yrmencyn: (armadillo)
One of my students dropped this past Thursday... what's up with that?  And I feel vaguely bad about it, because she was the only one whose name I couldn't remember on Wednesday!  But I liked her - she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders... huh.  Very strange.
yrmencyn: (food)
So, I'm sitting in class, and Dr. Noyes is telling us about some of her fieldwork in Catalunya.  She's talking about the extremely late-night bar habits of her friends in this little Catalan town in the early 90s.  Apparently, the thing to drink in the late nights (and early in the morning, if you were hungover) was an Atmoic Chamomile: chamomile tea with gin.

Oy.

Hi peeps

Oct. 31st, 2007 10:34 pm
yrmencyn: (Default)
We-e-e-e-ell, it's been about two and a half months since I put up a substantive entry.  I don't even know how to give an update of everything that's going on.  I've been really busy for... oh, since school started.  Teaching is kicking my ass four ways from Sunday.  Not that it's too hard -- I think I'm doing a good job -- but it's just a lot of damn work.  I know the teachers on my flist are rolling their eyes and saying "Uh, yeah," but really: it surprised me.  I think it'll be better next quarter, since I won't be preparing lesson plans all the time, and I'll have some sort of idea what I'm doing.  Or I could be totally wrong, and it'll still be nuts.  Either way, that's part of the reason I've been gone so long (although I assure you, I've been reading, even when not posting).

My Student/Faculty Reading went well.  I got many compliments, and I felt like it was a very successful time.  I like performing.  I'm fascinated by the performance aspect of my profession, which I think many of my colleagues don't think about, or discount.  (Not to say they're bad for that; everybody has different interests.)  It was a great experience, and I'm glad that my family was there for it (Mom, Dad, my aunt, my sister and her husband, Kevin).  Poetry in general... I feel like my work is strong recently, and that's great.

The broader academic view... oy.  There's a good chance I'm going to be going back to school after I'm done with this degree.  I hate this.  I mean, I like to learn.  I really do.  But more grad school... man, I will have been in post-secondary school for nine years after I graduate with my MFA.  I'm burned out.  I don't know if I can handle three (or more) years after that.  And yet, it's REALLY hard to get the kind of job I want without a PhD.  So I don't know.  I'm looking at regular ol' academic PhDs and PhDs with creative dissertation, but I'm also keeping my eyes open for other ideas (university jobs that I might could end up with despite not having a PhD, prep school gigs, the dreaded adjunct positions, etc).

Er... that's about enough writing, I think.  Yep, yep.  Maybe we'll try to make a tradition of this.  And maybe I'll see some of you tomorrow night [I'll be singing! Songs!]:
harvest
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Today was a really interesting day for me, artistically.  Wednesday nights I have my Word & Image seminar, and tonight we met out at the Ackerman Library, specifically at the Book Arts lab in that building.  It was really fascinating to see some examples of artists' books, to see what people have done creatively.  We have to do a final project for that class, and though I might do something totally different, I have all these book-thoughts in my head; the possibilities are so numerous!  I've got Liz checking out this kind of canvas that you can run through an inkjet printer (having, myself, no hand-drafting skills to speak of, I must use the computer).  I'm also wondering if I could get fabric to go through if I starched the ever-loving hell out of it?  The main problem is stiffness, and to a lesser extent strength: the material has to be sufficiently paper-like to work with the automatic mechanisms of the printer.  I know there are so many more things to do with book-arts, but this is just the current bug that's biting my brain, printed fabric.

[And then when I came out I found I had gotten a $50 parking ticket.  I knew that space was too good to be true!  Although I can say in all honesty that I saw no forbidding signage.  Oh well.]

My interest continues to be piqued by a mini-project for my Literary Editing and Publishing class.  Working in pairs, we have to present an introduction to a literary press or journal, and my partner brought to my attention Tarpaulin Sky, which appears to be mostly an online lit mag, but is also a press.  They make some really lovely stuff.  Their online mag is well laid out, but I think they really shine on their print work, which is just outta sight.  It's beautiful stuff.  Although certainly for visibility's sake one would like to be published by Sarabande or Copper Canyon (which, I realize, only poets have heard of, but trust me: they're bigguns), the product they're putting out over at Tarpaulin Sky seems like it must be a joy to hold and look at, on a totally extra-textual level (which is sort of where my head's at right now).

