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Posts tagged games

We all want you to go, so what’s the hold up?

Hurrah for game nights.  This was a good one!  It’s always lovely to have Heather and Kevin over… and I really needed it today.

I got up pretty early, but it was so cold outside I didn’t really want to get up.  Frost all over, and even at 9:00 it was still only 32 degrees by my thermometer!  Warmed up decently as the day wore on, certainly nothing like the big snow they’re getting back home.  I’d give just about anything to be stuck in Seattle inside a toasty house and surrounded by snow.  Listening to everyone get all giddy and half-assedly panicking about it is enough to make me pretty homesick.

I’ve been feeling a bit like I’m in a void lately.  I’ve sent out several emails about nothing important, but not heard back from anyone.  I started to wonder if my email was even working.  I made some phone calls, appointments, all that… but as soon as I’ve done it, it no longer feels real.  I’ve taken care of some business, but it doesn’t actually effect my life.  I just go on, through the motions, doing what ever it is I told myself I was supposed to be doing… not because I want to, but because some past me decided I was supposed to, and so that’s what I do.  It’s a little like I’m driving as fast as I can down the freeway with no destination, but with a series of directions that say “turn left now” and apply regardless of my location.  For instance, tomorrow I know I must send two packages.  I can’t remember what I’m putting in them, and keep forgetting whether or not I’m done shopping for the people they are intended for.  But regardless, the physical boxes with peoples names written on them will be sent and thus Christmas will be saved.  I guess.

Which is why we needed to have company over tonight.  To make me operate in the present.  To make me make decisions that had immediate real-world application.  To make me feel like I have my shit together even when I clearly do not.    Though sometimes I think that maybe I do have my shit together, but I just don’t know it, and that makes me feel like I’m losing it.   I feel like one of those tiny dogs who can chase its tail until it gets dizzy and falls over.  I’m getting dizzy, and I’m not doing anything more worthwhile than pursuing the feeling that what I’m looking for is right outside my vision.   If only I could turn around fast enough to catch it, I’d have hope and cheer and holiday joy.

Nights like this make me wonder if this is what’s hard about graduate school as a concept – not the workload, but the mental distraction and state of constant movement.  At this point in my life, with this focus on wanting roots and family, it seems like I should be working in some decent paying job so I could afford all the presents I wanted to send, and so I could spend the money and take the time off to see my family, and maybe even start a family of our own.  But all of that seems infinitely more put-off-able than postponing (i.e., never getting) your PhD.   And I’ve wanted a PhD way longer than I’ve wanted a family, though it seems callous to measure it by that standard.   Everything seems callous when you measure it against giving your everything for your children, even those of the future unborn type.

I just don’t know what it’s all about.

Settling In

It’s been a week of socializing, which for me, is probably a record.  I went out Thursday with my co-TA to Sudwerk, and here I am again, blogging after a dinner at Sudwerk with more ling friends!  Lewis and I met up with another grad student who lives in my office, and her husband, and we rocked the drinks and eats… so tasty.  They actually had a pretty nice jazz band playing tonight as well, which was excellent though it did make it difficult to hear anyone talking.  Double bonus points for us – we went out to dinner with some folks for the first time, and then we invited them over!  Turns out they like games as much as we do, so we played a round of Zombie Fluxx, and then introduced them to some Cheap Ass Games (namely, Secret Tijuana Death Match).  So much fun!

And to top it all off, I even got a fair amount of work done today.  Here’s to being, I hope, one day away from being done with my transcription.  Sigh.  Too bad I have to code it after that!  Tomorrow should be good though.  A nice, calm Sunday, with a great week coming up!  Tuesday is a holiday, so we don’t have class.  Mondays have always been pretty chill.  And my parents will be in town Thursday!  Yay!  I’m rather looking forward to much in the near future.  And I’m not letting myself get too worried about the upcoming papers, though I know there’s a lot of work to be done…

For now, lets just call this much Saturday success!

From the Window to the Doorway

Having one of those not-knowing-where-to-start blog days.  I’ll start at the beginning, and then not really finish anything because I’m tired and it’s time to go to sleep.

Had “New TA Orientation” at the Department this morning which wasn’t much about TAing and was a lot about the professors we’re TAing for sharing their teaching experiences with the new professors.  Not much to protest about, it was interesting to listen to and sort of helped put my mind in the framework of what Linguistics 1 is really going to be about.  Lots of actual useful information about the types of students, material that is always hard to teach, who to expect to preform well, etc, etc.  General goodwill for all.

Followed by “Department Orientation” which wasn’t much new news at all, and rather similar to the graduate student introduction-type day we had in March after we’d all been accepted but before we all committed to coming to UCD.  A little more frivolous this time, very amusing, and very jovial.  Plus lunch was provided.  Anyway, general got to catch up with some other folks, and a good time was had.

Met with the instructor I’m TAing for and my co-TA for this quarter.  Co-TA is very nice, professor is very nice, and everyone is twice as organized and twice as well prepared as I was fearing.  Not many frets over how TAing is going to go now, as several important things were discovered.  First, turns out the sessions aren’t mandatory.  Everyone who is there either wants to come, or needs help, both of which are great.  Second, the professor’s syllabus lists out exactly what it is the students will expect we’re discussing in sections.  Third, the class is rather hard, and the sections realistically will be all problem sets and very little “discussion” or “lecture”.  And lastly, the department and the internet are full of wonderful resources for problem sets, and I (lucky me!) even get the answer keys.  All I have to be is not boring-as-hell or needlessly confusing, and todo es bueno.

Came home, crashed out a bit, got lots loaded into my calendar (TA stuff mostly) and even put a little light reading under my belt.  I got the books for LIN 1 from the professor (another bonus: TAs get those class books for free and can even keep them…) so I thought I’d start putting a dent in the first weeks assigned readings.  It’s actually serving to excite me about some of the fundamentals and hows-and-whys of linguistics that got me into the major in the first place.  It’s turning out to be a really nice refresher course!

Had a nice hang out with Ben and Maya, possibly my favorite Davisites.  Taught Maya cribbage, had lots of tea, and finally got to try out our hookah!  Very enjoyable, and rather relaxing.  Tomorrow is our last big day off — class doesn’t start till Thursday, and it’s certainly felt like I’ve had a whole weeks worth of stimulation already.  Big plans in the works though — pumpkin bread perhaps, and laundry!  And perhaps a bit more LIN 1 reading.  Phew.  I’m really raring to start class though.  I’ve gotten all hopped up on orientations and I’m ready to go give my best and all that, tut tut, cheerio, etc.


Portland's Amtrak Station

Portland's Amtrak Station

Sitting here in Eugene, Oregon waiting for something or other. I really love the Amtrak, and it always makes me a little sad when it gets caught in train traffic or behind track work or something and people blame Amtrak for the delay. It’s almost never Amtrak’s fault, as far as I understand it, since Amtrak does not control or in any way operate the tracks or schedules, but merely runs these passenger trains. At any rate, we got stuck for a good 45 minutes outside Eugene, and now we’re sitting at the platform waiting for something to happen. We’re quite a bit behind schedule, but for an interstate train it still doesn’t seem too bad. Luckily I have this here laptop, upon which I loaded the Linux port of Civilization II for the Lewis to play in just these sort of situations. Yay!