Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Five

I'm having a Movie Madness weekend. The Fame remake, The September Issue, and Adam are all coming out this weekend. I haven't decided which of the three I'm going to see, although I suspect Fame won't stay in the theaters long, so I should probably prioritize that one.

And tomorrow, I'm having a "bad movies we love" marathon with some friends. The line up includes The Karate Kid, Empire Records, and Stargate. I still haven't decided whether my contribution will be the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie or the original Fame.


I finally ordered a new computer---a netbook. My laptop has gotten ridiculously slow. I had sort of accepted that I couldn't watch videos online and that I could only buy one or two songs at a time from iTunes before the computer would crash. But now, even the most basic functions---just typing a single sentence---take forever.

And the "four" key fell off.

So now I'm just biding my time until Amazon decides to send me my new netbook. The case arrived yesterday, so I'm hopeful that the computer won't be far behind.


I'm about a quarter of the way through the term, and I'm already freaking out. This term was supposed to be "light." I'm only taking two classes. But I'm also TAing and working part time and trying to complete the prelims I was supposed to have done over the summer and rewriting all my grant proposals.

So not so much "light."


TAing is going well so far. I think. The beginning of the term has been complicated by the H1N1 virus. The university has overdone its awareness campaign, so now every student who wakes up a bit tired or with a scratchy throat thinks that he or she has the flu. And the university decided to make a policy that students don't need to provide a doctor's note for the flu, so they are even more likely to decide that they have the "flu."

Overall, though, my students seem nice and relatively bright. The discussions are going well, and they are turning in their assignments. I have a few problem children---including one girl who seems to think that my job includes chasing her down to schedule a make-up quiz and get her caught up on work after she was absent for two weeks and a few students who haven't yet figured out which section they are actually registered for---but that's to be expected. Of course, they haven't yet discovered how mean I am---you know, with expecting them to give the correct answer on exams and write a college-level research paper.

I got my student evaluations back from the summer session, and a good number of them thought that I was a hard---"unfair"---grader. A good number of them also undermined their point by adding that I was a hard grader "for a summer course." Apparently I didn't get the memo that summer classes were supposed to be an easy A. Oops.


I told my co-advisor about my plans for library school. She was a little surprised---and a little concerned that I meant that I was dropping out of the anthropology program---but generally supportive. She asked some good questions that I need to find the answers for.

We also had a great conversation about my concerns with being an anthropologist---namely that I don't feel like I have the overwhelming drive needed for anthropology. I think anthropology is interesting; I like studying it and talking about it in class and writing the occasional paper on it; but I'm not completely absorbed by it. I don't want to curl up with an ethnography at night or spend my weekends with a stack of journal articles. I think my research site is interesting, but I'm not itching to get into the field and I've never wanted to stay any longer than I absolutely had to. I want a balance between my work and my life.

Dr. W. suggested that I perhaps had a skewed perception of the practicing anthropologist that comes more from what people present themselves as rather than what they really do---that most of the professors in the department do find a work/life balance, even if their boundaries between the two sometimes are a bit flexible. And I think she makes a good point. My perception of how I "ought" to be is based on how the people around me---particularly my fellow grad students---think they "ought" to be presenting themselves.

At the same time, though, I think I know at least some of the other students well enough to know that they are authentic in their passion for anthropology, both the theory and the fieldwork, to a degree that I'm not.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Five

Five Things I'm Doing When I Should Be Working on Prelims

1. Revising my grant proposal for the umpteenth time. On the bright side, my advisor finally---finally!---gave me some positive feedback. That's not to say that she didn't suggest changing every other word, but at least she didn't receive it with complete despair. So, progress.

2. Applying to a different department. I finally made good on my promise/threat from the past four years: I met with the graduate coordinator at the UW School for Library and Information Sciences to find out how to apply for the program. Unfortunately, I do have to go through the application process, but they have a fairly high acceptance rate (65%) and the coordinator thought I'd be a strong candidate.

I'm also taking a course this term on archives management so that I can start knocking off requirements.

I'm still thinking about the program as "in addition to" rather than "instead of" my doctorate in anthropology, because I think I'd like to focus on special collections or research.

3. Reading non-required reading. I'm about halfway through What is the What by Dave Eggers, and I've started A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. I'm barely resisting the urge to get The Magicians by Lev Grossman and Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder (if I get a good coupon from any of the bookstores, resistance will be futile). And the new Margaret Atwood novel comes out in 11 days.

4. Watching way too much television. The new seasons of Project Runway, Top Chef, and The Rachel Zoe Project are all underway. And America's Next Top Model started this week. Then there are all the new fall shows to check out. I thought I wasn't going to be interested in the new shows, but I forgot about Glee! (yay!), the Melrose Place reboot, Community, The Beautiful Life, FlashForward. Plus all my old faithfuls: CSI, CSI:NY, Law & Order, SVU, Gossip Girl, Castle, 90210, Bones.

Yeah . . . my DVR will be put to good use in the coming months. My brain, not so much.

5. Wondering what is wrong with people. Seriously, how can anyone be against universal health care? Or think that a Presidential address to students is a secret communist plot? Or think it's okay to compare President Obama to Hitler? Who are these people, and when did we stop rolling our eyes and start taking them seriously?