That wasn't so bad. So Bank of America recently sent me some letter about a fee increase to my account which turned out to be the Rolls Royce of checking accounts, something I signed up for 10 years ago back when I had something called a real fucking job. Anyways, BOA was taking $20/month out of my checking account so it was time to give them a call. Almost 9 at night is a good time as their call centers close at 10pm and most people are getting kids ready for bed and all that. Oh yeah so also, they were taking $5 out of my Savings account each month starting recently and I needed that to stop. Turned out I qualify for a CampusEdge account for students which means no charge for 5 years, and by transferring $25 from my checking to savings each month, I don't pay the $5 fee on the Savings account either. They even refunded me that $20 charge. And the customer service guy was friendly and not a complete idiot! BOA and I can be friends again, especially since they have ATMs everywhere.


I derive a sick satisfaction from seeing former high school classmates on Facebook, especially those who crossed me or whom I otherwise found annoying, shallow, egotistical or ignorant which describes about 90% of them. My high school was in an (at the time) almost entirely white middle class suburb 40 min east of Vancouver. Things that crack me up:

- FB friends list comprised of, guess what, a bunch of people from high school and no one else except siblings in-law
- under fan pages, fans of the local pub 5 minutes from our high school
- nothing under education but high school
- nothing under employment but mommy or bar waitress or other hourly wage job
- status updates about babies and other people's babies and playdates
- photos of nothing but kids and babies
- photos of them bald, fat, or really fat, or really into female body building and tanning themselves silly/wrinkly and unnaturally dark brown
- still living in the same town, or worse, east or north of it in a SMALLER town

All I can say is I'm glad I've gotten the fuck out of there and had a life that didn't involve a marrying a high school sweetheart, having three kids by age 25 and moving deeper into the sticks.



Oh yeah I forgot to update you all on the assholes upstairs. Read entitlement for a refresh.

See I found out that the n-word spewing soccer-playing douchebag frat boys upstairs actually moved out. Yeah, so that means the fucking bitch who was ringing my doorbell a million times is the mother of the NEW FUCKING TENANT. This also means the party that was going on til 4am the other weekend was hosted by the new tenants. But their wireless network name which is called "[lastname]TakesAnal" has stayed the same so I am guessing that the previous soccer assholes just passed their apartment on to their younger asshole friends. Fantastic.

Oh and let me catch you up on what other thing happened with the new tenants before I went on my far-too-short vacation to Thailand. So sometimes I get a little ripped at home here by myself and forget to lock my door. Not a huge big deal since there is another door leading to outside that locks. Well one morning I woke up and I swear to the gods I thought I saw a ghost in my doorway. It doesn't help that I'm practically legally blind so anything more than a foot away is really blurry for me. In fact I just took off my glasses and realize I can't read my laptop screen which is less than a foot from my face. Fuck. Ok so anyways, I'm in my bed and there is a white girl standing there barefoot saying "Joanna? Where's Joanna?" And I grabbed my glasses to see wtf was going on thinking, holy fucking shit, I'm seeing a full apparition!

But no. This dumb bitch keeps saying, "where's Joanna" and I'm like, "who's Joanna? I'm pretty sure you're in the wrong apartment"

Idiot says "I'm so scared, where's Joanna and [we'll call him Klein since he's my neighbor]. I was with Klein and Joanna."

And I reply, "Are you drunk?" (thinking, you better be fucking drunk and have a fantastic drunk tale to tell, or you have no business in my apartment)

Dumb bitch says "No, I'm so scared, I'm so scared. Where am I?"

I gave her one last, I-dont-give-shit-that-you're-scared-get-the-fuck-out-of-my-house look and she walked out the door.

I heard her run into her friends outside and apparently she was sans shoes, sans cell phone and sans clue as to where the fuck she was.

So I listened through my paper thin walls to get the scoop.

Turns out Klein is my new upstairs neighbor and his gf invited this girl, her best friend, to come party with them. They all got wasted and the dumb bitch ended up drunk sleepwalking into my apartment and sleeping on my couch. Even as she was explaining the story to the guys upstairs she was too stupid to understand what happened. She kept saying "but someone put a blanket on me so I don't know how I got there. Someone must've put me there" The guys told her the blanket was probably just there and she must've just grabbed it. They were right. Then she kept explaining that I looked really pissed and the guys said, "uh yeah, you were in her fucking apartment." At least they're a wee bit smarter than she is. Oh and of course she omitted the "I'm so scared" part of the story and played up the "she looked really pissed" part.

