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Disjointed

December 17, 2008 1 comment

That’s how I feel and that’s how I write. Hopefully by the end of this post everything will kinda sorta fall together.

Finals week has come and gone, and I can’t say I’m displeased with how it played out. What I am extremely…annoyed at, however, is the fact that one of my teachers (I refuse to call them “professors”) is completely unprofessional in her way of handling an issue that is her fault.

See, at the beginning of the semester, she sent me an email telling me that, since I was a grad student (and I’m using that term very loosely), I had to do more work; namely, I had to show a movie in class (in her absence, which universally equates to substituting and/or TAing, two tasks for which people usually get paid  — I should add that she expressed her wish for me to “return it to [her], please,” as if I would pocket her goddamn DVD and run away to flippin’ Alaska) and produce a handout for the students, and both of my papers had to be six pages in length rather than four to five.

Fair enough. I showed up at her office one day to get the DVD she wanted me to show, and we go over the email that she sent me. Suddenly realizing that I, as a participant in my program, had to hand in an extra assignment, she changed her mind and told me to stick to just four to five pages for the papers. Of course I’m happy about that, considering that there is nothing I hate more than writing papers about a subject that I hate for a class that I hate and deem useless.

Lo and fucking behold, I get my first paper back with a comment saying, among other things, that it is too short; yet I had written five pages. I let it go, thinking that maybe she meant I should have kept writing to further develop my ideas. My second paper was due the day after Thanksgiving break (thanks a fucking lot), i.e., four days before the end of all classes for the semester. I got the paper back after the final exam, and I looked at it on my way out, after the teacher had disappeared: four and half pages, too short. She explained herself further down: I had to write six pages.

I was fuming. I hurried home to shoot her an email saying, “You said that blah blah blah,” and she almost immediately replied, “No, not at all, blah blah blah either you’re a liar or I’m senile, blah blah blah. I wrote back, “Actually, I think you’re senile, blah blah blah.”

She never replied. Or hasn’t yet replied. I’m hoping it’s the latter, but I honestly think she will never reply, even though it is a pressing matter, even though I am right and she is senile (or at least she’s on her way there), and even though ignoring a student’s email inquiry is completely rude and unprofessional. My advisor claims it’s “generational” and that people of his generation aren’t glued to their computers checking their email like the folks of the younger generation — which, I should say, is utter bullshit. First of all, as teachers, it is their RESPONSIBILITY to be available via email and respond in a timely manner.

Dear teachers, instructors, professors:

Since you are so clearly aware of how dependent on computers and electronic services your students are, you owe it to them to make an effort and get acquainted with computers, the Internet, and the services it offers. Just like you would never tolerate a sluggish — or total lack of — response on our part, we should not have to put up with your technological disinclination. It is a two-way street, and this is an essential part of a good student-teacher rapport. If you fail to understand this concept, perhaps it would be in everyone’s interest if you ceased to give your students your email addresses.

Cordially,
Students who find it unfair that you get to blame mishaps for which you are responsible on technology

Anyway.

I came back to Philadelphia on Saturday morning via Amtrak. Haven’t done much since then, really, other than buy groceries, start a scarf [knitting], and go back to the good old LDC. Holy shit, that place is as dead as ever! They’ve finally fixed up our floor, though, after months of having random elevator parts stocked in our halls. I have to say that the new carpet is UGLY, though. Gives me a headache.

I haven’t had a decent winter break since high school… winter 2000, maybe? One day I’d like to know what it’s like to not have anything to do AT ALL during vacation time.  In the meantime, I’m helping out with some LDC projects, working for my translation gig from my laptop whenever and wherever possible (just turned in my weekly assignment and I have a batch of shtuff to finish by the end of this month), and trying to finish the extra assignment that I mentioned further up (for that god-forsaken class).

