:
-The writer’s strike.
-The rally in Harvard Square for the writers’ strike, which I didn’t take time off work to go to, but my roommate did and got to meet Joss Whedon. Actually, I did too, briefly, because he was signing stuff at a little sci-fi bookstore after the rally and was still there when I got off work. It was pretty awesome.
The Golden Compass and the brouhaha that the Christian right managed to create around it. I highly recommend the book, by the way, very highly. The movie is a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours but is not an acceptable substitute.
-Mitt Romney’s speech about why his religion shouldn’t matter to his presidential campaign. I didn’t see the speech, I just read about it and meant to read a transcript, but haven’t. If he continues to look like a contender, I’ll get around to it eventually. He worries me, and I can’t put my finger on why, except to be flip and say that he looks like the evil Mayor from season 3 of Buffy. (Source. Not my cleverness; though I think the whole list is hilarious.)
Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress. A fun and funny YA adventure — and its author was one of three who were fantastically nice about letting me ask them questions for a paper I was writing on author blogs. Definitely another recommended read.

Enjoyable things that happened while I was home for Christmas:
-Two lovely Christmas dinners in one day.
-Going ice skating.
-Laughing at my brothers’ oddly decorated gingerbread cookies (One that stands out is a bell that B. frosted in white and spelled out “E.A. Poe” on the top in little chocolate sprinkles. (“Hear the sledges with the bells, silver bells, silver bells, what a world of merriment their melody foretells…” Yes, the poem gets darker; it is Poe.))
-Getting to hang out with Liz before her move and see Elf in the new digs.
-Teasing Mom for calling it a “white Christmas” when it hailed on Christmas morning.
-Beating my brothers at ping pong. Sometimes.
-Getting to show off my beautiful ring…did I mention that we got engaged?

Weekend with the Pug

October 11, 2007 12:13 am

My boy was here for the weekend!

I took him to a poetry reading his first evening here. The readings are a regular thing, and the graduate students from both the publishing program that I’m in and the more traditional MFA program can sign up to read for about fifteen minutes. It’s held at the school, and the audience is mostly made up of the same pool of grad students. Anyway, I’d let myself be talked into being one of the readers for that night. It went really well! There were maybe fewer people than there might have been because of some subway problems that evening, but there was still a decent crowd, including a bunch of my poetry and publishing classmates to introduce Pug to. I read five or six poems, and the audience was appreciative.

The other big event was that we went to see Wicked on Sunday night! It’s a great spectacle show with a few especially hummable tunes, and we really enjoyed it! Compared to the book, the show restructures the plot entirely (and twists the ending to make it much lighter), but in general it does manage to stay true to the characters.

And of course in between, we had a great time wandering around the city, hanging out with my roommate and her boyfriend and being out usual silly selves.

On the job front, I’ve heard a resounding silence from one place, but the medical journal had me go out to their corporate office and interview with HR last Thursday. So now they’re doing background check-y sorts of things, ferreting out the deep dark secrets in my past… Right. Last I heard, the process is going smoothly — and I actually got a pleasant note from one of my references after they called him.

Another happy: my roommate and I decorated for Halloween this evening. Life is good.

Because Liz told me to. With good reason, too.

September 26, 2007 1:24 am

Wait. I last posted when, now? Really? Wow.

Well, when last heard from, I was with the family, nose deep in Harry Potter. Since then, I’m back in the city, back in school, and on the hunt for the elusive full-time job.

In the last month, I’ve interviewed for four positions, and the first two have already given me the “thanks, but no thanks.” The other two were both last week, so I’m waiting to hear back from those. One is a company that publishes books on religion (especially Buddhism and Hinduism), Eastern philosophies and also some fiction, poetry, and history. I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at the other one (a very well-respected medical journal), but I’m especially excited about the first one.

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This is what happens…

May 29, 2007 12:21 am

…when I forget to read my comics for a weekend.

Vogon poetry joke on Get Fuzzy.

Then the next day:
“I’ve been waiting for you, ObiWilco.”

Meanwhile, Multiplex does Shrek 3. Which I haven’t seen, just for note. Movie cliche, pop culture reference!

Meanwhile, my apartment has been a veritable hotel lately — first the roommate’s family here for her graduation, then the boyfriend here for his birthday, then the college friend here until she could start to move into the apartment where she’s subletting a room for the summer. All very nice and good fun, but nice to be back to normal-ish.

My six-week summer class started up last Monday and meets two nights a week. I like the prof, and the class is an interesting mix of people for whom this is their last class, people who are half done; MAs and MFAs; even a few juniors and seniors mixed in with the grad students. It’s a copyediting course, so it’s basically a lot of exercises in being nitpicky, which — hey, it’s me — is actually kind of fun.

Spring news

April 25, 2007 10:14 am

I realized that I have posted almost no actual news in the last month! It’s all been a bit mad.