One day I'd like to live in a place that has a washer dryer and tenants over 21 whose guests don't end up passed out on my couch. Is that too much to ask?


So I can admit I've become twitter obsessed, but I twitter as myself, like my real name, which I hope doesn't bring up this blog when googled.

I wonder if I shouldn't just start a Twitter for FumblingThroughLife so I can more quickly put my misery into pixels for all to enjoy. Hmmm.


I'm not going to state the obvious by commenting on the last time I blogged. This isn't a fucking confessional. Anyways, I saw a bumper sticker today that said "liberals treat dogs like humans. conservatives treat humans like dogs." Awesome.

So despite the fact that I'm still working on my prospectus, I'm going on the market. Sort of. I'm putting one application out there for a school in the midwest. Yeah, not really where I want to be but let's face it. Faculty jobs are few and far between and if I can't get my ass into gear and either graduate on time or find another year of funding, I'm going to be paying international student tuition for my dissertation credits by Jan 2011. That's not going to be pretty. My waiver says that my 10 credits cost $7700 per quarter. I'd have to find a full time job to live on and to pay for the credits. I hate having a stressful unstable life. Hate it. Sometimes I wish I had a 9-5 job, husband, 2.5 kids and a dog. Actually the one part of that equation that is truly within my control is the 9-5 job part. The rest still requires luck and timing. Fuck my life man.

At least I'm heading out of town this week to a place sunnier than the northwest.



So I've written many posts about the fucking asshole fratty white boy soccer player rejects who live upstairs from me. Apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree because the mother of one of them is a crazy raging bitch who thinks I fucking owe her something. Can you say entitlement? I was putting some groceries away when I heard a woman at the door (main entrance to my part of the building) yelling some sort of lame nickname like Monty or something. I could hear her pretty well because she was right outside my bathroom window. I ignored her because it's not the first time someone stood outside and yelled for my douchebag neighbor to let them in. It's also not the first time someone has rung my doorbell REPEATEDLY trying to reach upstairs. After several minutes of this bitch yelling outside, she decided to take a new strategy, ringing MY DOORBELL at a rate of about a million times a minute. I thought, like the others, she got the wrong doorbell so I stepped out my door and it went like this:

Me: You need to stop ringing this doorbell, you've got the wrong apartment. I live here, you want someone else. Stop ringing my doorbell.
Bitch: I'm trying to reach my son, he lives upstairs, I'm his mother.
Me: Why are you ringing MY doorbell. What do you want?
Bitch: I've been driving since 9 this morning and I'm here to find my son [as if I'm his fucking secretary and I should give a shit, what the fuck?]. Can't you let me in so I can knock on his door?

So I let her in to go upstairs and pound on his door.

What does she say to me?

Bitch: [with snarky bitch voice] Well you probably should've let me in the first time I rang.

Oh my fucking god did that piss me off. The correct response should have been, "thank you, sorry I rang your doorbell for like a minute straight. I'm just mad at my son."

But no, this fucking cunt makes it sound like I'm in the wrong for not opening the door for her when she's screeching at the top of her lungs, banging on the door, and deliberately ringing my doorbell to enter the building. I wonder if she would've talked down to me like that if I were a white man in my 50s...or a white women in her late 40s like her, huh huh? I doubt it. I hope she falls off a cliff and dies.

I have another neighbor story but I'll hammer that one out another time.



http://thereifixedit.com/ This has got to be the funniest shit I've read in a long time. Funnier than awkwardfamilyphotos.com. About as good as failblog.org.

And undoubtedly all of them are funniest when they're for real, not set up for the purpose of sending something they think will be funny on the site.


Plane crash in Ko Samui. I'm going to feel awesome about flying that same airline to that same airport.



K's building no longer allows UPS to leave packages since there have been thefts. Fuck. So now we have to play tag with UPS. Today I waited until 5pm for a package. Awesome waste of my time, especially since I had planned to be working at a coffee shop where I usually get more done. Unless you're unemployed or work at home, who the hell is ever home to sign for a package??? And if you are unemployed, chances are you have no money to be shopping online. People no longer have housewives who sit at home doing nothing because we all need to work to eat these days.