I’m tired. My eyes are tired, my brain is tired, my body is tired. Even my laptop is tired; the battery has suffered “irreparable damage” (at least that’s what the computer is telling me) so I have to replace the battery (just ordered it this afternoon). In the meantime, it’s being constantly plugged in. Poor baby. I think the fan’s in poor shape, too.

I should go to sleep now. It’s a quarter to midnight and I have to be up early tomorrow. For work, ya know.

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My last weekend in Philly!

August 16, 2008 Leave a comment

That’s right; this weekend is officially my last weekend in the Illadelph. I didn’t have great things planned, but I wasn’t counting on throwing up multiple times today, either; life is funny sometimes.

I want to write about so many things that I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll do it chronologically!

***

Bev, my next-door neighbor, brought me a box of candy from the shore; this one is called “Summer Assortment”. The box is split in two and both sides are the same, so I took one side and mom took the other :)

Aren’t the colors just so delicious? A while ago, Bev brought back a box of creamy fudge from the boardwalk. I had never really had fudge before, and I didn’t expect it to be so sweet! So of course I only have very little at once, and the box is still sitting around. I like the candies much better.

I’m not usually a candy person, but on occasion I like to have something sugary, chewy, and sour to light up my palate a little bit. Citrus flavors are my favorite by far!

Look at these things, aren’t they cute? The orange and green flowers are creamy mint.

***

I did some ceramics painting when I went to Brooklyn for Susan’s birthday but my mug wasn’t going to be ready until a week later. So, Susan got it for me and recently shipped it to me:

Ceramics painting is a lot of fun; I highly recommend it for anyone who’s got an hour or two to kill.

***

Last weekend was my mom’s first attempt at a bird’s nest noodle dish. The cooked noodle is fried and shaped into a bowl to resemble a bird’s nest, and the rest is basically stir-fried and placed in the nest.

Here, we have shrimp, pork, shiitake mushrooms, string beans, and onions (we like to keep things simple). The sauce helps soften the noodle so that every bite isn’t a crunch; the mix of soft and crunchy is to die for!

Let’s not forget to mention that shrimp and pork make a killer combination; mom’s dumplings are fucking divine.

Homemade cooking is always best, especially when it comes to Chinese food. With this dish, for example, the sauce is always too starchy in restaurants. The shrimp has no taste, the meat can be tough, and the string beans aren’t fresh.

An interesting dessert to follow this dish is chè đậu trắng, a wonderful Vietnamese dessert consisting of black-eyed peas and sweet (sticky) rice in coconut milk. I’ve always only known it as chè đậu, because while there are many varieties of bean desserts (đậu means “beans”), this is the one my mom makes the most (we’re not crazy about chè đậu xanh (made with mung beans).

Another dessert that my mom absolutely loves is chè xôi nước, and you can see it here. She makes it every once in a while. What the Wikipedia article fails to mention is that not all the balls are big and filled with mung bean paste; there are usually a multitude of tiny balls (I call them “babies”) made of just the glutinous rice flour. They’re small, chewy, and delightful to eat. Mmm, just thinking about it makes me want to eat it —  but we just had chè đậu, and too much of a good thing can do some serious damage.

Learn more about chè here.

***

A few days after the noodle dish, my mom made a mean mapo doufu and I only thought of taking a picture after I had inhaled about half the dish.

The level of spiciness was severely toned down because I had a canker sore, which we attribute to “hot air” (look it up). Nevertheless, it was amazing (yes, everything that my mom makes is amazing).

What you see in the upper right hand corner of the picture is a bowl of tofu and tomato soup with small seasoned meatballs, garnished with scallions. Of course, since this is a Chinese household, it was in clear broth. I didn’t take a picture of it because it’s a rather ordinary soup for us, though it is pretty damn tasty.

Mom just came up to ask me what we should have for dinner, and I suggested mapo doufu. Sweet.

