seventhe: (SAZH)

What the fuck happened to 2015.

I feel like I can capture 2015 in three stages:

  • Jan-April, where my life was dominated by work; I was working (solo!, since it was confidential, rather than in the team of 8-10 the project should have had) on the engineering work to produce the first draft-stage of my new pilot plant
  • May-September, where my life was nothing but work: this was the site shutdown, which happened for some very serious reasons I won't blog about, in which I was given a strict budget and a strict deadline and told that if we didn't have the plant running by X our ability to, well, stay here in Akron as a place of employment would be severely hampered, and had to work a miracle with only one other co-project-leader and some contractors. Literally I did nothing but work during this time period, 60-80 hours per week maybe, evenings and weekends all morphed into additional office hours. Health suffered; house suffered; I drank a lot, picked up a life partner almost by accident, and in the end we saved the site. It's 20% of what it used to be and lumping along slowly on broken rims and superglue, but it's running.
  • October-December, during which I realized just how much my own health - physical, mental, spatial (my well-being is severely affected by the state of my own home), emotional - had suffered from the previous 9 months and started the long slow job of digging myself out of a black hole. Also, child care, as my second niece was born and both she and my two-year-old niece (and their parents) needed my help and love and time. Have you ever had a two-year-old as your best friend ever? It's quite nice, she's fucking hilarious.

2015 was also an odd year personally;

  • My grandmother passed away in August. She was the greatest. She was my best friend. I miss her so much. We all knew her health was failing - it had been for 5 years, acutely in the most recent year - but it's still a Hell of a Thing when someone goes. She and I had a special bond: she was what I will be like when I am 92; I was what she would have been like born into a different generation; as the sole grandparent and the sole single grandchild we spent most family gatherings together, and she was just my favorite. She was horribly tactless, incredibly impatient, occasionally directly rude, insatiably stubborn, very demanding, overbearing, sometimes overemotional: and I fucking loved her for it, because she was me in so many ways, and also because she just didn't give any more fucks. I'm still reeling from the loss.
  • As I said, my second niece was born late this year. In the process of helping out there I've become much closer to my first niece, and I like it; I love all my aunts, but wasn't ever really close to them in this way, and I've realized that I really do need to be in her life (their life). Family comes first. Our relationship is something special, because I'm not a parent or a grandparent, so I'm... exempt from a lot of the expectations there, so I just get to be whatever I want to her and with her. I'll do the same for the younger one as well. Realizing how important this is was surprising, but shouldn't have been. I'm quite keen on kids even if it seems cooler to hate them these days; they're more honest than adults and usually more fun. (What I hate, I'm finding, are shit parents, but that's neither here nor there.)
  • relationship - hmmmm. Not sure if the word applies. I have a something. It's complicated. And private. But there. Something very odd happened during the Shutdown Months and I found someone I quite like and enjoy who feels the same about me -- and that's enough for me, for right now.

Every year I say "this is the year I got my ass kicked by work" but this is the year it really truly happened: I hit my limit, I found the edge, I have located rock-bottom and I have absolutely no intention of ever going back there again. Working in a 72-year-old chemical facility doesn't make this easy, or a thing I have control over; but I do have control over my own energies and I have always been very. very good at saying no.

I'm looking at this year as a real learning experience: a lot of it was, frankly, awful as fuck, but I know I've learnt and grown from it. I like who I am right now, even if I'm still working on portions of my life that aren't great (social life, for example, what the fuck is that and who has time for one with all the working and the sleeping). I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that fibromyalgia, immunodeficiency, arthritis, asthma, anxiety, OCD, depression - that these things need to be considered, that I can't ignore them and plod stubbornly forward: so instead I'll stubbornly deal with them and balance my life better as I go.

