Tuesday, April 29, 2008

but if you try sometimes you get what you need

I was on campus today for a student meeting. It was set up at the last minute, one of my least favorite kinds of meetings, and I nearly canceled it because A____'s car crapped out last night but he needed to get to New Haven today for a meeting which might determine whether he's funded over the summer. The grads who live near me were kind enough to respond to my request for a ride into campus, but all of them were leaving much earlier than I needed to be in. Again, I thought of rescheduling my meeting, but if I did that I'd be leaving my student hanging. He's a non-trad, commuter student and I felt bad about that.

So I bit the bullet and car pooled in, getting onto campus 3 hours before my meeting with nothing in particular to do that necessitated being on campus 3 hours before my meeting. Man am I glad I was there though! I was checking email and grading (mostly the former). I got an email from the student I was meeting asking to bump the meeting to an hour later since he got tied up off campus. Grrrrr...fine. Whatever. I'm stuck here until my ride is ready to take me home this evening. The next email I read was a job announcement forwarded by someone in my department. "What the hell, I need a job and apparently I have close to 4 hours to kill now" I thought and went down to talk to the woman who forwarded the announcement. She filled me in on the details. It's a gig advising incoming undergrads. A temp position, so it's only 7 weeks but it starts right at the end of the semester, it pays decent, and so far all my job leads have left me hanging (post interview, but still no word yet). Also, none of the job prospects were all that thrilling, offering either too few hours with no room to pick up time or too many hours with no room for flexibility. After about 10 minutes and one phone call, I had an interview. About 30 minutes later, I got the job offer. YEEeeeeehhaaaa!

The supervisor seemed very cool. I get holidays off, it's a 40 hour a week commitment but both the interviewer and the contact in my department told me it ends up being more like 30 although you need to be available for the full 40. The supervisor told me that if I desperately need a day off or to leave early or come in late, I can. I didn't ask, she volunteered this info.

I know I'll still have a job search on my hands but now it'll be in late June since this one ends mid-July. This is kind of nice, since aside from the temporary relief it provides, the job search was getting hard with grading, grading, student meetings, grading, big student project presentation, grading, last minute assignment fuckery, and more grading. Also, being offered a job that fast and having such a nice interview makes me feel a little less like a loser, which I was kind of starting to feel like after sending applications and resumes into the void.

All in all, I'm pretty damned happy with how today turned out. The sun is out after two days of nearly non-stop rain. I caught an early ride home with my office mate so now I'm home with coffee (and food) and cigarettes and ready for more grading. And I kind of feel like fate finally said "hey, let's cut her a little break..."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thank you Ms. Silverman

I just watched some Sarah Silverman Show episodes before returning to grading and now I have "Poop Song" in my head. Not totally irrelevant to grading these essays, but a song I'd rather not be humming for the next day or so. I think I'll have to get a Bonnie Tyler fix to bump it out. While I don't love Bonnie Tyler, few songs have the perseveration power of Total Eclipse of the Heart. We'll see if it can overcome the apparently quite catchy refrain "We pooped at the mall today!"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday, again

Yes, I know it does this every week. It's Monday again. This week holds last minute meetings with students (panicking), a phone call or two to my doctor's office (irritating), and looking at still more job postings. The panicking is the typical state of undergrads engaged in research with a public deadline looming. The irritating is that this rash I've been dealing with for over a month now is still not knocked down. The jobs? Well, it seems I have a shotgun approach to job searching. I apply to a bunch, interview, keep applying, keep interviewing, etc. until I get offers. I'm already starting to freak out a bit about what to do if I get a less desirable offer to start with. This happened to me in Ann Arbor. The first job I was offered (and accepted) was with what seemed like nice people but for peanuts-pay and very part time with no overtime or extra shift options. The day I accepted the offer, I got a call for an interview at a better (money and time wise) job. I wound up kind of dissing the former and taking the latter. But in Ann Arbor, it was a slightly bigger job market. Here in nowhere CT, it's not and I'm not sure I can afford to pull a stunt like that out here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Wouldn't it be nice if feminist organizations like N.O.W. started actually DOING things like arranging day care, work and professional training, teen activity centers, and other community works? I was thinking of this the other evening, possibly as a tangent from thinking about a recent murder of a woman I used to be neighbors with (by her husband*, in front of their kids. She was pregnant with his third kid).

In the news, it said the cops had been called for a fight between the husband and wife earlier in the day. I can attest to the constant yelling coming from the man's mouth when A____ and I lived in that apartment building. Another news story reported that a neighbor had said she was planning to leave her husband. She and I weren't close but we were neighborly. We hung out in a neighbor way, you know? Not like the neighbors you never talk to, like the neighbors you say hi to and stop and chat when you have time. The neighbors you stand outside looking at a rainbow with and smoking a cigarette between the small raindrops.

It wasn't a direct line of thought from this woman to the end point of thinking of feminism as hands on community activism and agency. It was more that the issue of access to pro-woman resources are very limited. E.g., that area of CT (where I used to live) has NO women's shelter, no women's community center, and the NOW chapter at the college less than 5 miles up the road busies itself with feel good activities like being pen pals with girls in juvy.

Fuck, you know?