So rarely do I feel so full of ideas!
yrmencyn: (vdub)
Oh, finals week.  Why do you persist in existing, despite my repeated implorations?  I shouldn't complain, it's not really going too badly.  I've finished my portfolio and my box of manuscripts (I was reviewing submissions for the Journal (OSU's literary journal)'s poetry prize).  Remind me sometime to tell you about the manuscript of political limericks.  Of course, I still have two papers to write.  One is due on Wednesday.  The other is due Thursday.  But!  I thought the Wednesday paper was supposed to be around 20 pages, and it turns out it's supposed to be 3000-4000 words (that's 12-16 pages for those of you who don't think in wordcounts).  So go me, I might actually have enough material to do this without... you know... stretching.  Cheers to that.  It's going to be a mite confusing, though, since I'm writing it for crit theory class, but I'm using a primary text and a critical article from comics class.  And I might be drawing in some of my crit theory stuff for my comics paper.  I feel like I'm writing two papers for one hybrid class.  Gah.

And yet, I'm in a good mood.  Kevin's been around pretty much constantly for the past week, which can't help but raise my spirits.  I made an absolutely gorgeous pot of red beans and rice (pics on Flickr, soon), my first since coming back to Ohio.  I was a bit anxious... as if the beans would know they weren't in the right state, and not behave.  Madness.  And then a lovely potato and broccoli soup last night, with cornbread (us Southern boys, we love us some cornbread).  On a less fabulous food note, I somehow seem to have  bought a box of Entemann's donuts today at Giant Eagle.  I can't explain it; their siren call was both undeniable and subtle.

I think I'm going to manage to save myself a good deal of money on my car, since I sat down with my good friend the Interwebs today and rooted through its series of tubes to find out how to change my headlamp and taillight.  Yes, I know as an American male I'm supposed to know these things, but I never picked them up.  Luckily the net will help, since VW basically says "Changing headlights is hard!  Let's go shopping!" (<--- Barbie reference), and tells you to take your vehicle to an authorized dealer.  Plus, I'm lucky because my dead light is on the side where I don't have to remove my battery.  Score!

Blah.

Oct. 1st, 2006 11:09 pm
yrmencyn: (Default)
Note to self: watch Gilmore Girls season premiere AFTER you finish your work for class, not before.  While it may seem like you need (deserve?) a break, you will not feel in any mood to work after you've lain in the dark on the couch for 45 minutes.  Especially if your stomach is unaccountably being unpleasant.

EDIT: Ha! Be vanquished, evil thing. I really haven't the vaguest idea if I produced what Phelan's looking for, but it seems rightish, and at least it's tangible.
yrmencyn: (food)
Seriously?  I just can't seem to update.  It doesn't help that my laptop and the wireless at the Cup O' Joe right across the friggin' street don't get along; I do a lot of updating from coffee shops.  So in lieu of a real entry, here's an email I just wrote to one of the Frenchies back in BR.  Let it serve as a very brief State of the Mike.

-------------------------------

OSU and I are settling in with each other well. The creative writing program is full of really great, sociable people,all very friendly and supportive (in terms of writing and all that), so that's been good.  The parties were coming fast and furious right at the first, so it was sort of high-octane socialization by fire :)  Also getting back in touch with people I know up here, which is great.  I miss all of y'all down there, but I've also missed these people up here for two years now; friends are family.  Add that to the fact that I've got a nice boy (well, not too nice, heh), and I'm in a pretty good place.  Faut que jtrouve qqun qujpeux parler frcs avec, pourtant, parce que la langue me mord les méninges.

Oh, the weather.  The highs have only gone up to the low 80s once since I've been here, and we've been hovering mostly in the low to mid 60s for the past week or so.  This morning I was rushing off to campus before the sun was even up, and my hands were getting a little stiff from the cold.  So exciting!  Plus the grocery stores have not only Leinie's (which, by the way: OMG THE BERRY WEIS IS LIKE DELICIOUS ALCOHOLIC CANDY), they also commonly have some sort of Abita, which is fantastic.  Strangely, the Amber... I haven't found it yet.

I totally feel you on the early morning stuff.  Through a series of logical and yet slightly regrettable turns of fate, I have class at 9:30 MTWR.  Not so bad at your 7:40 teaching schedule, but still quite a shock compared to "I'm in the French Department, we don't have grad classes before, like, 3pm."  And this morning I had to be on campus at 7:30 to lead a discussion section with some freshmen about the Common Book they read.  Enjoyable, but I overslept and had only 50 minutes to dress, bathe, catch the bus, etc.  Arg.