***

Quick update on the wasp! It’s dead:

***

Yesterday was my last day working at the LDC — after four years, seven months, and three days, I left the windowless annotation lab to never again return. Maybe. Of course, I was the last part-timer out of the office. I thought it was going to be an emotional day because I did enjoy working there and I really like the people I’ve met during that time. But, as with graduation, it was just a long, busy, bittersweet day. The end of an era, once more. Plus, I’m going to see a bunch of them people Tuesday evening at happy hour, so it didn’t really feel like the end.

What I didn’t know was that I would see some of them way before Tuesday — as in, last night. I drank like I didn’t know that having lots of beer on an empty stomach was bad for you. Liz drove, I got motion sickness… we went to McDonald’s after the party and it was dry and disgusting so I didn’t finish it, then drove home and I puked on the highway or wherever it is that we were.

I woke up at 6:30AM and was hungry, so I finished the McDonald’s (yeah, I know, gross) and went back to sleep. I woke up again at 9, showered because I was disgusting, made some breakfast… and I realized how shitty I felt once I got downstairs. I made eggs because that’s always helped me fight off a hangover, and naturally I had lots and lots of water. Shortly thereafter, it all came back up. I’m talking projectile vomiting here; my body wasn’t having any of it. Nothing helped. Water came back up, food came back up, medicine came back up — nothing would stay. They say you have to eat when you’re hungover. They say you have to drink a lot of water. They say you have to sleep. SLEEP. Not ride the bus to the Asian supermarket when it’s super duper SUNNY AS SHIT outside. SLEEP. Before we left the house, I had a cup of ginger lemon tea to soothe my stomach. When I got to the supermarket, I went to the restroom and puked it all out. The cup of tea. Gone.

And when I walked out of the restroom, I felt better! When we got home, I felt better! Then I remembered that my stomach had been empty since lunch time yesterday, and I felt nauseous all over again. “No, you’re just hungry,” said my mom. She made rice congee for me — plain, because I didn’t want to fuck with my stomach inadvertently — and I added some pepper, soy sauce, and a little bit of fried shallots to it. It was delicious, and my stomach was happy, just like the rest of my body.

The only other thing I had to take care of today was my purse. I put an open bottle of beer in it last night but I swear it was standing up (as if it was going to stay that way, ha!). Somehow in my drunken stupor I forgot about it and opened a new one that I downed at record speed before Liz and I left. Once we got to the car, I looked into my purse and realized that it was flooded with Heineken. But that’s okay because it’s Heineken, right? Wrong. I took all of my shit out and turned it upside down, inside out to pour out the beer (not inside the car, of course). I chucked the bottle out onto the curb (I’m so sorry for littering) and off we went.

This morning, everything smelled terrible: my keys, my wallet, my tissues, my GUM — EVERYTHING. But we had to go to the supermarket and I didn’t get around to washing the damn thing and all the little shits until about midway through this entry. Now it’s all clean! It just has to dry.

It is now almost 8PM, and I’m feeling nauseous again. Or maybe I’m just hungry.

I’ve got cacti!

November 1, 2007 1 comment

dsc09126.jpg They’re the cutest prickly things I’ve ever owned. I have yet to find names for them, but I was originally thinking about “Weebl” and “Bob”  (from Weebl & Bob). Cute names for cute things, no?

Weebl and Bob (we’ll call them that for now; you decide which one’s which) are the closest things to pets at the moment. Mom and I were considering betta fish (it’s about time, our respective bettas passed away a while ago now) but–eh, you’ve gotta feed’em and change their water and blah blah blah… A royal pain in the ass if you ask me–for now at least.

My Lil’ Monsta gave me a lil’ scare the other day when it suddenly stopped working…after I dropped it! The blue wheel lit up when I tried to turn it on, but the screen remained dark. I tried accessing recovery mode, looked for answers online, but all was in vain. Until tonight! I decided to give it one more try before calling the SanDisk hotline (help desk technical support thing, if that’s what you want to call it) and lo and behold! It turned on! I somehow managed to enter recovery mode, but then it started giving me shit so I disconnected its ass from my computer. Now it’s decided that it would turn on and stay on, so it’s happily charging. How capricious! Sigh, technology.