That was a very, very odd year. I'm proud of what I've done, but I miss my life.

seventhe: (Cats: I LIKE THEM)
This has been a pretty ridiculous year for me. I get the feeling it has been for everyone, but seriously, take a look at this list, in vaguely chronological order:

1. Three back surgeries / steroid injections
2. Bought a house & moved
3. Went on anti-anxiety meds & sleeping pills
4. New position as Operations Manager
5. Job becomes 2 jobs as plant foreman passes away
6. Diagnosed with fibromyalgia after PT and painkillers
7. Brother and sister-in-law had the family's first child/grandchild/niece
8. Gramma went into nursing home
9. Started serious level drug treatment (Cymbalta)

And that's just the big stuff. In the background I also
- played (and, usually, beat) an FF game every month, with varying levels of success
- cared for a 30+ year old house and its yard
- traded in Percy (the Fit) for Ashe (the Civic)
- managed DOINK stuff up until a couple months ago when I had to bail
- knitted a lot
- watched a good amount of TV, the majority of it dumb but quality dumb
- officially came out of the closet I guess, although my personal romantic life is "private" rather than a "secret" so I really almost forgot to put it on the list because what other people know about me is quite irrelevant to my daily life but hey it's significant
- helped welcome my niece into the first few weeks of her life
- worked late every day and sometimes at night and on weekends since 01 July
- still did some traveling/visiting to cons & friends
- continued to care for my stupid fucking imbecile cat with the heart murmur
- managed to read some books and keep up with the trashy series I love
- revamped my wardrobe
- ran up a small salary's worth of medical bills
- etc etc etc

It's that first list that's killing me. Like, what actually happened this year? 13 may become my new lucky number (or unlucky number, depending on how 2014 turns out). How the frig did this all happen in one year? Honestly? Fuck me.

Because it's been such a tumultuous year I intend to write some things about it. I just shut down work for the night (...shut up) and it got me thinking about how different things are than last month, last spring, last year. I'm hoping I can find the time and the words to do so, even if only for myself; I'd like to be able to remember how I felt this very first year of the rest of my life.
seventhe: (Rydia: reversed)
Lots of people have already posted up their "2012 in Review" and "2013 Resolutions" posts yet. Look, I am 7 days late! It is because I'm awesome. Or, it is because I am busy. Either way, I'm going to do mine now. Seven days into January seems a fine time for someone named Seventhe P. Dragomire to post up some summary lists of memories and goals.

2012 was the year when… )

and 2013 will be the year… )Resolutions are hard. And interesting; it's easy to throw out a bunch of things at the beginning of a new calendar year and let that changing number signify a lot of changes, but I still maintain these things could be done whenever somebody feels like they're important. I also feel like doing them in large swathes can be hard: small changes are also good. So I've picked a couple things to try for January. We'll see how I do.

Overall my goal for 2013 is to have more fun. I have a pretty fun life in general, but I also work really hard for it -- I just want to keep on keeping on and be more happy. :D
seventhe: (Cats: I LIKE THEM)
Cities/States I was in: 9/8 (Akron, OH --> Denver, CO --> Boise, ID --> Las Vegas, NV --> Tusayan (Grand Canyon), AZ --> Las Vegas, NV --> Phoenix, AZ --> Houston, TX --> Lake Charles, LA --> Houston, TX --> Detroit, MI --> Akron, OH)
Different time zones I inhabited: 4
Flights: 7
Drives: 4

In a 14-day period:
- Longest time period in any one time zone: 3 days
- Days on this trip I had to be up at 4 am: 3 (ugh)
- Days I actually got to sleep in: 1
- Days spent hermiting in a hotel room during which I spoke to no one except the Chinese food delivery person: 1
- Days that were technically vacation that I checked my email and worked: 5/7

Suitcase weight: 50 lb
Specific styles of dress contained in suitcase: 6 (formal dress for wedding; casual nice for rehearsal dinner; casual and hot for Vegas; hiking clothes for Grand Canyon; one business casual for plant visit; working casual for plant days)
Computing power brought: 3 pieces (laptop for work; iPad for DOINK; iPhone)

- - -

I won't call it a vacation. I'll call it a trip. It was fun, but it wasn't relaxing. But it was fun. The wedding was gorgeous, Vegas was fun, the Grand Canyon was amazing, and the week of work blew ass like I expected. XD

Maybe I'll put up some photos or something.

I am terrified to go to work tomorrow. Even though I've been checking my email and following work, I know I'm still behind because I haven't been in the office for two weeks. And the biannual meeting with the Japanese Overlords starts Thursday. UGHHHHHHHHHHHH

No wonder I've been playing so much FFXIII. I am in hiding mode.
seventhe: (chocobo: hey bb)
I WAS THERE.

