March 24, 2005

Oh you Masters of Arts

Filed under: Literati and Cognoscenti — tomemos @ 1:15 am

I just finished my last World War I paper, and even though I still have half of my final exams to grade before I sleep, I think now is the time to announce: I got my MA degree in English yesterday. I gave the committee (three professors) my paper in advance, and we talked about it, and we talked about my plans for the next few quarters and longer-term, and they shook my hand and I had a Masters degree.

What’s funny about getting an MA degree, at least here, is that it basically means that…I have an MA degree. Not much more than that, really. They’ve confirmed that I can keep on working, that my next objective is the qualifying exams. But it doesn’t really change my status. The MA exam is not an exam at all; it’s a pitstop on the Irvine 500.

But I do have an advanced degree now. I will be answering the question “What’s the highest level of education you’ve achieved?” differently on surveys and job applications. Not that I’ll be filling out many job applications, because, y’know, I’ll be at this for a while longer.

And with that I had better get back to work, because in less than 12 hours I leave for the airport to go to France and see my girlfriend. And that’s on par with an MA degree, I can say from experience.


March 13, 2005

And we’re back

Filed under: Blogs Themselves — tomemos @ 11:13 pm

Sorry about that. The blog was broken: I couldn’t update and you couldn’t leave comments. But it’s back up and we’ll soon have a new entry. Hey, we’ll have a new entry party. Two-comment minimum.

March 8, 2005

Can’t beat this….ox

Filed under: Funny Stuff — tomemos @ 1:50 am

A webcomic has hit upon an ingenious variation on the Exploding Dog idea. It’s called Spamusement, and rather than making comics from reader e-mails, the artist makes comics from the subject lines of the spam he receives. I’ve been reading it for a couple weeks, but today’s is the one that convinced me to link to it here.

Other favorites:
House and the Sheds
Dissolve in 10 minutes
Bert, don’t sleep yet

March 6, 2005

Nobody seems to think it all might happen again

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomemos @ 2:19 am

A high school student in Kentucky was arrested for “making terrorist threats,” or as the headline has it, “terroristic threatening.” (Do we really need that many conjugations for “terrorize”?) His terroristic threatening consisted of writing a short story about zombies overrunning a high school.

I’m so tired of this kind of thing that it’s almost not worth complaining about, but there are two things that caught my eye. The first is that the reason he was arrested is that his grandparents found his story and turned it in to the police. His grandparents. Nice going, gramps and granny. I’m sure the story was very scary. Probably some brains were eaten. But might it have been worth it to talk to him, or even to his parents, before bringing John Law in? Or maybe you should just not read his fershlugginer journal? What eighty-year-old wants to know what a sixteen-year-old is thinking?

The other thing that got me was this fantastic quote from the police detective handling the case. (They have a detective investigating a zombie story. An edgy city, Winchester, KY.) “Anytime [sic] you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it’s a felony in the state of Kentucky,” he said with a straight face. This is an officer of the law. This man has been issued a gun. “Matter involving a school or function”–a yearbook? A wedding invitation? Even when we pass over the easy jokes–let’s say that he meant a sinister matter–this is ridiculous. I agree that threats should be punished, but possession? What is that, “possession with the intent to scare”? Kids say unpleasant things sometimes; hell, sometimes I do too. Last year someone was annoying me so much that I told my friends I wanted to drown her. Getting this off my chest made me a calmer person, just like I’m sure writing the story down helped the kid relax about school. Getting arrested, charged with a felony, and made a notorious media figure probably had the opposite effect. We shouldn’t close off the alternatives to violence, especially when dealing with zombie violence.

People talk a lot of shit about political correctness, and in its extreme form PC is annoying. But this is exactly the same thing: people don’t want to be reminded that other people think unpleasant thoughts. And say what you want about the fascists who don’t want you calling women “girls,” none of them ever arrested you for it.

(Thanks to Ashfae for the link.)

* * *

Am very excited that my girlfriend has been accepted at Iowa. She does the lion’s share of awesome stuff in our relationship, which takes the pressure off me somewhat. Of course, I hold out hope that she’ll get into, and attend, Irvine (her first choice anyway, I’m not being a jerk or nothing), but if that doesn’t work going to the oldest and arguably the most prestigious MFA program in the country is not a bad consolation prize. And from my perspective, a Julie three hours away by air and reachable by phone is a far sight better than one on another continent. (Though they are both very nice.)

* * *

One of my professors hired me to help him move. Let me tell you, when you help a book collector move, you’re earning your money. There were boxes of books for every period of literature, in several languages, and on every topic–art, music, movies, taxidermy. (N/j/k.) And then there was a box labelled “Miscellaneous Books.” What book in the world didn’t fit any of the other categories?

March 5, 2005

Some of our best friends

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomemos @ 1:38 am

From a pamphlet that came with my electric bill: “Happy Lunar New Year! The Lunar New year was first introduced in the year 2600 B.C., and is celebrated by various Asian American communities in our service territory.”

Tell me that’s not the most sensitive goddamn thing you ever read.

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