I’ve decided (in the last twenty four hours) that I will take up a hobby–a real one, not one of the bullshit hobbies like “watching movies” and “listening to music.” No. I’m already doing that on a daily basis, and believe when I say that, while those are two very entertaining activities and very efficient at passing time pleasantly, they are by no means as satisfying as arts and crafts, or playing a sport (I do go to the gym three+ times per week, but that doesn’t count).

So! I think I will start making bracelets. With yarn. I’m talking quasi-mass production of yarn-made bracelets here. Then maybe I’ll try my hand at jewelry-making, perfect my hand-sewing, refine my knitting… so much to be done, so little time!

Oh, and I suppose I ought to get a job somehow. Something more reliable and permanent than, say, my current gig (that I’ve had since my freshman year in college). I already know where I want to apply (there’s only one job I’m interested in at the moment) but my resume is not ready. NOT. READY. I feel like it’s got a long way to go (because I like things to be perfect) but I think it’s just about done. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore; forgive me, it’s late. I just have to sort out some minor details in my ‘work experience’ section, and that’ll be it. I’ve even got my e-mail “cover letter” crafted.

After that, I guess I should move on to finish my statement of purpose for school next year. I have my mind set on this, so I’d better not fuck it up, but something in the back of my mind keeps telling me that I’m still not certain. I don’t know, do I really want to go that way? Sounds ideal, really. Everyone says so. My mom says so. I think I say so as well. I probably need to sleep on that–I’ll do that in a minute.

I believe I also wanted to bitch about people on the train. Please, if you’re not gonna get off at the next stop, or even at the stop after next, don’t stand in front of the doors like you’re about to jet out of the car. Just sit your ass down; there’s no shortage of seats. Sit. Your ass. DOWN.

I’d better hit the hay now if I want to get up early and watch Quantum Leap tomorrow morning.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , , ,

toomanythoughtsatonce

October 24, 2007 Leave a comment

What’s the difference between “light caffeine” and “less caffeine”? I’m guessing “light caffeine” contains less than “less caffeine” but I could be wrong; in any case, I’m currently having a cup of Mighty Leaf’s Marrakesh Mint Green Tea “light caffeine.” And it’s good.

More on driving: my second lesson went okay; apparently I drive too fast, and I go through turns too fast. The Need for Speed! Great game; you ever played it? This time I drove us from Chinatown to South Philly, where I could practice stopping at stop signs and making various turns, then back to Chinatown where we encountered a massive clusterfuck. Several detours later, I said goodbye to my instructor and met my mom for lunch.

I’ve decided that I need to get my ass in gear; get my shit together and look for something more stable than my current job–if we can call that a job.  Can you imagine working forty hours a week for months and then being stripped down to sixteen hours? It sucks, and it certainly does take a toll on your routine. This is not going to work. No, it’s not even working currently; I can’t deal with this part-time half-ass work situation. It sucks to not have any stability, or rather to have stability taken away from you. It makes no sense to me to have such a scattered schedule. I could condense sixteen weekly hours into two days of work, leaving me holding my figurative cock for three days of the week. I should have seen this coming.

No, I did. I saw it coming.

I have to look for something else, and unless I get my shit together it’s not going to happen.

I think what sucks more is that I just found out this evening that both Sliders AND Quantum Leap are available for instant viewing on Netflix. How am I supposed to get stuff done knowing that there are hours of entertainment waiting for me online? Ahhh, no self-discipline. I suppose that’s another thing I should master. Maybe after I get my license.

So this Marrakesh Mint Green Tea isn’t as awesome as it sounds. You know what is awesome, though? Bouchées à la reine. Leek quiches.

Sometimes warm weather is nice. Sometimes it isn’t. Right now, it isn’t.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , , ,