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Apr. 17th, 2014

Manhole

(no subject)

It's been almost a month since I've posted. Oops. Seems like my social media platforms are shifting, though I've been on LJ in some form for the better part of a decade. (Or, uh, more.)

So, here are five relevant things from the interim time:

(1) Bought our tickets home. We'll be back for good on May 9th, in the late evening. Powerful urges for home have set in, now that it's gotten close--but I also know I'm going to miss my CF box pretty fiercely, so I am sad about that.

(2) I have finished a draft of the thesis (60 pages / 19,000 words or so). So, from here til the end I have [1] revisions on the thesis and [2] two essays for class to complete. That's it. The long slog is almost over; I can see light on the horizon; etc. Of course, there's one more year of teaching and courses and writing at UofL when I get back, before -->

(3) I'm definitely taking a year off from academia and, if that works out, quitting the process for good. There are plenty of jobs that a person with two MAs can get in a university; I don't have to leave the culture or the community just because I might not ever pursue a PhD. I have a few people to talk to about my options, in this direction, and some thinking to do.

(4) Liverpool has been remarkably good for letting me get a taste of what the PhD process would be like: the relocation, the stress, the isolation, the continued grind on nerves that have been shot for a good three years now, etc. It has made me very sure I need the time off.

(5) I fractured my big toe, around where it joins the foot-proper. I dropped an empty barbell on it from chest height. Which, so you know, is excruciating. I'm on light duty for the next few weeks while it heals: have to do any olympic lifting with no jump, feet locked in place; no box jumps or running or jumping rope, etc. But I can still lift nice and heavy, and I can scale crossfit around the toes issue, so. I'm not couch bound. (I was for the first five days or so and it almost drove me insane.)

Mar. 19th, 2014

Manhole

Books Read 2014

So, I realized that it's nearly April and I haven't actually made a single "books read" post? The odd shifts between social media platforms--using more Facebook, whether I like it or not, and less LJ--seem to leave me forgetting things that I'd like to keep track of. (Like posting workout logs, which now that I'm on a close-to-6-day schedule, has started to seem like a hassle.)

So, without further ado.

Books Read 2014

1. “Cry Murder! In a Small Voice” by Greer Gilman [review at Tor.com]
2. “Red Delicious” by Kathleen Tierney (Caitlin Kiernan) [review at Tor.com]
3. “Red Caps” by Steve Berman [review at Tor.com]
4. “The Undead Pool” by Kim Harrison [review at Tor.com]
5. “Handsome Devil” edited by Steve Berman [review at Tor.com]
6. “The Constant Gardener” by John Le Carre
7. "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie
8. "The Red Tree" by Caitlin R. Kiernan
9. "The Drowning Girl: A Memoir" by Caitlin R. Kiernan
10. "In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction" by Sarah Lefanu
11. "Scruffians!" by Hal Duncan [review at Tor.com]
12. "Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions" by Hal Duncan [review at Tor.com]
13. "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith [confession: there was skimming involved]
14. "The Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro
15. "Narcissistic Narrative: The Paradox of Metafiction" by Linda Hutcheon
16. "Queer Theories" by Donald Hall
17. "Paratexts" by Gerard Genette
18. "Succeeding Postmodernism: Language & Humanism in Contemporary American Literature" by Mary K. Holland

Mar. 15th, 2014

Manhole

(no subject)

The to-do list that preceded thesis work has been vanquished: essays and talks written, books reviewed, magazine work tackled. So, this week has signaled the start of the thesis-specific to-do list: lots more research reading, plus writing at least the introduction and an outline in the next week or week and a half.

I've been keeping up the close-to-book-a-day pace on the research this week; I've also gotten about 1,000 words drafted (though admittedly like 350 of those are just part of a later chapter that I got down in rough when an structural idea occurred to me). The introduction, if I work a bit per day while also finishing the research, should be done on schedule. Then there are four reasonably sized chapters to complete. Though the requirement is a minimum of 15k, I suspect this one will clock in around 20k, which is a range I work well at. (The Russ thesis was 21k.)

There has been... some panic, yes. Some rough days. But as of yesterday, there are only eight weeks left. Plenty to do during those eight weeks, but spring is approaching, and with it, home.

*

Regular CrossFit classes have been, by the way, a delight. I've been tackling fresh skills left and right, testing endurance and conditioning in more varied and intense ways, et cetera. It's a good group, too--the folks are friendly, open, and encouraging.

I regret not testing in sooner. If I'd had my mental game together over the fall semester, and been training properly, I would have been up to where I needed to be around, oh, December. Hindsight. In fact, if there's one thing I'll miss, it'll be this gym and the group there. Good coaching, solid companionship, fun work.

Mar. 13th, 2014

Manhole

(no subject)

So, since the listing has been posted on their website, I'll go ahead and announce it here: on March 27th, I'll be giving a talk ("He, She, They, Per: Language in the Liminal Spaces") at the University of Connecticut as part of their "Out to Lunch" lecture series.

And yeah, that means I'll be flying in the day before, crash-sleeping for a night, doing the talk and some further conversation with the campus community, crash-sleeping one more night, and flying out the next day. (In short, ouch, travel.)

Further details are available at UConn's Rainbow Center website, here.

Feb. 24th, 2014

Manhole

(no subject)

Over the past eight or so days, I have:

(a) read three books, two of which were critical nonfiction
(b) written a 3000 word essay on one
(c) written reviews of the other two, between 1000-1500 words each
(d) read for and then wrote the next short fiction column for Tor.com, another 1000 words or so
(e) done editorial work

--and also the usual shit like "attend seminars" and "be at the gym for long periods of time" and "eat food."

Now I just have to keep up this kind of volume for the next two months.

Feb. 22nd, 2014

Manhole

Log Week 2/16-2/22

Managed to have both of my feet cramp at once after standing up a squat wrong/awkwardly on Tuesday--so, that was unpleasant, and cut the day off short. Otherwise, a fairly straightforward work week: went a little heavier on bench, did some 5x5 deadlifts at 80%, etc.

The first two warmish days have been this week; I think it's no coincidence that I've started to feel like my volume is low and my body could do more-more-more. Slogging through the winter hibernation is tough, but with the onset of spring also comes a certain animal drive to be doing stuff all the time. I welcome it.

Also, I think I'll be retaking the CF assessment next weekend.

Log Week 2/16-2/22Collapse )
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Feb. 16th, 2014

Manhole

Log Week 2/9-2/15

Hit new squat and deadlift PRs this week; since there's no CF this weekend, I decided I could go a little heavier for fun and not have to worry about being too beat up at the end of the week's cycle. (I also failed a heavy squat and had to do the roll of shame out from under the bar, but so it goes.)

Trying to stay on track to retake the CF assessment at the end of the month. I need to shave a minute off of my conditioning time, and also get my endurance up on strict pushups.

Log Week 2/9-2/15Collapse )
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Feb. 8th, 2014

Manhole

Log Week 2/2-2/8

A decent-to-mediocre week; work getting done, but none of it exciting or fancy. I kept to last week's squat weight and tried to work on form--I did manage to mostly cull the lean to the left I was noticing, though I think there's a mild imbalance in strength between those two legs that only comes out when the weight's heavy. The answer: more single-leg work.

Oh, and I got in some time on the heavy bag. I was agitated as all fuck, and the room was empty, and--well. I didn't wear gloves. It was more important that I get in the time, trust me. Should have seen the bruises that blossomed out over my knuckles by that night! The pain was pleasant and appropriate--that dull ache with a raw overtone at the skin level--while I was hitting the bag, so it's no problem. My hands just aren't particularly tough. The bruises have shaded into a sort of pale tan-yellow now, but they were very visible for a couple of days.

I did ask, though, yesterday, about borrowing the gym's gloves next time. The staff member was amused. So was I.

Log Week 2/2-2/8Collapse )
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(no subject)

90 days.

I swear I'm not going to do a countdown too regularly, but--90 days is a sort of landmark.

After I finish reading this Rushdie novel for the seminar next week, I'll be starting thesis reading in earnest: re-reading the novels I want to discuss, brushing up on the theoretical framework and also adding to it, ranging out for some research material, etc. According to the schedule I have developed for getting the damn thing done, I have until approximately March 20th to research and annotate and think.

Then from March 20th to March 30th, I'll be putting together the official proposal and a full outline--like, a *really* full outline. With bracket notes for each section. (I also have A Thing I have to do on March 26th-28th that I'll be announcing soonish, so that'll knock out a few days.) From April 1-21st--which covers some of spring break--I'll be drafting. By that third week of April, I need a full draft of the thesis to be finished so I can meet with my advisor about revisions and be clear to come home on time.

I also have three essays for seminars to write: 1x5,000 words and 2x4,000 words. Theoretically I could write that last 4k one from home if I can arrange to turn it in digitally. If I have to turn it in early--well, so be it. I don't think there's ever been a *better* motivation to get things done than coming home?

Oh, and also a few book reviews, a commissioned essay, and The Thing I can't announce yet. And editorial work. Because I like life to be, I don't know, exciting. Or crushing. Whichever.

Feb. 3rd, 2014

Manhole

Log Week 1/25-1/31

This was a positive week, namely because the workout of the day in CF last Saturday was a repeat of the "conditioning test" I failed when I initially took the assessment for the regular CF classes. And I shaved 2:30 off of my time between those two performances, so--yeah. 2:30. I often feel like I'm going nowhere fast with regards to my competence at CrossFit, but that's quite a drastic improvement.

Otherwise, had some minor squatting issues last week? So I'll likely stick to that weight this week, and pay extra special attention to standing up symmetrically; I favor the left side a bit sometimes when things get heavy, which makes my leg ache and cramp. No fun.

Week 1/25-1/31Collapse )

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