Hope your nap was good.  I'm off to bed soon... getting near midnight, thus getting near my bedtime (*rolls eyes*).  Say hi to everybody for me!

--Mike
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Oh, LJ.  Has it really been that long since I updated you?  Ah... Jeez.  I have no idea where to start or what to say.  It's been too long.  Life is good in Columbus.  The days are turning cold, which is great -- there are no open windows tonight at our apartment!  Yay!  It's 54 degrees outside!

Classes begin tomorrow.  If I'm lucky, my brain won't spontaneously combust as soon as Dr. Phelan starts talking about Critical Theory in my 9:30 class.  Then on Thursday it's time for my first official workshop.  We'll see how that goes.  From the very small experience I have of workshopping, I expect a session full of arg and yar.  Hopefully some fun too.  Oh, and 17th century novel after that.  Sorry, I'm in the midst of doing that thing where I wonder what the fuck I'm doing.  Impostor syndrome and all that.  It's a pretty normal thing, it'll pass.

Kevin and I went to the Columbus Microbrew Festival last Saturday, which was spiffy!  Lots of tastiness.  And pours which were definitely in excess of the promised 4 oz.  And all for a very reasonable amount, which included a commemorative pint glass.

So many other things.  Parties.  Potlucks.  Walks.  Dinners.  Hanging out.  Meeting people.  I just can't catch up.  Hopefully I'll manage to do better now that I've got something resembling a schedule.  Night all, hope everyone's doing well.  I have been reading :)
yrmencyn: (food)
The weekend hasn't been terribly productive, I'll admit.  It has, however, been very relaxing.  Saturday I began the day by doing some internet research for my paper for Dr. Stone: finding sources, basically.  I think I'll be writing on Guilhem de Peiteus' "Farai un vers de dreyt nien."  Every since I first read it, it's gotten stuck in my brain; the final verse throws up so many amazing images of distributed problem solving and vortices to my brain that there's GOT to be something to use there.  Soon, though, I headed off to the departmental crawfish boil.  Heather and Rich were kind enough to take me up to Todd's, since I had zero interest in driving my sick car that distance.  I adore crawfish.  I do.  They are delicious, delicious:
DSC00088

Of course, there wasn't just the systematic dismemberment and consumption of riparian crustaceans.  The French Department, by which I mean to say the grad students and, yes, the faculty of the French Department... played flip cup.  I give up, the world is officially too weird.  Pictures may be seen here, although I've done some judicious selection.  After the boil finally wound down, I got dropped off at Erin's, where I was supposed to have joined up with Erin, Mandi, and Katie three hours earlier.  Oops.  I still got to have the delicious food they made: Mandi's broccoli-cheese casserole, Erin's chicken masala, and Katie's Kahlúa cake -- yay to all, so good!

Today I've pretty much stayed at home.  I considered getting up around mid-morning, but then [yet another] heavy squall drove through, and I took advantage of the fact that I had nothing scheduled today, that is to say, I pet the cat a couple of times, then rolled over and slept in the midst of the storm.  Although I've done some more research today, I spent most of my waking hours reading.  A couple weeks back, I was reading TIME magazine, and I came across a review of David Mitchell's Black Swan Green.  It tells the story of a year in the life of 13-year-old Jason Taylor, each of the 13 chapters set in a different month (January 1982-January 1983).  Mitchell captures the life of Jason beautifully, all the confusion and uncertainty, the jockeying for position and belonging.  Plus it speaks to me on a poetic level: Jason is a poet, and Mitchell is too, really: his ear for the language is spectacular.  Anyway, after I read the review, I went and bought the book.  And I don't mean the next day or anything, I mean I got to the end of the last paragraph, closed the magazine, got in my car, and went and got it RIGHT THEN.  I suggest you do the same after coming to the end of this entry.