My roommate and spent the middle of March apartment hunting, under the impression that we would have to move when our lease ran out on June 1. Our current building is gradually being rennovated and sold as condos, but as it turns out, that process is going more slowly than the owners anticipated (as I understand it, real estate is a buyer’s market right now), so they’re letting us renew the lease for another year. So that means I don’t get to be rid of our stained carpets, stained countertops, and finicky shower, but I am very glad to not have to move. Besides, I love the area around us, so I’m glad not to leave just yet.

School is almost finished for the spring — my last class is next Tuesday. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Research Paper Land, Group Presentation Land, and Final Project Land, but the end is in sight. Of course, there’s still a last paper, project revisions, and poetry revisions to do in the next week, but still — light, tunnel, yeah.

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Roommates and other funny people

April 8, 2007 12:08 pm

“We just got a nice new fish tank…the angelfish are in HEAVEN.”

“Do you have Cher-e-o-kee blood?”
-C., asking about the bag my cousing made for me that has the Cherokee alphabet on it. I think it’s hilarious — there should be a Native American rock band called Chereeokee, the Singin’ Indians.

“You’re not a Jedi for fun. That’s like your job.”
-L., my classmate. We were looking at an article that compared a young fisherman and his mentor to Luke and Obi-Wan.

“Christina, you can’t bring your author back from the dead…even though he may be from Transylvania.”
-G., my prof, reassuring my classmate. We were writing promotion plans for the manuscripts we are hypothetically publishing. Obviously her author can’t go on book tours, but his point was that she has the translators.

“I thought you were going to say ‘Oh, it’s in Rhode Island!'”
-R., my classmate, after I reveal (following considerable debate) that the house I have described in a poem is entirely metaphorical.

And on the Babylon 5 front, Sheridan has declared independance. A great episode — I love when Delenn gets to be a badass. Also just saw the two-parter that deals with the B4 timetravel storyline from season 1, which was several kinds of cool. My heart went out to Garibaldi, though. He’s in a coma when Sinclair gets reassigned, and now the guy comes through the station and all Michael gets is a last-minute note.

Spring break in Phoenix and what’s up here

March 19, 2007 12:39 am

Hello again! Get comfortable; this is a long one.

Phoenix was gorgeous, while Boston was cold, cold, cold two weeks ago. (We kept track. Phoenix: almost 70. Boston: 17. Etcetera.) Coming back to cold weather wasn’t too much of a wrench, though — last week we had some gorgeous weather, it almost felt like real spring! Meaning I went out Wednesday morning with NO hat, NO scarf, NO gloves! Fewer pieces to keep track of — I almost lost my hat on the subway a few weeks ago. I’d tucked it under my arm and it slipped out as I was leaving the subway station. Hit the cold air outside, missed it, and ran back. Lucky me, some wonderful person had picked it up and set it on top of a fire extinguisher! Nothing like starting the day with a scare! But I digress…

My first full day in Phoenix, we headed a little further south — Pug, me, brother C., and girlfriend A. — to spend the evening at Kitt Peak. Along the way we stopped at the Indian ruins at Casa Grande, as well as a Mexican place in Tucson that is notable for serving meat that they dry in what you might mistake for a birdhouse with mesh wire walls. Very tasty. We had so much good Mexican food last week.

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March 15, 2007 10:41 am

I thought about not doing it this year, but I hate to break the trend. And one of these years, I might actually read this play to boot. But in the meantime…

Remember March, the Ides of March remember:
Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake?
What villain touch’d his body, that did stab,
And not for justice? What! shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers,–shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.

– Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, IV iii

I hope this doesn’t bode ill for the phone interview I have set up for this evening. One of my profs has designed an assignment for which he wants us to interview an editor, so that’s what this is. Eep. From our correspondence, she seems very friendly, though. More on all that life stuff presently…

Book nerd strikes again

February 21, 2007 2:23 pm

This morning I’ve been catching up on book publishing newsletters that one of my profs forwards to us. Most of it is business-y (mergers and appointments and one heck of a mess with a distributor going bankrupt), but in between the cracks you can find the fun stuff. So here are three tidbits to make you say “huh!”

1. Bookstore tourism. That’s right, independent bookstores are becoming tourist destinations. It’s a little kooky, but I think it’s cute.

2. Viggo Mortenson founded an independent press (and they have a very strange main page). I knew he was a poet and an artist, but this was news to me! This blog has a nice piece all about it.

3. This year’s Newbery Award winner is causing a furor among parents and librarians. Apparently it uses the word “scrotum,” which, you know, is completely inappropriate for nine to twelve year old children. Because of course children are entirely asexual and we wouldn’t want them to learn the scientific words for their genetalia. It would be much better for them to be completely embarassed by their own sexuality and become repressed or repressive adults who freak out when scientifically appropriate words like “scrotum” appear in children’s books.

Whether the book is any good or not I don’t know (though now I intend to seek it out) — reviews are mixed, though as noted, it did just win the Newbery.