Don’t mind the crazy person flailing beneath a stack of books and loose papers…

Somewhere beneath miles of books, journal articles, loose leaf paper covered in the scrawlings of a madwoman, and class handouts, the author battles valiently against the monstrous Term Paper…

Will she win? Will she lose? Will the shreds of her sanity catch fire and drift away in the breeze? Tune in again in December to find out.

PhD school is madness. Glorious madness. Infuriating madness. Madness kept barely at bay by coffee and salt and vinegar chips and Netflix binges and half-price Halloween candy and cookies and pie. More elucidation to follow when the term is over. Or when my procrastination needs grow too great to resist efficiently.

*ducks back into battle*

It’s Finals Week

In two-ish weeks, I get to register for classes. In three or four weeks Jim Butcher’s new Dresden Files novel comes out. Right now, though, it’s finals and, like thousands of other instructors, I’m wading through a seemingly endless pile of grading. Like, this pile would have filled and overflowed Mary Poppins’ magic bag, that’s how neverending it is.

So, I leave you with one of my recent obsessions: “Graveyard” by The Devil Makes Three.

You’re Welcome.

University of Oregon Campus Visit Part II: Hiking & Exploring

Part two of the UO Visit involved LOTS of walking. We took a hike up to Spencer’s Butte, courtesy of our lovely host, and then we explored downtown extensively. I found a pie shop, several book shops, and the public library, so I am pretty much set. Those are the necessities (well, those and coffee, burgers, and fries. But the latter three items can be found pretty much everywhere in Eugene). There aren’t many pictures of downtown, partly because I got lazy and partly because my camera died, but mostly because I was too busy exploring to stop and take pictures every thirty seconds.

Entrance to a hiking trail near Spencer's Butte.

Entrance to a hiking trail near Spencer’s Butte.

Tall trees.

Tall trees.

Heading up...

Heading up…

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It's misty at the top.

It’s misty at the top.

Rocks and moss.

Rocks and moss.

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The muddy, muddy trail.

The muddy, muddy trail.

So. Much. Color.

So. Much. Color.

WATER (can you tell I'm from drought-central?)

WATER (can you tell I’m from drought-central?)

And the trail keeps going up. I'm 99.9% sure it eventually leads to Rivendell or some other Elven enclave.

And the trail keeps going up. I’m 99.9% sure it eventually leads to Rivendell or some other Elven enclave.

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Strange flowers.

Strange flowers.

It got more overcast.

It got more overcast.

Interesting tree. Temperate rain forests are the best. :)

Interesting tree. Temperate rain forests are the best. ūüôā

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View from somewhere midwayish.

View from somewhere midwayish.

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University of Oregon Trip 077

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More mossy rocks. I'm obsessed, okay?

More mossy rocks. I’m obsessed, okay?

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Near the top…

I think this is from the top.

I think this is from the top.

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And, cut scene to downtown(ish) Eugene...

And, cut scene to downtown(ish) Eugene…

Random intersection, cool old house.

Random intersection, cool old house.

An arcade the SO and I stumbled into. They had local hard-cider, so I was happy despite being legitimately HORRIBLE at all of the games.

 

 

 

 

University of Oregon Campus Visit

I’ve had an…interesting…trip. It started out with flight delays that meant my entire visit was condensed severely, and ended with a completely canceled flight and a 24 hour wait in L.A., during which time an unidentified man (who was possibly homeless, according to the news anchors), drowned in¬†the swimming pool at the hotel where the airline put us up. My SO and I woke up to news anchors JOKING about this event on television, and when we went to the window to look at the pool, it was already open for business again…

Oh, L.A. *sigh*

Anyway, the actual visit part of the trip was wonderful, and once again I will relate it through a photo essay:Image

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The view from the English Grad Lounge in PLC Hall.

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Tree.

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University of Oregon Trip 027   The Pioneer

(Above to the right: The Pioneer who is supposedly Eugene Skinner, the founder after whom the city is named. When we left Eugene, we flew over the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas and between the mountains and the statue, I couldn’t help but think about the Donner Party).