Other than reading, I finally broke down and braved the difficulty of my engine to go to the grocery store.  I bought the ingredients I was lacking for some red beans and rice to be made tomorrow (I can eat that for a LONG time, thus avoiding further grocery trips), and the things I needed to make a bread gratin.  Yes, a bread gratin.  I made a tasty beer bread the other day, and I combined cubes of it with an herbed béchamel sauce, some halved cherry tomatoes, and snips of green onion in a baking dish, topped it with some three-cheese blend, and baked it until it got deliciously bubbly.  It was scrumptious.  Seriously, so good:
DSC00112

Oh, yeah, and I scheduled classes for this fall on Friday night.  Poetry Workshop, of course, but also Intro Middle English (713) with [*check this*] Richard Green (PanOp players die laughing) and Phelan's Intro 20th Cent Lit Crit (767), aka "Everything you ever wanted to know about 20th century literary criticism".  Usually I'd be taking a greater proportion of CW classes, but there's only the genre workshops offered in Au06, and I've got to take 15 qtr hrs under my fellowship.  So... I'm taking the opportunity to front load some of my required non-studio classes while I'm still in practice.  Andrew (my advisor) is a little uncertain of my choices (especially when I had planned on taking two lit classes [McHale's 20th c. fic was already full when my window opened]), but hell, I've taken 3 and 4 grad-level classes at a time here in Louisiana; I think I'll manage.  Only thing which makes it a little freakier is that I've been used to a flat letter system in grad school, as opposed to OSU's plus/minus system, which makes it a little more tricky, less room for error.  Then again, I'm not currently planning on going on to a PhD, so it's not so much a big deal... still, better not to shoot myself in the foot.

Anybody as feels like praying, lighting candles, or just thinking happy thoughts, think them in Liz and my's direction.  There's a house that we desperately want to rent, we'll see how it goes.  [And, yes, I thought about the double possessive for a LONG time before putting it that way.  In speech I vary between that form and "Liz and mine's".  Go fig.]
yrmencyn: (Default)
The main problem with having class only one day a week is that I always think "eh, I've got a while yet to do <whatever>," I put things off, and then I spend Thursdays, especially between classes, in a maelstrom of frantically completing readings/translations/presentations/whatever.  It's a little exhausting.  Today's assignment du jour was a presentation for Occitan class, which I had, of course, put off.  I will give myself minor props for having responsibly done Actual Library Research on Tuesday to choose my poem to present, but then I sort of didn't do anything on Wednesday.  Wise move, Bierschenk, very wise.  So, I didn't really get much of the reading for today done, being too busy finishing up a translation/minor analysis/blah sheet (you know, the sketchy notes you write to yourself to help prod your brain into regurgitating the crap it's been tossing up like a Yellowstone mudpot while you work on the piece to be presented).  And then Carla, oh Carla, she went first and gave a dazzling presentation that pulled in bloody Julia Kristeva and made casual reference to Lacan and Marx (to be fair we've dabbled in some Lacanian and Marxist theory in class, so that's not too out of wack).  Great.  I wing this shit, dammit.

Nevertheless, the presentation went off pretty well.  I did have a moment of panic when Stone asked me if reading the poem (which enlightens class tensions between noble and non-noble trobadors) had clarified my understanding of "The Kohler"... I blinked while my brain scurried rapidly around inside my skull, trying desperately to figure out what the bloody hell he was talking about.  Eventually some perceptive synapse mentioned to the others that this was probably the Marxist article that I had unaccountably failed to read despite my best intentions.  Some rapid hemming and hawing eventually led me to the code of courtly love compiled by <insert name of monk that's in my notes here>, which made, if not an apt surrogate, at least a reasonable diversion that I could expound upon.  (Dr. Stone, if you ever happen to read this, er... oops?).  Also I again mixed up the verbs jazer and jauzer, which is just getting stupid, and I think I'll get them tattooed with proper translation, one on each inner forearm.  Since one means 'to sleep with' and the other, basically, 'to cum' (honestly couldn't tell you which is which), that will be quite the conversation starter.  As a sidenote to the ja(u)zer thing, I started blushing furiously when he pointed out the resultant translation error.  This had absolutely nothing to do with the content -- I can talk about pretty much anything in an academic context without anything more than an amused smirk on my face, just ask my Pynchon class of Spring Qtr 2004 -- but rather with being wrong.  I can't help it, and it drives me absolutely nuts!  If I'm wrong, I'm not even usually too upset about being wrong, cause hey, it happens and life's too short to care too deeply about it, but nevertheless my face erupts in an upswelling of blood that I can feel.  It's beyond ridiculous.  Feh.

Carla said to me after class that I should stop "putting [my]self down" after presentations (I said something to the effect of "and, as usual, my presentation just sort of trails off into the dust" to finish tonight).  She said "I used to do the same thing, to make myself look better, but I'll tell you the same thing a friend told me: you don't need to, your presentations are great."  She's got a point, I'm sure, except that I'm not being self-deprecating in a reverse-self-aggrandizement manouver, at least not consciously (there's no accounting for the subconscious), I'm just... that way.  And in this particular case, I just honestly hadn't planned out an ending, and I figured humor was better than saying "Uh, that's it."  Hard to make people understand, really.

The upside to the once-a-week thing is that I usually feel relieved on Thursday night.  Not relaxed as such, mind you, but generally relieved.  I actually do feel relaxed tonight, having eaten my chicken w/ black bean sauce and curled up in bed with Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour: In search of the perfect meal.  I adore Bourdain's writing.  He's the same one who did Kitchen Confidential (now adapted into another in a long line of good shows canned by the braintrust at FOX).  He is quite possibly the funniest food writer I know of, and certainly the most vulgar.  He curses, heaps aspersions on other cooks, rhapsodizes on loving oysters, generally fails to give a fuck.  I love it.  None of that pretension garbage.  Anyway, read his books.  A+++ WOULD READ AGAIN.

Also in the recommended reading category, a book I finished a couple of days ago, Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated.  It's the story of the narrator, Jonathan Safran Foer's, trip to the Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis.  The interleaving storylines, the interplay among metanarratives, the use of language as a far more malleable and expressive medium than it's usually understood as... it's beautiful.  It's brilliant.  It's deeply moving.  I nearly cried in Highland Coffees when I finished it, because there was such a delicate bittersweetness in its conclusion that I was honestly surprised.  The characters unfold slowly, almost imperceptibly, throughout the novel, such that although they're utterly familiar at the end we can hardly recognize them as the same strangers we met in the opening scenes.  And despite my talk of interleaving and metanarrative, it's beautifully clear and lucid, with none of the emotionless, highfalutin formal experimentation that mars so many "brilliant" recent novels.  Everyone can love this book.  You need to read it, now.  If you live in BR, I'll lend it to you on the condition that I will require its return.  I cannot stress enough how serious I am in this recommendation: I avoided the book for, literally, years because I didn't believe it could possibly live up to the hype, but I was totally and completely wrong.

In terms of other fine literary stuff, we were discussing Cajun poetry in Ancelet's class today, and I started to read a chunk of one of ZR's most powerful poems, "La vérité va peut-être te faire du mal" ("The truth might hurt you"), and I accidentally got dragged into it, not only reading but reciting, performing a whole page of text.  I had so much fun, it was so wonderful.  God I love poetry.

To close this long and disjointed entry, I'll leave you with Dr. Stone's translation of a Medieval Occitan poem that he gave us last week.  It's an alternating discussion between two speakers on a moral question, a genre called partimen.  It is untitled (most medieval poems are), but I'll title it "The Ass-wind" )

ETA: I just had to add this. This is a part of my life that most none of y'all know about, since I've only gotten really obsessive since I moved down here, and usually the computer's already powered down when it happens. In fact I just booted back up to add this. I have gotten, in the past couple of years, quite persnickety about the state of my oro-nasal cavity at bedtime. In the bathroom, after peeing, I brush extensively. I scrub the back of my tongue until I set off my gag reflex twice (and I have a quite atrophied gag reflex). I snort and hock like nobody's business. I'm sure Kregg, whose bedroom is across the hall, must think that I have to extract, nightly, some sort of primordial creature with suckers and tentacles from my sinuses. It verges on both the ridiculous and the vile. But when I go to bed, at least for long enough to go to sleep, I can usually breathe halfway clearly through my nose. That's worth it. Plus the nose-octopi are a pernicious infestation which must be rooted out vigilantly.
yrmencyn: (Default)
I am going to fall asleep in the middle of class, I just know it.  I have thirty minutes before my next class, which will then run from 6:10 until 9pm.  It's a killer.  Usually, no big deal: I am, as we all know, a huge geek, so medieval poetry in a language I just started working with a month ago is right up my alley.  That having been said, I've been up a hell of a lot longer than I usually would have by the time class starts.  I was procrastinatory in getting my transcriptions done for my noon class, so I had to get up early this morning to finish them.  Somewhere between 2.5 and 3 hours before I usually would.  That shit throws my daily cycle all to hell.  Plus they have the heat on in Hodges Hall, which will do nothing but nothing to aid me in staying awake.

Gods of coffee, hear my prayer.

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