What's more awesome is I'm not allowed to have packages shipped to "work" because the admins will not have it. There needs to be a new way to get packages. This is just too annoying.



Flight is booked, hotel for the first few nights in Bangkok booked ($45 a night for a nice 4-star includes breakfast and taxes). Probably going to hit Chiang Mai as a next stop and then one of the islands for some beach hut laziness. Which island should I go to? Suggestions? Kinda picking between Phuket and Koh Chang (thanks Robyn!) but open to others...



I just attempted to fix a long unproductive somewhat miserable day by blowing a hundred bucks on vacation clothes for my upcoming trip to Thailand. But I got lots of stuff for that hundred bucks: 2 bikinis ($12 and $16), a yoga wrap cover up ($17), shorts ($5), pair of (Kids' size) Teva sandals ($35), breathable Teva hat ($9). The last two things from REI Outlet online and the other stuff from Old Navy (all stuff on sale). I'd say that's a good deal. I quite enjoy finding good deals. Doesn't fix the fact that I wasted my whole day doing nothing but being miserable but it helps.



This was the year I was going to make up for a lifetime of missed opportunities to travel overseas with friends and now it looks like it's not going to happen because of conflicting schedules and travel itineraries. After this all my friends will be having kids, either their first, or even their second. And then there's me, the one with no stability, no control over my future, not even any rights in the country I have called home for 9 years. Add to that the 6 years of that I totally wasted with a loser who cheated on me with the office slut (who was also married with kid at the time). Ugh. Fuck my life to hell. I want those years back. 



Went for a run. It felt shitty and not fun. What the hell is runner's high? Whoever coined that term clearly has never actually been high. I nearly twisted my ankle again thanks to these piles of broken up concrete that they call sidewalks in Seattle. Seattle also features long stretches of potholes that they call roads, and this crumbling piece of shit that is going to fall down and kill everyone any moment now called the Alaskan Way viaduct. But hey we have light rail now to the airport....actually no. That is delayed til December this year. But you can take a shuttle bus from that last stop to the airport. That sounds really convenient when you are carrying luggage. Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually runs this city.



As in I suck at blogging these past few (more like 12-18) months. I think ever since I started twittering, I haven't needed the daily catharsis that blogging offered me. So I bitch and complain in 140 characters instead of 500 words or so each day. But I do miss the long winded bitching that I used to do here. I think I need to come back more often, maybe instead of playing Pet Society and Packrat on Facebook every fucking day.

So anyways, it's fucking cold outside and it's mid-July. Fuck Seattle. At least when it's raining or cold in Vancouver, you can go out and make yourself feel better by eating your weight in izakaya or smoking some BC bud. No recourse here. And Seattlites drive stupid slow to make things even more miserable and frustrating.

Anyways I was up in Vancouver a couple weeks ago and it was awesome. I had dim sum, brisket curry, johnny cakes at the Reefs Caribbean restaurant, izakaya, sushi, barbeque, and I can't remember what else but it was a lot and it was delicious. I miss eating in Vancouver. Also did a nice hike up the Baden Powell trail in Deep Cove to Quarry Rock. Totally fun even though it got pretty hot up there. Spent an afternoon out at Jericho beach too. I miss nice, accessible, big, beautiful beaches. The host's family is a seafood distributor so there were gigantic prawns on the gigantic BBQ that he brought in on a pick up truck. So yummy.

Wow I've forgotten what it's like to type more than 140 characters. I'm tired.



Fuck my life. Name of a popular blog that isn't mine but should be. In fact it should just be full of tales from my life and my life only because I have plenty. I recently moved back to my department at school after taking a year's leave and working for another department that isn't full of angry old white people who still haven't figured out the value of women of color in academia. It was such a nice break.

