rightangles: (o hai panda)
So, deciding to roll Horde on Proudmoore was a big mistake. I'm back into gaming pretty hardcore, insofar as I spent literally all of yesterday and most of today playing WoW again. I joined Taint, which is the second-largest guild in the entire world. It has over five thousand characters, and it's LGBT-oriented. Guild chat is always hoppin', and I'm not sure yet if I find it tiring or exciting. I'm very conflicted about the whole thing. We'll see how long I stick with these toons, though. I'm guessing about a week or so.

I did manage to write the review of The Salt Ecstasies for Hipster Book Club. I didn't start reading the Cunningham book yet, which is a problem. I'll have to haul ass to finish even remotely close to the deadline, which is in like four days, but Yennie, my editor, is usually pretty understanding. So I'll manage.

I haven't touched any of the grad school stuff. Big surprise there. This procrastination is going to come back to bite me in the ass sooner or later. Let's just hope I don't eff myself royally.

Anyway, my pizza is done reheating, so I'm going to go and watch some episodes of Will & Grace, which is still the best show ever in my opinion at the moment. I have to work tomorrow, which I'm not happy about. I wanted a long break to get work done, though we all know I'd spend most of the day playing WoW. Tomorrow is also 9-11, which I hate. It still makes me nervous. Do I think a terrorist is really going to hit my little country bumpkin mall? Probably not. Do I think there's a crazy-ass mofo out there who may get an idea and shoot a place up? Yes, I do. It's happened here before, after all.

On that note... good night! If I'm still alive after work tomorrow, I'll say hello then.
rightangles: (Default)
The first thing I need to do, as far as grad school applications go, is to figure out which schools I want to apply to. I work for a bit tomorrow, and then I'm off for two days (Sunday and Monday), and then I work for three days (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). I'd like to get a hefty chunk of the choosing done then, with a finalized list of the schools drawn up before I go to bed Thursday night. This way, I'll have the next chunk of days-off to work on things like deciding when to take the GREs, who to contact for recommendations, and preliminary revisions on my statement of purpose and writing sample. I haven't got any farther than that as far as planning and setting deadlines go. Baby steps for now, I figure. Baby steps.
rightangles: (Default)
I'm going to try and take a break from gaming for a bit. I get too annoyed at virtual people too easily, and it's not healthy. There's literally nothing holding my interest in WoW anymore, and I enjoy SC2, but nobody plays with me when I ask, and that's half the reason I get so annoyed. I feel so underappreciated there, so second string, so unloved... and that's pathetic! I know you're thinking it, and you're right! It is! I can't believe I feel neglected and unloved by random strangers who live thousands of miles away and who refer to me as "Yins" or "Punctuation" rather than my name! I need help. So I'm trying to quit. I don't know how long I'll be able to stay away, but at least I'm trying.

Perhaps if I can occupy myself with other things, like television and literature and writing, I'll be able to manage an extended absence. It'd be nice if I had real-life people with whom to spend time, because without gaming I'm going to have literally no socialization. (This is where I would normally insert a reference to my current crush, MAW, and how he should talk to me and date me so I have something to distract me from my gaming addiction, but since I'm also trying to work myself out of obsessing over things I can't have, like boyfriends, I'm going to leave out the reference. Look at me making progress already!)

I suppose I can also start trying to work on grad school stuff. I need to set dates for the GREs, I need to figure out if I even need to take the GRE Lit, I need to study for these tests. I need to rewrite my personal statement, and I need to decide which essay to use and then I need to revise that essay. I need to start recruiting recommendations, and I need to start remembering how to send transcripts, and then I need to start selling my body and/or blood and/or plasma and/or sperm so I can afford all the application/testing fees, and then I need to figure out who at each school I need to sleep with so I can actually get into one of them. GOOD TIMES!

In news of a vastly different direction: It's been just over four days since the applications were due for the teaching position at Penn State I'd really like to get. Granted, I'd turned my application way before the deadline, but most people say they probably won't have even begun to go through them until after the deadline. I'm seriously considering emailing the woman in a day or two, but I'm not entirely sure what to say. It's too late to use the "Just verifying you got my application!" excuse, and I'm not entirely sure if it's good form to ask when I can expect an interview, so perhaps I'll just say something about reaffirming my interest in the position and offering any other materials she may need to help in her decision? I have no idea. I'm so bad at this shit. I hate business tact. Professionalism to me seems like such a waste of time and energy. It's almost a form of deceit. What I want to say is, "Hey, can I get an interview? Am I still in the running? WHY NOT?" but instead I have to camouflage it in a bunch of limp cant, and I hate it. Stupi, stupid, stupid, stupid!

It's been about four minutes since I decided to take a break from gaming and I'm already thinking about logging on. Good Lord, I'm so weak!

I'm stuck in a rut with Eternity. I just finished 7.5, which takes place on a lake, and the next major scene takes place several days later in the capital city of Zebelli. Things happen in between that I'd like to mention, but they're not important enough to demand individual scenes, and I'm not sure how to handle the summarizing, how to get from the lake to tZebelli on he third day of the Martyrday celebration, which is when and where the next scene needs to take place. I keep telling myself, "Just write it, even if it's bad! Just write it!" but I'm a perfectionist and I'm not so good with doing things when I know I'm not doing them as well as I could or should be.

As you know, I have a crush on a certain random (Is the phrase 'certain random' an oxymoron?) customer at Borders, and despite signs suggesting he's possibly gay, I've decided to give up hope because I've realized I'm not... I'm not... now I'm struggling for words. I think to myself, "Even if he is gay, why would he like me?" And I don't mean that in a woe-is-me, self-deprecating sort of way. I can't drive. I have oodles of debt and no real job. I live with my parents. That's three huge strikes, and let's face it, I'm not cute enough or charming enough or exciting enough to make those strikes go away. So why would he -- or anyone, for that matter -- want to date someone like me? As much as I hate to admit it, and as much as I want a boyfriend and I want to go on dates and all that silly cheesy stuff, I think I have to face the fact that I'm simply not ready for a relationship yet. The sad thing is I'm not sure if I'll ever be.

(Yes, there is a huge part of me that's fighting this realization, that's saying "You need to meet someone who can help you out of your rut, who can give you the fire under your ass you need to fix things!" And it's true, I think. If I had a guy I cared about helping me along, being my cheerleader, giving me a reason to fix things... I think it'd be a lot easier to do it. But I'm not fucking Sleeping Beauty. I shouldn't need a prince to save me, right? Right!)

(Even as I say that, I'm still thinking I'd like one and probably won't save myself without it. This whole thing is a vicious Catch-22, and I hate it. Can't get a boyfriend without a Real Life, can't get a Real Life without a boyfriend. Fuck everything!)

Oh, well! I suppose I'll go look into finding something edible, and then perhaps I'll watch the So You Think You Can Dance episode from tonight. My DVD player is on the fritz, and so if I want to watch movies or television shows, I have to sit on my ass on this hard chair at my computer, and I'm not too keen on that. I could also read, or I could work on any of that grad school stuff I mentioned, or I could try and work myself out of the Eternity rut. See, Matt? You have lots of things to do that don't involve Internet gaming! SO DO THEM!

EDIT TO ADD: I just experienced an ad for non-paid users on LiveJournal, and even when I clicked CLOSE, it kept on going. Fuck that shit. LiveJournal has totally gone to the shitter. Why don't we all go to dreamwidth now, okay? I'd go myself, but I'll miss you. All two of you that still read and leave comments. :-P
rightangles: (Default)
Hi. Remember me?

I haven't updated in almost a month. I think that's a record, the longest time I've gone without an update since I started this journal back in 2003. I think there's a few reasons for that. First, it seems LJ is on the outs, at least in my view of the world. I use facebook status updates a lot more frequently, because more of my friends have access to them and because it seems few people still read -- or at least still comment on -- LJ posts. Second, not too much has been happening in my life. There were two or three things I could've brought up here, but for whatever reason I never felt compelled enough to write an entry.

So why am I writing now? I'm not really sure. May is almost over, which means 2010 is nearly halfway gone. I have to start getting serious: If I want to apply to schools this fall, I need to start working on my writing sample and my statement, and I need to start studying for the two GREs I have to take. I also actually have to pick schools, too, which I'm dreading. I have to keep a level, rational head about this. I can apply to some far-reaching schools, but if I really want to increase my chances of getting an offer, I need to look at a few less prestigious schools. By 'less prestigious' I mean schools that I wouldn't have ever dreamed of choosing for undergraduate, schools that aren't well-known globally, schools that may be smaller and less metropolitan. Of course, then it becomes a balancing act of trying to decide if the benefits I'll get from going to school will outweigh my aversion to non-city living. See why I've been trying to avoid thinking about this mess?

I've been reading a bit more lately, which is nice. I've decided to start A la recherche du temps perdu by Proust. In the mail yesterday, I got the first volume of the Moncrieff/Kilmartin/Enright translation, and I've read the introduction, translators' notes, and the first ten or fifteen pages of the actual text. This is not easy reading. I have to work to pay attention and not let my mind drift away. I mean, he spends the first eight pages expounding on the mental process, via memory, of waking up. Something that takes a few seconds at most, lengthened to a full eight trade-paperback pages. And I thought Tolkien was bad... But some of the passages even this early in the novel are amazing. There's a little ditty about habit and the way our mind works that I found quite stimulating, and some of his descriptions are so evocative. And since I'm so caught up on the idea of memory, have been caught up on the idea of memory for as long as I can remember, I think the Proustian subject matter will dovetail nicely with my own interests. So I'm going to read it. Slowly, and probably on the side, moonlighting with it as I read other books, but still, I'm going to read it. Wish me luck.

Speaking of being in search of lost time... Last weekend, Joni, Nick, and I went to our friend Krystal's bachelorette party. She had it in the Southside, which is an area of Pittsburgh that has hundreds of bars along a single street. These are the kind of bars I hate, with heterosexual twenty-somethings out to score some action, so you had bunches of beautiful people, metrosexuals and prissy girls, drunken men trying to assure themselves and everyone around them of their masculinity and heterosexuality, all that bullshit. But it was for Krystal, so I went. Anyway, the point: early in the night, Joni looked at me. She was my best friend in high school, and we were inseparable. She looked at me and said, "Do you remember the pact we made in high school? That if, by the time we're both twenty-eight, we still haven't found anyone, we'll just marry each other?" I remembered it, but I didn't find it very relevant, so I didn't give it much thought. "That's in a year," she said, and suddenly the glass in my mind shattered and fell to the floor. It was such a slap in the face, such a shock, such a reality check. She and I made that pact in high school, so sure that we'd be happy with boyfriends by the time we were twenty-eight, so convinced that twenty-eight was so far away that there's no way in Hell we'd still be alone and unhappy then. And now twenty-eight's only a year away, and what do I have to say for it? I'm in virtually the exact same place, with the addition of a few degrees and a few more pounds, that I was in when I made that pact.

Where does Time go? And how did it fly by so fast? Obviously, I have no answers. Maybe Proust does. But I doubt it, because if he did, I'm pretty sure I'd've heard them through the grapevine by now.

Obviously, I've been playing quite a lot of WoW, and I'm actually downloading the beta for StarCraft II at the moment, so I'll give that a shot and see if I like it. I haven't written at all in the past few months, not even LiveJournal entries, and it's making me feel like a waste and a failure. I've been thinking about Eternity and Tristys and Rami every day, and I've been pre-writing and planning and all that jazz, but no actual writing. Every day when I wake up, I say to myself, "Today, you will write another scene!" and then I never do, so I go to bed saying to myself, "Tomorrow, you will write another scene!" and then I repeat the process the next day. It's frustrating.

In an attempt to write more in this LiveJournal, I'm going to start making my posts public. Perhaps I'll attract a few new readers that way, or perhaps I'll rope back in a few older ones. I imagine that most of the people who led me to flock my journal in the first place have given up reading this, so I think public entries should be safe again. And if not, I can always go back and flock everything up again.
rightangles: (Default)
So, as you know, I've been thinking lately of going back to graduate school. It's been on my mind virtually all the time, and I think I've finally decided to begin considering seriously where to apply this fall.

I have to look further into these schools, but as of right now, I'm considering:
  • Pittsburgh
    • University of Pittsburgh: The program there is still rather enticing to me, and it's local, which I also really like. I'm not too keen about moving back to Pittsburgh, to be honest, because I'm afraid of falling into old patterns (i.e., old friendships), but I'll navigate those muddy waters if I have to.
    • Carnegie Mellon: They have a great Ph. D. program that actually grants a degree in cultural studies rather than English which, let's face it, is really what I want to do. I have to look more into this program, though, because since it's not a traditional English doctorate, I'm not entirely sure it's as valid or respected.
  • Boston
    • Boston University: My alma mater! I miss it so, and I really know nothing whatsoever of the Ph. D. program there nowadays. The only reason it's even on this list is because it's in Boston and I feel comfortable on campus. I'll have to do more research.
    • Tufts: I didn't like this program while I was there, because I felt stifled by its size and offended by one of the professors there. I was also incredibly burnt out. It still is, however, a great school for queer theory, and their funding is amazing. So if I could manage to get accepted again... And I think as long as I learn how to drive before I move back to Medford, I'll be much happier there.

At this point, those are the only schools on my radar. This is not enough. I want to apply to at least five -- maybe seven or eight -- schools so I have choices and a better shot at getting accepted somewhere. I'm tempted to apply to one LOLOLOLOL school... like Harvard or Columbia or Berkeley... just because, but I probably won't. But if you have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know. I'd like a program that's strong in literary theory (cultural studies and queer theory), and I'd like to stay as close to home as possible... nothing that requires airplane travel. So sadly, the west coast is out.

Now, this post seems very confident and determined, and I'm not. I'm very worried that my recommendations won't be as valid because they'll be from professors who haven't seen me or taught me in years. I'm worried that these professors won't even agree to write recommendations for me, since it's been so long. I'm worried that my writing sample is the reason I didn't get into Pitt, and I'm worried I won't be able to write a statement of purpose that isn't sophomoric and self-absorbed. I have to take the GRE again, and I'm worried I won't get nearly as good a score on it. (It's hard to top 99th percentile, which is what I had before. And 96th percentile on the GRE Literature test is rather fabulous, too. And I'd need to take both of them again.)

The way I feel about this is the exact way I feel about my love life. I feel very strongly that I am capable and qualified to complete -- and complete well! -- a doctorate, but I'm afraid that these schools won't see me the same way I see me. I'm afraid I'll get rejected all around again, and if that happens, I just don't know if I'll have the energy or heart to try again.

I'm going to invest tomorrow in a GRE prep book. I've already emailed my old professor from BU who guided me through all of my graduate career, asking her for advice and whether she thinks I still have a shot at getting into a program, despite all the mistakes I've made. I'm going to email two more professors, one from Tufts and one from Pitt, to ask for their advice and to secure possible recommendations in the fall. And I'm also going to email the English chair at Tufts, who had me for a class during the semester I left, and see if he has any advice, particularly about reapplying to Tufts and the odds that a reapplication will get readmission.

I'm afraid. I know I'm "still young" -- although people have been telling me that now for over a decade, so I can't nearly be as young as I once was -- but I feel like this is it, my Last Chance, that if I don't get something out of this, I'm going to be doomed to a life of sub-par occupation in retail and I will really and truly be nothing more than squandered potential, flailing in the stagnated, Cro-magnon waters of sub-suburban "life." And I think the scariest thought I've ever had, the thing I'm most afraid of in life, is that this is it. That living in my parents' attic, with virtually no friends and literally no loves, in a dead-end minimum-wage part-time retail job is it. It's enough to drive me insane.

Anyway... thoughts on potential schools, on the process, on ways I can improve my application, etc. are all welcomed. Chop chop!