IT WAS AMAZING.

I was also at a lot of bars, on a lot of (quality) trains, at a lot of delicious restaurants, and in the middle of a large amount of drunk. Zero Fucks Weekend Round Two: New York City Shame Edition was an epic success and I'll update everyone some more when I'm not being kicked out of work for actually being too sick to be here. (I promise I'll leave when my work is done, people, but it ain't done yet)

But I thought you should all know that Bjork's show and new album are just as amazing as she always is, and I am still worshipping at her sparkly, big-haired, amazing-voiced altar.
seventhe: (Quistis: smile)
I saw Distant Worlds last Friday, and it was amazing. I'd heard from a lot of people that it was going to be really good, but I had kind of been trying to keep reasonable expectations and all. It was just unbelievable, though, like on a lot of levels: this is the music from a series of games I have been playing for over 20 years now, well over half my life, and I listened to them in a gorgeous ballroom-type setting thing surrounded by people from the internet that I met through these games who are now some of my closest and best friends in the world. It's a little mind-blowing when I put it that way. No wonder I got a bit emotional.

The show opened with the Opening: Bombing Mission from FFVII, and that was definitely a "get chills" type thing: [personal profile] novel_machinist and [personal profile] crankyoldman were the first people I met in person through fandom, [mumble] years ago, and we all met through FFVII and cosplayed really shitty Turks at our first convention and there they were sitting right in front of me: LULZ, to put it in the vernacular. Can I use any more colons: WE'LL FIND OUT.

Other highlights of the show for me:
  • The fucking battle music from FFVIII. What the everloving fuck: why did this make me cry? But it did. I think it was the moment I realized they were using the footage from the scene in Dollet where they're running from that giant monster and Quistis fucks it up with the machine gun so that Squall can escape. I have unhealthy feelings about this game.

  • On that note: EYES ON ME. HOLY JESUS. Sobfest over basically a Squall/Rinoa songvid. I absolutely loved that singer.

  • and on that note: MAN WITH THE MACHINE GUN. Will I ever not love this song in its entirely? JFMC.

  • There were two pieces from FFIX, and even though that wasn't my favorite game, I'd forgotten (a) how poignant and pretty the music is and (b) that the game can still pack an emotional punch with some of those visuals.

  • FFIV's Theme Of Love. It's a beautiful song from my favorite game. I probably would have liked a little more music from FFIV - they did a medley from I-III that was amazing and made me tear up a little, and it would have been nice to see the same for FFIV; it has the kind of very repetitive music I think would be suited for a medley. Then again I'm a little prejudiced about this game.

  • Zanarkand. Fucking Zanarkand. I cried so hard at this one. The visuals were just really well done - people cry, and Yuna dances - and personally I think it's top five one of the most beautifully emotional songs in the entire FF series.

  • THE OPERA FROM FFVI. I wasn't sure how this was going to play out, but I was hopeful, and it was absolutely amazing. The singers were phenomenal, and they put little clips of the Opera House from the game up in-between the singing parts, and I got pretty emotional seeing Locke running around in the rafters and Edgar and Sabin sitting in the chairs ("Why is everyone singing?") and all of that. Again, nostalgia time: my brother Jim and I pooled all our money to buy FFVI (FFIII!) when it came out and we played the hell out of it and we still joke about it. My brother: came to the Distant Worlds concert. I'd already been crying, but I sobbed at the fricking opera.
    (Side note: am I the only old person one who still wants to say, "Oh my hero / so far away now / will I ever see your smile"? I know they re-wrote/re-translated the opera in other releases of the game and in FFVI Advance and all, but the original translation will always be the one in my head.

  • Terra's Theme is still like top three pieces of music forever, although they ruined it a little by playing credits through it. Maybe I'm just bitter because MY FAVORITE.

  • The entire crowd singing SEPH-I-ROTH was a really good note to end on: I've never really been able to adore Sephiroth like most of the fandom, but One Winged Angel is still awesome music, and having the crowd sing was an awesome way to end on a good note with a badass game and a badass villain without taking itself too seriously. It was pretty awesome.


The rest of the weekend was an exhausting blur of internet friends and alcohol. Just take a look at this: [livejournal.com profile] safety_caesars and [personal profile] ser_pounce_alot and I drove out on Thursday to pick up [personal profile] deadcellredux and [profile] notraffic, then met [personal profile] justira and [personal profile] novel_machinist on Friday and [personal profile] crankyoldman late Fri / early Sat. That's a lot of Final Fantasy. And a lot of booze.

It was a great weekend and an amazing show. Coming back to a day of meetings starting at 5AM (the day; 6:20 for the workday) was kind of like a punch in the face.
seventhe: (Ohayo: CREEPERSHARK)
As of tomorrow evening I will be drunk at Ohayocon. My itinerary includes:
  • Battleshots

  • FF Roller Derby Rydia, part of the Zeromus Haters roller derby team

  • being drunk

  • (drunk) (gay stylist) (spaghetti making) Trowa, from Gundam Wing

  • gluing sparkly shit on everyone who stands still long enough to let me

  • getting to curl Becky's hair :D

  • possibly seducing Quatre's voice actor with Katy

  • drinking an entire beer penis

  • a round of Snirvines (this year's shot)

  • Mongolian Fucking Barbecue

  • cuddling

  • lots of compromising photos posted to our live photo feed

  • creepersharking

  • HOPEFULLY partying with Hot Leia and Hot Tifa and Hot Cloud and Hard Gay



I'll have my phone for email and texts, but I will very likely be drunk or sleeping, so. Contact at your own risk, fools. Otherwise, I will get back to all of you on Monday when I am hung the fuck over sober and back at work.

CHEERS :D
seventhe: (Rydia: shine)
So, I watched BBC Sherlock.

I didn't actually really know anything about this show going in. [livejournal.com profile] safety_caesars had suggested it, having been introduced by somebody else, and I was like, "hey, okay, sure." Becky has good taste, or at least terrible taste that's similar to mine (which obviously makes it good taste), and I like Sherlock Holmes-flavored things in general, so I certainly was interested – I wasn't boning for it, half because I didn't know shit about it and mostly because there's a fairly big activation energy to actually get me into something*, but I was interested and willing.

This show is fabulous. Or, was, since last night we watched the end of S2 and now have to wait in agony for, probably, another year.

Having recovered from the flailing agony that was tears and a jumbo bottle of wine last night, I have a lot of thoughts, actually. First up on the S2 finale, and then some idling thoughts on the series as a whole.

[SEASON TWO FINALE COMING UP. AKA, SPOILERS.]
The Reichenbach Fall thing. )

[General show discussion from this point on]
Stuff about the show -- no real spoilers here; I talk about the show but I don't think I give anything away. )

So, even if you don't want to read the spoilers or anything, I do highly recommend you watch the show. It's very well done, incredibly entertaining, and the chemistry between the two main characters is exquisitely intimate. Now, I have summed up over 2K in a sentence and also used the word "exquisite". I'm done now.

So who would like to dive into this fandom and write (comfort) fic with me…??


*This is why I re-read and re-watch and re-play so many things: the undertaking of a new thing, book/game/movie/show/comic/other source material is strangely daunting to my head. I find it very comforting to re-read, or re-watch, or re-play things: I still enjoy them on the second (or third) (or fifteenth) time through, and it's relaxing to not have to pay all of my attention to it. "Comfort reading" is a very real thing in my world.

The amount of energy it can take to engage with something new is something I don't often have lying around for whatever reason, and I am really sometimes dumb my first time through a thing because I'm very easily distracted and if I'm not engaged it's going to take me a while to be able to remember who is who and why I should give fucks. Movies not so much: they're short; other canons, especially long ones, can be really overwhelming. The undertaking of a new thing with fannish expectations is even more overwhelming to my head, somehow (see for reference: Gundam Wing); and even more so on top of that if people have built any part of it up. I'm not entirely sure why it's so intimidating, why sometimes I would rather watch reruns than something new, but it's entirely true. Maybe it's because I feel like I have to get invested?

So like, if you have ever recced some canon/source material at me and been like, dude, Sev, you need to read/watch this and I haven't jumped into it right away, this is why: and I am sorry. Sometimes I physically need someone to drag me in over that hill. It isn't that I'm not interested. It's just my brainspace.

(I like how I say "I want to talk about BBC Sherlock" and then I spend just as many words navel-gazing about myself. Awesome. I've got the best blogging style ever.)

**(Somewhat contradictorily, I am more likely to cry at moving scenes in books I've read a thousand times, or shows I've seen before, or even games I've already played, even though I know what's coming.)

*** God, I'm never even sure how to write this. "Romantically involved" seems silly since so many relationships really don't match up with a cultural definition of "romance", right? And "physically involved" doesn't necessarily mean intimacy. And both of them can in some ways belittle the amazing connection that you can have with a friend like that, which can go beyond intimacy (or boning). Askldjalksdj how do I words

seventhe: (Joie)
I am totally stealing this from [personal profile] lassarina because, hey, why not.

- By "12 Days" I mean that I will run this tiny meme until 12 January. It's more than 12 Days, but that's how Christmas runs, sucka.
- By "Promptmas" I mean that you leave me prompts. Or a bunch of prompts, and I will choose the one I fancy the most. And I'll write it! For you!

- I make no promises on length: but if you know what I like, you know what to give me to tempt me to a higher word count.
- If you leave one prompt, I'll do my best. If you want to leave multiple prompts, I'll pick one or two that I really like and go to town. It's up to you!
- I am open to prompts from any fandom you know I'm in. If you are iffy on a fandom, leave me multiple prompts in multiple fandoms to choose from! I am open to any themes and any genres from G to PRON.
- this is open to anyone! Even if I've just met you!
- I make no promises on whether I will write your fic sober.

And, uh, Happy Holidays~.
seventhe: (Rosa/Rydia: got your back)
Medical talk about my eyes, ahoy! Skip if you need; otherwise please give me some GD advice.

Yesterday I went in for an evaluation with Dr D, in consideration for laser surgery (LASIK or PRK). I went through the barrage of tests - and I am serious, barrage; my appointment was at 9 and I didn't actually see Dr D until 10:30 - and got my eyes dilated (spoiler, if you've never had it done: it sucks. Your long-distance vision isn't so bad, but anything closer than 10 feet is all out of whack, you have NO depth perception and can't read anything, including your own phone, trying to look at your fingers gives you a headache, and oh also all light is now a minion of hell itself). I sat there for a bit while Dr D looked at my charts and looked in my eyes a little bit and HMMed.

There was a lot of HMMing. He talked to the [nurse? assistant? secretary? i dunno, they'd taken my glasses so I couldn't even tell you what color hair this person had] for a while and flipped through some charts. He talks to me a little bit as he looks into my eyes, and then he asks the assistant-person to go and get [a new doctor, who is training with him]. "She should see this consult," he says, and basically explains that my eyes are so bad it will be a good learning experience for his new trainee doctor. Ugh. So I sit and blink into space while she arrives, and then they finally give me my glasses back, and there is some more HMMing.

And then he says, "No, you're not a candidate for PRK at all."

Okay, I say, slowly. But the other doctor told me I wasn't a candidate for custom LASIK either because my eyes were so bad, and said PRK would be better.

Technically, says, Dr D, PRK is better -- up to a point. But on a patient like you? On a patient with -11 myop? If we did PRK on you, you'd have halos and floaters for the rest of your life, you'd never fully recover from it. We'd have to take off too much, it's coming way too close, and even if it fixes your vision you're going to lose all your night vision and your sensitivity. I don't like it. I've done 37,000 surgeries, and I'm not going to do PRK on you.

Please note at that point that my eyes are actually too bad for both custom LASIK and PRK. I win?

But, says Dr D. That doesn't mean you don't have options. You have two options, and I want you to listen carefully, because one isn't what you're going to expect.

My first option is standard LASIK, the LASIK they did back in the 90s before it all became super automated plug-and-play - that's custom LASIK, and I can't have that. The thing is, says Dr D, custom LASIK and standard LASIK both operate taking a certain thickness of your cornea per myop of your eyesight. Custom takes a little more, standard a little less. For somebody who is a -3, the difference is maybe 15 microns? Not a lot. For someone who is a -11, the difference is more like 100 microns -- which is what rules out custom LASIK. My corneas aren't thick enough to handle the amount of correction my myopic script needs.

Standard LASIK, however, where Dr D would do it himself, is still an option. It's a little... not great of an option, though. He'd be pushing the LASIK to its limits, and if my eyes started to change as I aged, we wouldn't have a lot of options, because I wouldn't have a lot of cornea left to work with. I could do it, he says, I've done hundreds of patients with eyes just like that and it works fine. But I'm not thrilled by it.

Your other option, says Dr D, is an implantable contact lens.

Basically they make a biocompatible contact lens to my prescription and then surgically stick it in my eye, below my cornea but above my iris. And it stays there. The procedure is meant to be permanent but is technically reversible - if there are complications or changes, they can remove the lens and replace it, OR I'm only left with a couple tiny microscopic holes in my eye and glasses. It isn't permanent, like LASIK.

Of course it's more expensive - about $1K more per eye - and it's terrifying (does this make me a cyborg???). But the healing process is way better than PRK's 2-3 weeks / 6 months, and there are a lot of benefits.

The biggest benefit here, says Dr D, is that we can easily correct you -- this procedure can correct up to a -20 -- easily and permanently, and completely, to 20/20 or maybe better. And then, if your eyes change as you age... he says, let's say that as you age to 45, your eyes start to change and suddenly you're a -1.5. We could pull out your implant and give you a new one, but that's pretty intense - what we would do is just LASIK your eyes to fix the -1.5. You've got plenty of good cornea for a -1.5, and we could have you fixed up in 15 minutes.

He stops for a second, and then he says to me. [Sev.] If you were my daughter, almost 30 - actually, I have a kid who is 27, and if you were my kid, and I was going to be working on your eyes, and your eyes had this prescription and this thickness, what I would give you is an implantable contact lens.

He says, if you come to me and you say, I really do want LASIK, I will do it and I think you'll be happy with it. But if you're here for an eval, for my advice and my opinion, I think you should get implantable contacts.

So now I really do have a choice to make.

Here's the thing. I'm not going to pretend that money isn't an important factor here; it isn't like I can just casually plunk down these thousands of dollars without blinking (pun... maybe intended?), because I can't: even with my good paycheck I can't just throw around chunks of money that large. It's a big deal. However. I do not want to make this serious decision about my eyes and about my quality of daily life based on money. I want to choose what's actually best, and then make the money work around that. I don't want to get to be 50, 60, and be frustrated because I chose something for my eyes to save $2grand. I want to make the right choice for myself and my eyes, so I am trying to not consider the increased cost. My eyes are worth it.

Here's the other thing. I had been trying to decide, going into this eval, whether or not I actually wanted to do this -- this being, doing anything to correct my eyes. And... okay, I'm pretty incapable of making decisions, but I had pretty much decided that... I want this. I want to do this. I want to do something to get rid of this physical disability that bothers me every day of my life. I want to fix this. I'm a pretty conservative person and I don't take a lot of risks especially with my body, but... I thought about it, and I thought, you know what? The bulk of my best adult years have already fucking flown by; I've spent my entire 20s going to school and working to support my own ass and it's been fun but they're almost gone. Going into my 30s... I could do this, do something to make my quality of living so much better. We already have to do so much, give so much up at 20, at 30, to "save up" for when we're 60. Doing something for myself, for now, was attractive in a very solid way.

But now I've got two choices - no, three choices, really. I can spend the extra money and follow the doctor's advice and get an implanted lens. I can choose to get LASIK. Or I can choose to do nothing and stick with my glasses.

(On an unrelated side note, I have... apparently really been looking forward to the 2-3 weeks I would have to take off of work for the PRK surgery. Because one of the most depressing things about all of this is that I don't get that break. what does that say about my life? I don't think it's healthy.)

So that's that. And that's what's on my mind now.
seventhe: Rydia (Rydia)
This semester I'm taking my last class - a 3-credit Polymer Science lab, that runs for 6 hours on Friday, 9-3. *CUE GROANING*

At the very first class - a safety and syllabus overview - the professor introduced us to the class by saying: "This is the worst class you're going to take in your entire PhD." Which I am sure is a great way to start off the semester with high morale!

Basically, we run experiments on lab days, and reports - big honking 10-20 page reports with error analysis (and not the good HONKing either) - are due two weeks after the lab, rolling. So on Week 1 I will do Lab 1. On Week 2 I will be writing Report 1 and doing Lab 2. On Week 3 I will be finishing and turning in Report 1, writing Report 2, and doing Lab 3. This continues until the end of the semester, or until I die, whichever comes first.

Have I mentioned that they make grad students take this class by itself because it's so much work? FULL TIME grad students, that is. So this semester? I'm carrying a FULL TIME workload. With just this one class. Remember: I have a job! A hard one! It's already full time!*

On top of this GREAT AND EFFICIENT schedule come the following two awesome points:
  1. They are trying to redo the lab experiments, to improve them. However, this means that the new ones last year? NONE OF THEM WORKED. Students got to choose between (a) working extra in the lab to get good data or (b) attempting to write a 10-20 page lab report and answering all assignment questions with bad data. That's a lose-lose situation to me, but do they care? Apparently not, because the prof doesn't seem to think many of the labs this year will be much better. Great. Glad we care about quality.

  2. They've apparently run out of second-(or-greater-)year students on assistantships supported by the department, so. My TAs and teachers and lab assistants? Are the students in the class.
    Just think about this one for a long second here. The students taking the class right now... will be teaching the class. And taking it. As they teach it.
    These are first-year students. They've only been through the first half of the core - our first 5 courses**. That's it.
    So these first-year students will be coming on Monday, learning about the lab and setting it up, and then teaching it to us. While they also do it.
    I don't pity them and I won't blame them for doing a shit job; that's a shit situation to be in. But I am also Not Very Excited for the amount of help (read: zero) I'll have on these labs.


I just. University of Akron, you may consider this an official public notice: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, GUYS.

I'm not looking forward to this.

It's my last class, and with that in mind, I'm going to just shoulder on through until May. I'm basically making myself harshly limit the amount of time I spend socializing or traveling or doing other stuff, and I'm looking at my schedule to trim out things. I can survive this, and it'll be worth it when it's done.

My plan is: I am going to save Thursday and Friday nights all for homeworking and lab reporting. This means no more weekend-long trips, not until May (except for a very few rare exceptions, like Ohayocon and a birthday or two). Only one night per weekend for socializing or hanging out. If I get behind on things, I will take a half day of vacation to work on them, rather than stay up all night. I can't afford to get sick this semester because there aren't any lab makeups I can attend (seeing as I work). I'm going to have to be pre-emptively careful, not just careful. Or else this is going to suck, a lot.

So: yay. And, uh, sorry to those of you who I hang out with in real life, but I really do need to make myself do this. It isn't that I don't love you! I promise. Really. in my pants.

On the plus side, this is the last semester you'll hear me whining about class.


* If we factor in travel time - JUST travel time, not errands or the gym or anything else I will be doing during the week - I'll be pulling 55 hour weeks. If I count nothing but work and school and driving there and back. :/ That also doesn't include homework time or, you know, anything like eating or chores (adulthood is its own part-time job (ADULTHOOD SUCKS)).
** Yes, the UAkron PolySci core is frigging ridic. The first semester is 5 courses. Who does that. No wonder this damn degree has taken me 4 years.

seventhe: (FFEX: Doink!)
WHAT YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT ACADEMIA.


Well, okay.

I am going to separate this out into two parts: some big, fundamental things that I think need discussing, and some smaller, within-the-system, more reasonable things I think are relevant.

It's going to become a ramble and I am sure there are a lot of things I am going to miss. I have definitely NOT said everything I have to say about academia; this came out being more about academia as a whole, and I could write another 8000 words on effing grad school. But I don't want to let this eat up 2 hours of my evening. Have a sampling.

The big picture of academia... needs to change )

But what can we do NOW? )



I told myself I'd stop writing this at 8:00 and it is already 8:05 so I am going to post but I KNOW I HAVEN'T SAID ALL I WANT TO SAY so uh feel free to give me some leading questions if you are so inclined etc etc seriously, this doesn't even get into the way I would GUT graduate school and START OVER in so many places so.... dammit Cendri way to give me a topic I could cover for a week >.>



This is part of my 30 Days of Posting meme - feel free to check out the schedule of posting! My month is full, but if any of the posts make you want to ask for something else, go ahead and leave a comment anyway! DW || LJ
seventhe: (Internet)
” I don’t agree with [that]--“

”It’s just how I was raised.” “That’s how I grew up.” “That's what I was taught.”


So, I have a bit of a problem with this defense, this concept!

I don’t have a problem with values and beliefs – we all have them; I think in a lot of ways a lot of them are similar if not the same. Most human beings just want the same things out of life, anyway. Our values and beliefs help to shape us, help us make conscious and unconscious choices, guide our words and actions. They are important.

And in many ways, they’re definitely formed by the way we’re brought up. Our parents have values and beliefs we either emulate or reject; our schools and teachers and friends have their own. Experience becomes a part of us (LEVEL UP!), and frankly, that’s what experience is for: to bring us lessons and data that become a part of our inner selves, one more building block in the fabulous construction of me or you, the complicated monstrosity that is us.

My problem with saying “Well, that’s just what I was taught” is that it suggests that you have stopped learning.

It is a way for people to discard and disregard beliefs, facts, assumptions they’re uncomfortable with. It is a way to dodge a self-examination and reassessment, a way to avoid a challenge. It implies a person has stopped learning, stopped growing; as if life’s valuable lessons stop at the age of [x]teen and anything that happens afterwards should and can be processed through that very first series of filters one built at a time too young to really know anything. It implies you know everything you need. It implies you’re learned it all. It implies you’re done.

And are you really? Have you really? I mean really?

“I was taught that [that] was wrong.” I believe that; I’m not even infringing on your right to believe that. What I’m asking is, have you really never re-evaluated that? Thought about it? Attacked the belief a little bit to see what unfolds?

When I was young, I was taught that touching the stove was wrong, but now I make a mad mean chili and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I know that comparing chili to a deeply intimate personal belief is a pretty big step and Fuck that noise, my chili is awesome.

Is the thought of re-evaluating that belief so very scary that you’re going to put it behind that protective fence, keeping the mad dogs out, never even letting the inquisitive little kitten in?

I learned a lot of things growing up. I was taught a lot of things too – some right, some wrong. And I was exposed to a bunch of values. But you know what? I am still learning, still growing, still seeing. I’m expanding my horizons and breaking down my walls, I’m identifying my strengths and acknowledging my weaknesses, I’m examining my privileges and challenging my worldview. I’m making observations, I’m taking new data, I’m recording freak occurrences and tracking the results. I am a student of this gigantic fucking thing called life and I’m not sure I’m ever going to stop learning – learning how right I was, how wrong I am, how smart I can be and how dumb I can feel.

No one person knows everything. This is obvious! But you also don’t develop a life’s-worth of answers until, well, until you’ve lived a life. Is your life done? Are you done collecting treasures and memories and lessons? Are you done defeating enemies and gaining experience? Is that your maximum level? Are you really going to stop there?

Because I’m not. I continue to grow. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop learning. I hope I never stop changing.

And if I believe something, if I’m going to put the weight of this fantastic sparkly obnoxious brain of mine behind something, I want it to be because I really do believe it, not just because I grew up hearing or seeing or learning things one way. I’d like to be sure; I’ve been wrong before.

I have a deep problem with people who just stop learning. And I don’t mean learning like school; I’m talking about learning from life, learning from things around you, watching shit go down and new things come up and asking questions and changing your mind. We’re allowed to change our minds; it’s one of the most beautiful and difficult things about being human.

It doesn’t make your beliefs any less, at this very moment: it simply makes them modifiable. They are transmutable, transient; apply enough heat and force and pressure and maybe something else will come out. Maybe not; maybe you’re right, and you’ll get diamonds. But I want people to own their beliefs. Give yourself agency.

Make those beliefs your own. Think them through; stand by them, put your name on them in (semi-)permanent marker and glitter paint, tuck them in the pocket of your favorite jeans. Wear them out. Make them fit.

If you disagree with me and it’s because you truly believe it and can explain, defend, can honestly tell me with your heart’s-soul: – man, that’s awesome, that’s incredible, and I respect you. If you disagree with me because you’ve stopped learning, stopped thinking, stopped looking – if you disagree because of a belief you haven’t stopped to challenge and own and make yours? – I won’t argue, but I am not sure I can respect that, either.

Now come have some chili and let’s talk about [this].

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