However, the office across the pond sucked because it was in the campus "riot proof" building built in the 1960s to house the administration so that people couldn't storm the offices. Riot proof means it's impossible not to get lost in there. The offices are not numbered sequentially and the building has sections that you can shut down and also an elevator that doesn't actually work. It was also kinda dirty and the conference room doubled as a "kitchen" (ie microwave and mini fridge, no sink). So yeah, humanities folks are housed in there along with other marginalized fields of study in academia, with the exception of math and statistics which got a nice shiny renovated floor. Anyways I moved all my shit to my new office in my home department and thought, finally, I get an office with a window and non annoying office mates and everything. Then the IT chick barged in today with some old prof. Like she fucking unlocked the door and let herself in. I was holed in there working on my syllabus for summer. No excuse me, or hello or anything but she sure talked to the prof in a sugar sweet voice. They were talking about furniture and shelves and this and that but I wasn't listening. IT bitch then says to me, did you know you're moving out of this office? and I say, uh no, I just moved in and the admins just gave me the key last week. She says, well they know, they've known for 2 weeks that the office is going to be occupied by faculty. Well fuck me twice. Clearly if they gave me the key and told me to move in, they don't know and I don't give a shit if they do or not. So yeah I'm getting kicked out of the office I just moved into and I didn't even know until bitch barged in and held a fucking open house in there while I was trying to work. I should note that we used to have some super cool IT people but they quit. Not surprising.

Anyways, I decided I had to get the fuck out of there because the whole building gives me bad vibes. Went to the library to pick up my books and realized they just started closing early for the week because it's semester break. Awesome, no books. Decided to blow off some steam by browsing some books at the bookstore. That was nice til I went out to catch my bus. I saw it there at the red light. Light turned green and bam, it lurches forward twice and stops. Driver turns off the display and kicks off the passengers. I should mention this bookended a day that started with me missing my bus on the way TO school.



I had a surprisingly eventful weekend. Went for happy hour Friday with a colleague from out of town. Had some great nachos and beer there. Went to the Folk Life Festival here on Saturday, out with friends Saturday night for Tamarind Tree and the Hideout bar afterward, a wedding Sunday and did some grilling at a friend's house today. On top of that, finished all my grading and assignment development for the class I TA.



Ever since it started warming up here, I've been trying to get back into running, mostly because it's free, doesn't require going someplace special, and can be done anytime. I need that kinda flexibility to get off my fat ass. I've worked up to doing 4 miles and getting home with energy to spare, so I'm going to try to get to 6 miles, and maybe work up to a half marathon, maybe.

The coolest thing about running in Seattle (okay, maybe the only cool thing since a fair weather runner like me doesn't get much fair weather here) is that one of our local Seattle Celebs, John Curley, former host of Evening Magazine for years and years and years is a triathlete. So he gives money to charities if you register to Beat John Curley and succeed. I don't think I ever will but what an awesome (and charitable) idea.

I'm thinking of doing the Furry 5K because I love the idea of running among dogs and it's money for the animal shelter.



Today I went to Green Lake and counted 21 turtles sun bathing on the logs and 12 tiny baby ducklings, 5 for one mom, 7 for the other, and many many many dogs. Yay, that made me happy!

This here is a story about a big squirrel helping a little squirrel and it is awesome. I love it when mother nature gives us opportunities like this to stop, forget about all the shitty things going on in our lives, and pay attention to her for just a moment.



I know that as with any major event, there needs to be a period of rest and recovery before you get yourself back on track. I defended my exams March 31 so we're coming up on 6 weeks now and I still feel like I'm functioning at only about 70% of my intellectual capacity which wasn't a whole lot to begin with since I mostly want to just sleep and eat carbs lately. Fuck. I have a finite amount of time before my funding expires. No funding means no tuition waiver which means I'd have to pay for taking credits while working on my diss if I can't finish it before my funding runs out. I hate that my money and citizenship/visa issues are all tangled up like this. It makes planning really difficult and leaves me none of the flexibility that permanent residents and citizens have like getting an off-campus job or taking a leave of absence or taking a little longer to finish.

Ah well, day at a time. I had a small success today in that I hooked up my digital converter to my new antenna and it worked like a charm. Cool. Now I have a handful of channels instead of just one fuzzy one.



It rained again today. Isn't it May? WTF? And when it rains, for some reason, the bus always runs late and then I end up both wet and late which is always an awesome way to start a morning.

Knowing full well that I don't deal well with bad weather - I get in bad funks and just want to eat carbs and cheese, and stay in bed - I'm not sure that living in the pacific northwest/western Canada is going to be a good long term plan. I can't waste 8 months out of 12 (2/3 of my life) being miserable. Something is not right with that. Man, I have a lot of requirements for where to live - weather, good Asian food, other Asian Americans, diversity in general, left leaning politics, mountains, water, good healthcare and education. I think this is a mystical place in fact. It's a combination of California's climate and Canada's government.

Meh, it's nothing I really have the luxury of thinking about anyways. I'm here til Decemer 2010 when my funding runs out. Then it'll be up to the gods. For now, teach, publish, and dissertate til I get this degree.

The process of exam preparation at least taught me some things I didn't expect to learn:
  • taking baths is relaxing and worth the work of scrubbing the ring around the tub left by bath bombs and oils
  • the first half of a book review is often a great summary of the book
  • writing happens faster when you don't agonize over every syllable as I usually do
  • pre-cooking a ton of food and putting it in single serve packets in the freezer is a great way to save time and eat better
  • this is an extreme test of your ability to manage your time, and more visibly, your ability to handle stress, so it's interesting to see how people deal with it
  • it's easier to get work done if you schedule yourself to be somewhere so that your day isn't so shapeless
  • at this point in our education, advisers with fragile egos can actually feel threatened by our knowledge, intelligence, and potential future contributions to the field, and the results can be nasty (learned from a friend. no one feels threatened by me, that's for damn sure)
  • academia is full of self-centered passive aggressive people with frail egos and poor social, interpersonal, and organizational skills (not on my committee but this is a frequently recurring theme I've noticed)
  • fatigue feels like it can be cumulative; I'm still tired


no shows

Today marks the middle of week 5 (of 10) at school. The class I TA had their midterm today and two of my students didn't know which TA to hand in their exam to because, well, they haven't even shown up to one discussion section. In other words, they have no fucking clue who their TA is because they skipped the first 5 weeks of class. Better yet, one of my persistent no show students also didn't show up for the exam. I wonder if she actually plans to pass this class (not possible at this point). I wish we could hand pick students like this and kick 'em out to make room for students who give a shit and can't afford to just register for courses they have no intention of passing.



After a long hiatus I'm back. During my absence I completed my written exams, which I've blogged about and then 2 weeks later I endured my hazing which is a 1.5 hour oral defense of essentially everything I ought to know about my area of research as negotiated with my committee of four people before all this started and I passed! So now I get to replace the M.A. after my name with Ph.C. which means Ph.D candidate. I get the D after I write my dissertation which is looking like it's going to be over 200 pages and about 6-7 chapters long.

People unfamiliar with academia often ask the same questions so here's an FAQ:

1. So are you a doctor now?

No, not til I finish writing my dissertation AND survive an oral defense of my arguments. Probably another 1-2 hour grilling by my committee and possible others. I know at SFU dissertation defenses were public events. Luckily I don't think they do that at my school. So not until I finish and defend my dissertation do I earn my D.

2. When do you graduate?

It's more a matter of completing a project than a matter of time. I graduate when I finish writing my dissertation and pass my oral defense. The more scary question is when does my funding dry up. For me, December 2010. So if I'm not done by then I need to either find an assistantship (research assistant or teaching assistant or other teaching job) at my school to get the tuition waiver, or I'll have to pay tuition out of my own pocket to cover my dissertation credits while I finish up. Either way, not finishing on time will fucking suck the big one and really stress me out.

3. What classes are you taking?

I finished my coursework last year so when I say I'm in class, I'm either in a class that I'm auditing for fun (because it wasn't offered when I was taking classes) or I'm in an undergrad lecture for the course I TA (teach).

4. If you aren't taking classes, what the hell do you do all day?

I TA two hours a week, hold office hours a couple hours a week (when my students come with questions or help or whatever), and attend lecture for the class I TA 4 hours a week. Aside from teaching related stuff and attending talks from visiting scholars (pretty much an expectation for us), I'm not at school at all.

Instead I'm usually at a coffee shop or at home writing my prospectus, which is a 15-20 page detailed plan of what my dissertation is about. At the same time I'm trying to revise and edit old papers and submit them to academic journals for publication because that's kind of the academic scorecard at research universities like mine. Publish or perish (or teach a huge load at a community college).

And the other big thing we need to do continuously is present papers at conferences. So between teaching, trying to publish, attending conferences, and working on my prospectus, I haven't got a lot of spare time on my hands. Which is why when I was prepping for exams I had absolutely NO time on my hands. Essentially I had to do all that stuff PLUS read 2-3 books and articles a day for about 4 months. Now I'm back to a more normal and humane schedule. Thanks the gods for that.


So yeah, it's been 3 weeks since I passed my orals and advanced to candidacy so I've been resting, catching up on sleep and exercise, and I also just came back from a conference in New Orleans. Now I'm already behind on getting my prospectus done. It's kinda like running on a treadmill on level 10, constantly.



So I said I would blog about what these exams are about. I don't have time to get into a lot of detail but basically it's this:

  • 3.5 days to to write 4 essays (15 pages each, for a total of 60 pages)
  • one essay typically deals with primary methodology we use in our research (mine is on cultural studies)
  • the other three essays are topical (e.g. Asian American pop culture, development of Asian American studies as a discipline etc.)
  • each essay should demonstrate our knowledge gained from doing a list of readings for each essay -- about 20-30 readings (mix of books and journal articles)
And here is my preparation schedule to date

April 2008 (early April): my first draft of reading lists sent to committee members to edit and add readings
Summer 2008: did a few readings after teaching A-term (2? credits); continued negotiating and refining the list with committee members
Fall 2008: took 10 credits of reading; continued negotiating and refining the list with committee members
Dec 2008 to Jan 2009: focused on getting through all the Cultural Studies methods readings
Sep to Dec 2008: took 10 credits of reading, 5 for each of 2 committee members (meetings with each every 2 weeks to discuss and review my understanding of the readings and how they are situated in the larger scholarly conversation)
Mid Feb: finalized a date for exams, booked meeting room for orals with admin
Feb 28: Completed 90% of all readings (5 books and 20 articles remaining), Completed final meetings with all committee members; got form signed and returned
March 1:
TO DO: Finish key readings e.g. Lowe, O&W, Wei, Almaguer; review Cultural Studies Theory/ist summaries online ; outline arguments by scholar and by concept for each exam question area, prewrite some arguments, read remaining low-priority readings only as needed in the pre-writes
March 15: rest and spa day??
March 13-16: written exams
March 17-21: grading of final papers for teaching responsibilities
March 22-28: staycation/mini vacation
March 29: review my exam essays
March 31: oral defense



Been pretty much camped out at this coffee shop 4-5 days a week, 3-8 hours per day the last month or two with my friends who are also preparing for exams. Usually pretty uneventful. We have gotten to know the musical tastes of the barristas and who makes a better coffee. We even know when they are scheduled to work. Definitely recognize all the regulars. There are a couple women sitting behind me right now though, who are really pissing me off. One of them has her chair all backed up against mine and they won't shut the fuck up. Here an IM dialog between me and R I thought you might find entertaining:

(2:57:29 PM) me: i am going to strangle these bitches
(2:59:32 PM) R: I know they are SOOO LOUD
(2:59:36 PM) R: and the laugh!
(2:59:44 PM) me: what theyre laughing at isnt even funny
(2:59:51 PM) me: if i could laugh too i wouldnt mind so much
(3:09:55 PM) me: why is this bitch all the way up my ass like this
(3:10:01 PM) me: there is like 5' of space on the other side of the table
(3:10:23 PM) R: they were trying to get out of the sun
(3:10:34 PM) R: I don't think you're important enough to worry about
(3:10:40 PM) R: cuz, its all about them!
(3:10:50 PM) me: i should get your full spectrum light and shine it at them
(3:11:50 PM) R: the girl behind you just turned around and gave me a dirty look for talking
(3:11:55 PM) R: I guess Im bothering her
(3:11:58 PM) me: BITCH
(3:12:02 PM) me: shit is going down



I have come to realize that regular people really have no idea what the fuck grad students do. I'm going to do all grad students a favour and tell you all because there seems to be some mistaken idea that we just take courses and assist with teaching here and there and so we have all this free time to travel and fuck around. Wrong. So very wrong. Unfortunately I need to finish reading an article and half a novel (for the lit class I TA) tonight so I can't go into detail but I'll at least share what I did today. BTW, I should note that I have a particularly understanding partner who almost remembers my schedule for each day and recognizes my hell. Those of you who don't will have to send their partners a link to this blog as I edumacate y'all.

