Monday, March 30, 2009

What Happened to Spring?

It snowed last night. !@#$ That's right. It is almost April and it snowed. My friends here assure me that this is perfectly normal and I seem to remember that my senior year of high school, it did snow on May 1st, but still. This light dusting of slushy snow seems like a personal affront.

I'm not even going to take a picture, I'm so disgusted. It seemed more reasonable last night, but I had drunk quite a bit of wine, and everything seemed more reasonable.

It might be my fault, though, I put my boots away in the closet. Clearly that bugged mother nature more than the clutter of my warm boots bugged me. Point taken. They'll be in the entry way until July.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Desk Sock

I am, my friends, an inventor.

I have invented a truly amazing study tool. At least for knitters. But if Raverly is any guide, there are a lot of graduate students who also knit.

I present to you, humble reader, the desk sock:

That's it, over on the right. It is a very simple concept, and I'm a bit stunned that I haven't come up with it before, but I'm a little slow. It is a basic sock, out of a lovely yarn, that lives on one's desk and is worked on while one accomplishes the endless reading that accompanies graduate education. I am working on a better system for holding books open, and one of these or one of these would probably help, but after one more chapter of the book on the desk, most of my reading will be photocopies or things I've printed from the internet, so no hurry. (It can totally wait for my birthday.) But the idea of the desk sock is this: because the sock (which should be out of particularly pleasant yarn-- this one is Noro Silk Garden Sock) is always at the desk, one will want to stay at the desk and continue reading. Because it is a basic sock pattern (no monkey business like cables or lace to keep track of), one can set it down mid-round to write down a note and then resume knitting and reading. Short of tea and washroom trips, I can stay at the desk with much more endurance than before because of this sock.

I fully expect royalties from the subsequent innovations of the desk scarf and desk sweater front and back, as they are clearly derrivitave of the desk sock.

(And if you can keep track of lace while reading complex literary theory, don't burst my wee bubble. I'm very proud of figuring this study tactic out, and my ego is a bit fragile lately.) (And no, I haven't decided exactly how to handle the heel in this idea.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Long, slow march into May...

There are only a few weeks left of classes, and I feel insufferably behind. I've been sick, I've travelled, but what it boils down to is that I am wiped out. Mostly mentally. That's what graduate school does.

Lately I'm reminded of a race I ran once in Percy Warner park in Nashville. It was a lovely 10k, and the first half (at least) was entirely up hill. The thing that made it so crushing to the brain was that the trail was winding. So I would get to what I thought was the top, and discover that there was still more up to go. When I bonked, I was fairly certain I was going to hit the sun. (I had some SportBeans and a gulp of water and shortly thereafter the downhill began. My brain started to work again.)

Today I bonked academically. I have any number of reasons, including overwork, pure exhaustion, the afore mentioned illness, student demands, but the point is, I couldn't do it anymore. I was working in my office, and after a brief internet break, I picked my book up to read again. I had to look at it for a full 30 seconds before I realized it was upside down. At which point, I did the academic equivalent of having some SportBeans and some water: I packed up and went to the yarn shop, where I bought a new bag (exactly the sort of messenger bag I've been looking for, and on sale) and a skein of entirely superflous sock yarn. (my only defence is: Noro was on sale. 20% off. As a knitter, I was obligated.)

In other news, I sat in the weirdest in-class discussion of my many years of education. (I am, after all, in about the 23rd grade now.) In the class I TA for, there topic of the lecture was reactions on the part of composers to the Great Depression. In particular, Aaron Copland was the topic at hand. They were talking about his Amercanist period, and the work Appalachian Spring (ignore cheesy powerpoint), and the question came up, "why is this American?" Since the only students who come to class on Fridays are the ones who actually care, and might have even done the homework, a really coherent and interesting discussion ensued. They were talking about the American idea of building things ourselves, and the vast open spaces of the American landscape, and ignoring the plight of native people in order to create a heroic narritive.

Then I remembered where I was, and the whole thing fell apart in my brain. My boss, leading the discussion, is a British woman, leading a bunch of Canadians in their quest to figure out and articulate "Americanness." And I had to sit there and listen. What a weird day. I'm going to spend my evening at home with a bottle of wine, perhaps a pizza, and my dog give my brain a rest, before trying to figure this stuff out tomorrow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why Not Wine, Indeed?

So I lived in Tennessee for 12 years, and still am there pretty often. I still vote there, and I'll admit one of the things that confused me when I lived there was the fact that you can buy beer at the grocery store, but not wine.

Today, Red, White, and Food is asking bloggers to use their online space to bring attention to this issue.

I'll mention that I find I buy more alcohol when I have to make a special trip: when I'm in Nashville or London, and I go to a liquor store, I stock up because it is a special trip. When I'm in Michigan, I don't, because I pick up a bottle of wine when I buy my dinner supplies. I have to go to the grocery store next week, so if I need wine next week, well, it can be part of next week's trip.

So if you live in Tennessee, contact your legislator and let them know what you think about this. If you don't, go to Kroger and buy a bottle and raise a glass.