badness, school

School will make me crazy before it makes me smart

i made this

i made this

When a new semester of grad school approaches I disappear into my dark place.  A place where no light pierces the inky blackness, which is a metaphor for stress.

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of getting ahead on the readings while I’m not getting bogged down with endless papers and crap.  I found some good people to be in “inquiry groups” with this semester (which is apparently a requirement for both classes, oddly), so I’m feeling good about that.

Still, school is shitty because it never ends.  There’s always something you should be doing, a forum to post on, an article to read, a paper to outline/write.  There’s only a week between this semester and the next, then there’s a three month break because, y’know, they felt like fucking with our schedules or whatever.

But I’m only complaining because it’s inconsistent, and nobody likes change.  The one thing in this program I can count on, though, is the confusion.  On behalf of everyone.  All the time.  The professors are confused about the syllabi because they didn’t write them, so they can’t explain them to the students.  The students are confused because they don’t get clear instruction from the (confused) professors.  The education department is confused because no one seems to know who did write the fucking syllabus for whatever class you said you were in, so maybe try calling back later?

can i still get that letter of rec?

can i still get that letter of rec?

One professor (who was changed a few days before the class began) wrote us three emails in the first week, all within ten minutes of each other, essentially saying:
1) Hey guys, take a look at this outline from class last week.
2) Subject: “Oops!”  Wrong class, my bad!
3) Subject: “Yikes!”  Jkjk, that was meant for you guys.  “Carry on!”

Tonight I got an email from her with the subject “READ THIS PLEASE!”  It went on to outline deadlines for assignments that were vaguely gone over in class, and let us all know that a bunch of us had already lost points for not doing shit we didn’t know we were supposed to do.  When my world is being turned upside down, this is the consistency I know I can depend on.  Thank the FSM for small miracles.

I would bail out if I weren’t already two semesters in.  Plus, I want my damn master’s degree.  My idea of my adult self has included getting a higher education degree for so long, it would be weird not to have one.   Not to mention the added benefit of better job opportunities in the future (PLEASE KTHXBAI).

badness, humor, work

Haiku distraction: Motivational speaker

At an Office Job meeting some months ago, the invited speaker was a college football coach (for some reason).  He went to the podium and spoke enthusiastically (and endlessly) about the football players and so on, none of which had to do with the parents or their kids.  And yet on he went, giving me material to haiku about.


Facebones: the ultimate motivational speaker

Facebones: the ultimate motivational speaker

He’s got that gung-ho
attitude.  He’s a winner.
Euthanize him, please.

Coaches are basically motivational speakers with hundreds of sports plays smashed into their heads.

Coach Buck Bobby-Joe
Johnson has a story for
everything today.

“Lemme tell you about this one kid,” he said many, many times.  None of the stories were pertinent to the meeting’s purpose or its participants in any way.  But football is huge, and the players are mini-celebrities, so he had a pretty captive audience.

He says it’s “college
football, not football college.”
Why’s he our speaker?

Needless to say, I was unimpressed with his presentation, nor am I particularly enamored of any celebrity athlete-types.

For a football coach,
he sure is enthused about
education.  Right?

He kept emphasizing the football players’ scholarly pursuits, as if that’s why any of them attend college (or that anyone in the room gave a shit).

pointless pointless pointless

pointless pointless pointless

Then someone else stood up to speak, as if that’s what we needed: more monologuing.

This guy’s got a mouth
on him.  The crowd loves him.  These
parents are sold now.

This guy had started his own email/blog thingie about college sports, and could not stop talking even though he kept saying, “I’ve been speaking too long,” and “I said I was going to keep it short, and I’ll finish soon.”  Still, the crowd was with him, so he had no reason to shut up.

I’d had enough of listening to white men wax poetical about their hard-on for football.  It was time for dessert.

The vanilla cake
was apparently made by
Hello Kitty.  Yum!

The cake had lace and pink shit all over it.  I couldn’t figure out what was edible and what was decoration.  I think the point was to kill us with sweetness in more ways than one.


every attendee at the meeting resembled this guy

every attendee at the meeting resembled this guy

“The most precious gifts
are those unwrapped by the heart.”
Christ, what does that mean?

The time then came for the parents to endlessly thank each other for all their endless giving and “hard work.”  The speeches were the worst part.

So many awards!
How thankful can a group of
volunteers be?  Guh.

What a monumental waste of time.  So much money spent on gifts and certificates and crap, I could not believe the self-congratulatory nonsense my coworkers and I witnessed in just three long hours.  I felt like shouting, “Feed some homeless people, you rich, white bastards!”

On an unrelated note, my search for Facebones pulled up this “Jem” (pun very much intended).



goodness, life

It’s happening

cat = me. villain = also me.

I just asked for the letters of recommendation I need to apply to graduate school.  They said yes, and the rest of my application is done.  It’s happening.  I’m applying to grad school.  Why didn’t I do this years ago?  I really am my own worst enemy.  I’m kinda just sitting at my desk, crying quietly, now.  I’m so happy I’m finally moving toward a goal that I’ve been avoiding for at least three years.  This is what I want: a sense of progress, to study what fascinates me, to do what I love.

I’ve been a little ashamed of myself every day since I realized I should have applied to grad school long ago.  Every time I sat down and thought, “Things are pretty great right now,” there was that little voice in the back of my head that added, “…but if only I were in grad school.”  Like a mist that has hidden the vivid colors my day-to-day life from view, my happiness has been overshadowed by a sense of shame; I knew I was holding myself back.  There was no outside force.  Sure, I didn’t have anyone I could ask for a letter of recommendation at the time, but I could have re-forged bonds with professors in the time it has taken me to get my shit together and apply.