So that arena of thought made me think, what if there were feminist based women's services in this area? Would my former neighbor have utilized them? Would she have sought them out? Possibly, but my experience in a working class, low(er) income population is that the concept of a "women's center" evokes notions of hairy legged ladies holding patchouli drenched menstrual lodges and the like. Ok, possibly not so extreme but you get the idea. But what if there were actual useful services to be had? What if we took a page from the neo-fundie-cons and started actually providing practical resources to the community? Would this woman have gone someplace that offered free day care and laundry facilities? Yeah, probably. Even if it was staffed by hair legged patchouli stinkin' feminists.

Anyhow, those are my thoughts from this week. There's been lots of "fear and loathing" here in CT lately - the shooting last week rocked me a bit. My closer to home life is good though. I'm leaving grad school, the departure is imminent and I am truly, honestly, and openly relieved. Yes, looking for a job freaks me out a bit but I've had some interviews and I am holding my own. It feels good.

* = technically I'm not sure they were married but they had been together for years and had two kids.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Sitting here waiting. I'm waiting for my fella's mother, who I invited to come to a job fair with me today. We made plans to meet at 9:30 at my place then head over to the thing (which runs 9 to 1), and she was going to call before she came over.

Then 9:00 came and went. Then 9:30. My fella called her. She was running late. Ok. So I waited. Caught up with a friend on the phone. Thought "wow I can't believe I was up and going at 7:30 on a Saturday!" and felt a smug, happy sense of impending productivity. I steamed my jacket sleeves, which were a little rumpled.

By about quarter after ten, small waves of vertigo from what I guess is a sinus/ear thing were starting to creep up on me. My fella offered to call her again. I counter offered. He said it would probably be better if he did. She got tied up with this and that but she's leaving in just a few minutes, and will call when she's on her way.

I can feel my productivity evaporating. I want to be patient, I really do, but I'm starting to get annoyed.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Sometimes in life, you just have to sit and wait for it to come around. I love the "back around" moments.
Yahoo/Google deal is anti-competitive: Microsoft
Seattle (Reuters)
Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday that any definitive agreement between Yahoo Inc and Google Inc would make the market for Web search less competitive.

Granted, it's not as deeply or personally satisfying as finding out this Fall about the marital strife and upcoming divorce of one of the professor's who had been using my IMMENSELY slow progress through my PhD program* as a lesson for junior grad students. It isn't as warm and fuzzy as how I expect I'll feel when I hear that my (former) department head's smoldering type two diabetes contributed to the first of many toe amputations two months after he's had his first heart attack (yeah, keep eating them skittles!). But Microsoft making a plea to "anti-competitive" does have a touch of satisfying irony, doesn't it?

* = I'd just finished 5 years, had 3 publications, and was collecting data for my dissertation proposal when I discovered he'd been using me as a cautionary tale of a (mal)lingering grad student

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I have a student who moved to the US only a few years ago, who started learning English by checking out free English language materials from the public library, and who then took English courses at the community college. I'm grading her first individual writing assignment and I gotta say, this student's writing is seriously kicking the ass of my "But I took AP English!" squealing, native English speaking, born and raised in the USA students.

Mother of god, I wish I could teach adult students who feel they have a personal stake in their education only. I might be tempted to actually stay in education if I knew I could do that.

Friday, April 04, 2008

boys part 2

I mentioned I have boys. The infestation is still ongoing. I've had many opportunities to hear and even interact with them because I've been home a lot this week fighting off a steroid enhanced throat/sinus thing. Which by the way, feels fucking awful. What does it feel like? Like a viral infection, on steroids. Get it?

Anyhow, I'm home lots and feeling shitty lots and the kids are here, not lots but loudly when they are. Last night featured kids in the hall, then kids down in the basement. I have to wonder, what possible appeal can it hold for them? Is it a throwback to when they were still living at mom and dad's house, 3 months ago, and they had to hide out in the basement to smoke their weed? I was going to say "to smoke a joint" but I'm doubtful these kids smoke out of anything other than overpriced glass bowls or vaporizers.

I found out this week that my landlord helpfully told the boys that "the people downstairs called the police on them". He told them this, he claims, to try to stress upon them the gravity of the situation (the situation being my landlord's inability to consistently and place screen tenants).

Here's who called the cops on whom. I called on people in the parking lot last weekend. The lady across the hall called specifically on the boys several weeks ago, and either the guys down the hall or the lady in front called on the boys as well two weekends ago now I think (I wasn't here for that one). But it turns out the boys assumed "the people" who called the cops were me and my fella. Why? My best guess is because my fella and I have spoken to them in person when they are being loud. Alone that's not really great reasoning, certainly wouldn't be sufficient for me unless I was 8. I think the rest of it goes something like "and the boys are not very smart thus they assume things like the 50 something year old disabled woman who had the misfortune to move in below them last month would not have called the cops on them for any one of their post 1 AM beer fueled fun-fests. Why would she? Afterall, she never came up, knocked on their door, and asked them to keep it down in the middle of a party".

Tonight's been quiet so far. Aside from some very occasional thumping and bumping, and the sounds of someone running down the stairs, a slam of the door which sounded like it was going to take the side of the house off, and then more running all the way across the porch and onto the pavement around the house and past the window just next to my desk, it's been peaceful.

And hey, my temperature is finally down a bit. I'm going to go celebrate by reading on the couch.