University of Oregon Trip 106   University of Oregon Trip 103

University of Oregon Trip 104   University of Oregon Trip 111

PLC Hall (where the English Dept. is located)

PLC Hall (where the English Dept. is located) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Knight Library

Knight Library

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University of Oregon Trip 122   University of Oregon Trip 127

University of Florida Campus Visit II: Real Live Gators

Does anyone else remember reading this book as a child, or is it just me?

Until this past weekend, this book (and Swamp People) were the only signifiers I really had for alligators (well, those and–less accurately–the Crocodile Hunter). The following photos (taken at Paynes Prairie Preserve outside of Gainesville, FL) are evidence that I now have a more realistic reference point for alligators:

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U Florida Visit 136   U Florida Visit 139U Florida Visit 143   U Florida Visit 146

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University of Florida Campus Visit

I am currently visiting University of Florida, and because I am visiting and don’t want to spend all of my time online, this post will be something more like a photo essay. This is the first full day of my visit. I hope to see more of the town itself tomorrow. For brevity’s sake, I’ll give you my first impressions of the campus as adjectives: big, green, beautiful, green, busy, green, wet, green, and odoriferous (in a good way–it’s a very distinct plant/moisture smell that I tend to associate with Little Rock, AR and Chatanooga, TN for reasons pertaining to my childhood). Yes, I’e been a bit starved of the color green. My little corner of the world has been in a drought for at least 13 years.

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Plaque on Turlington Hall (where the English Dept. is located)

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Another plaque on Turlington Hall

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Squirrel

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Marston Science Library

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Century Tower

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Library West (where most of the Humanities collections are held). There were several hammocks in the lawn/treed area in front of the library)

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Speaking of Special Collections…this is the entrance.

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Giant line of scooters. Apparently, lots of people here drive them because they are cheaper/easier to park. Lots of people also bike, which is cool.

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Blue tree. Looking over the Plaza of the Americas.

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Turlington Hall (conveniently located next to a Starbucks, bagel place, and more food…).

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View from Turlington.

There will probably be more photo-posts to follow. Stay tuned.

 

 

10 Ways to Decide Between Two Schools

Disclaimer: the entirety of this post (except, you know, this italicized¬†part) is tongue-in-cheek. I am a planner, through and through, and have spent hours (oh, so many hours) debating, making pro/con lists, emailing faculty and grad students with questions, researching, etc. I take this choice VERY seriously, but I also need to decompress from research-mode so that I can visit both places without all of the facts¬†swirling around in my nutty-little-noggin’ and just experience each place before I make my final choice.¬†

 

Here’s a not-so-hypothetical situation for you: you’ve been accepted to a couple of¬†PhD programs, you’ve researched them extensively and, although the programs are different, they’ve both got lots to offer. There are pros and cons to each place, sure, but no matter how many times you tally them up and compare, you come to the conclusion that they’re both great choices–and, despite the different atmospheres they offer, they’re both about equal in terms of education/career opportunities.

What do you do in that situation? How do you choose? I’ve compiled a handy list of possible solutions:

  1. Paint the toenails of one foot in one school’s colors and the toenails of the other foot in the other school’s colors. Choose whichever school’s colors last the longest.
  2. Dress your pet up as the school mascot–which costume is more flattering? Choose that school.
  3. Take a long, hard look at the school colors. Which ones work better with your complexion? Choose that school.
  4. Pin a map to your wall, take a couple of shots of whiskey, spin around just enough that you are dizzy but not so much that you vomit, point to a spot on the map: whichever school is closest to your finger is the school you should choose.
  5. Flip a coin.
  6. Grab an apple and twist the stem while chanting the ABC’s schoolchild style. When the stem twists completely off, take note of the letter you landed on: whichever school’s name is alphabetically closer to that letter is the school you should choose.
  7. Ask a magic eight ball.
  8. Keep  an eye out for license plates from the states your potential schools are located in: whichever state you see first is the winner,
  9. Base your decision on which mascot you like more.
  10. Whichever school contacts you next is the one you should choose.