And now it’s happening, and I am proud.


A sample of Art History

by Maxfield Parrish

If you’ve never taken an art history class, here’s your chance to see what it’s like.

Turn off the lights, and watch this short narrative about how trees affect this curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My mind tends to enter a mode of hyper-interaction when I’m online, so I have to remind myself of the key phrase that re-focused me whenever my mind started to wander in my own art history classes during collage: “Shhh.  Look closely.”

It’s tough looking at pictures of art for hours at a time, in the dark, while a soothing voice drones on about this emperor or that goddesses, why this type of marble was used and how paints are made.  A silent, sharp mind is necessary, and mine was not always either one.  But art history is the best!  It’s a picture book of human history.  Super cool!

badness, goodness, work

Regret in the purplish-red spectrum

I don’t have many regrets about my life so far.  I probably should have gone straight to graduate school from college instead of trying my hand in the working world (retail, bleh), but then I wouldn’t have had the chance to teach martial arts to kids, which has been predictably hilarious, and surprisingly rewarding.  I used to fantasize about teaching martial arts for a living, and now I do it.  I would not have been able to apply to the MAT program at Office Job without paying tuition.  I love teaching my foreign friends better English, and to think that I might also be able to do that for a living in the future is really exciting.  And so on.  So my biggest regret has also provided me with great opportunities.

as I recall, mine looked... significantly better

Having said that, there is one thing I regret that I cannot rectify in the near future: I should have dyed my hair more.  I have dark brown hair, so it’s easy to dye it subtly.  I look at students who dye their hair and I think, “Why didn’t I do more of that?  That looks awesome!”  It’s such a harmless, fun change to make on yourself, like crazy makeup.  In college I dyed the inside curtain of my hair jet black, and I dyed the outer curtain’s tips a light pink.  It looked bizarre and fantastic.  I loved it.  I wish I had done more of that.  Every time I see purple or red dye on a shelf, I think, “One day, one day…”  Of course, I can’t do it now with Office Job, and after that it’s job interviews for teaching jobs.  But after that I’ll be in my 30s, and dying my hair purple will seem… forced.  But if I still have the urge,  you’d better believe my dark brown hair will have a subtle red streak running through it at some point.  I already have a natural solid gray streak in the works (which I love).

red dye requires looking wistfully away from the camera (i hope! lol)

I think the core of the issue is that I miss having the freedom to change my appearance to something outside the norm.  Everyone looks the same here at Office Job.  We all wear clothes we don’t really like to conform to an image of “office attire,” uncomfortable shoes, boring, drab colors, recycled looks and compliments.  It’s such a shame!  I’m not saying we don’t look nice, or that I hate my Office Job clothes (some of the clothes I bought for this job have encouraged me to dress more stylishly which is fun and new for me).  I’m saying I don’t want to have to put on the worker bee mask every day I work here.  Dull, dull, dull.  Give me something to look forward to!

goodness, humor, life

Color me defined

It’s a harsh truth that, as complex as people are, just one or two pertinent questions usually tells us all we care to know about a person.  This is true at any age, though the questions change from elementary school to our mid-20s in the following pattern: visual aesthetic, intelligence, personality type, and personal ambition and economic status.

Mid-20s: What are you up to?
Also known as, “Are you currently employed?” this question determines if you’re a self-motivated go-getter and are therefore worth continuing to talk to, or if you’re just some jerk who bounces from job to job, complaining until you inevitably quit.

we're unique because we dress the same!

Where are you living?
In LA, there are only so many places we 20-somethings can afford to live:
Hollywood: I’m fucking poor, but I love the night life (but if you know of something opening up on the Westside, please let me know).
Silverlake: I ride my one-speed to art shows whenever my tight pants permit.  I eat pho and anything soy based; if it’s not organic, it’s murder.
Westside: I’d rather pay more rent and have gorgeous weather than save $150/mo to get mugged on my five-block walk from my car to my tiny apartment in K-town.
Culver City: I found that one affordable apartment near downtown Culver.  My friends are jealous.

College: What’s your major?
If your answer is Business or Communications, it’s like saying “I don’t know what interests me because I’m too lazy or too thick to be self-reflective,” or “My parents still control my life.”  Every other major is awesome in comparison to these conversation killers.

Are you rushing?
This is a question for freshmen, and a contentious one for some.  From my perspective:
Yes– You’re as lost as I am, but not confident enough to try this “college” thing out before attaching yourself to a group of people who look just like you.
Nah– I approve.
No way– What are you doing for lunch?  Let’s be friends.

High school:
Are you taking any APs this year?
If you weren’t in at least one AP class, you were one of those kids.  My friends were smart, and we had egos to match.  I’m not proud of it, but intellectual prowess was (and still kinda is) like a currency to buy the approval of our peers.

this is the face of judgement

Elementary school: What’s your favorite color?
I wish we could still ask people this.  It would be so telling.
Blue– not creative enough to think of another color
Green– one step up from blue, you decided you like plants (hippy)
Yellow– I can bully you later
Purple– you like dumb stuff like unicorns, and you’re nice to everyone
Black– the coolest person you know is your older (teenage) sibling
Brown– liar, no one likes brown more than blue
Orange– we should be friends
Red– you’re going to disrupt class later (it’s gonna be awesome)