- checked my email to see if my paper got into this conference that I really need to go to or people on future hiring committees are going to wonder why I didn't
- there was no such email but I did respond to an email to say that I would be a reviewer of a manuscript for a journal even though I totally do not have time for this but need the experience and it will look good on my vitae (aka CV aka resume for academics)
- then I went to campus and held my 2-hour office hours which is when undergrads in the class I teach are welcome to drop in to ask questions, get help or in this case review a draft of a paper
- this was followed by a 2-hour lecture where we watched a film based on the novel the class just read (there are 5 novels, which means I have to have read them all before the students do)
- 2 hours is precious so I worked on reading the next novel while watching the film
- after lecture was our 1 hour weekly TA meeting where the 3 teaching assistants meet with the prof to discuss what we plan to teach in discussion section friday (which we run independently, 50 students to each TA). We also talked about deadlines for grading their 50 midterm papers due in a couple weeks
- took a bus home, went to a 75 minute yoga class, ate dinner, and now I have to read an article that is on my exam reading list and finish that novel before bed.

So that is a detailed day in the life of a grad student. Note, there is no room for much media consumption on this schedule. Sometimes I turn on the TV to catch the evening news while I cook dinner and eat, but after that, no TV.

Tomorrow I have no obligations on campus so I meet with friends at a coffee shop to read and take notes for our general exams. Last week we scoffed at the grad students at the next table complaining about having to read a book a day. Pssssht. We need to read MORE THAN a book a day to get through our reading lists which are comprised of about 25-30 readings per list (4 lists on 4 different topics so about 120 readings). List is a mix of journal articles (20 pages) and full books. Tomorrow I'm hoping to knock out two books on my list.

Next time I'll talk more about these gang initiations/hazings, I mean general PhD exams.


I got a new phone and switched over to Sprint so I could pay $10 more for a lot more functionality -- commercial free streaming radio, Sprint TV, and mobile internet access. Unfortunately that also means getting really fucking annoying calls from some some company in Atlanta that I don't pick up. If you get weird calls, google the number and you'll probably find out it's some "marketing" agency wanting to ask why you switched or whatever. That or the call about your car's factory warrantee running out. I hate those.

I haven't had a chance to figure out all the things that I can do on the phone but I do know I can watch clips and deleted scenes from Ghost Hunters. Awesome (especially since I don't have cable).



I really hate scheduling shit. I would hate my job so much if I were a personal assistant or executive assistant or secretary or something. I'm in general exam oral defense scheduling hell right now. Everything is on hold because of some classroom scheduling issues for my co-advisor so we have to wait on that until I can settle a defense date which will enable me to figure out my written exam dates, which means I'll finally be able to use the cool countdown feature on my new Samsung 520 phone, or what I call iPhone for poor folks with its WAP browser and inability to synch with anything meaningful on my laptop. Anyways, blogging is light because I have been doing nothing but reading and notetaking in EndNote. I have been doing some cathartic writing though on Yelp. Look for me by my first and last name, if you know it.

Anyways, it was funny. I just met K's "twin" downstairs at the coffee shop. He's a white guy but has the same name, is also into lindy hop, lives in the same building, and has a gf doing a Ph.D.


hang up

I logged on to the Sprint web site to activate my new phone today. Obviously they have some kinks to work out in their activation system as my online agent's (Matthew) instructions to make a test call (which I made to K) got routed to another customer service rep at Sprint who told me she was doing a "welcome call."

So I had one agent on the phone and one on my live chat. Matthew, my online agent, kept telling me to hang up on the lady on the phone but she was...talking. He insisted it was ok but it was all a little weird chatting to someone telling me to hang up on the lady from Sprint who was talking to me over the phone in real time.

Here's how it went down on the chat. Kinda funny:

5:11:59 PM Customer Me
making test call
5:12:08 PM Agent Matthew L
5:12:18 PM Customer Me
it put me thru to sprint
5:13:03 PM Agent Matthew L
5:13:03 PM Agent Matthew L
One moment please.
5:13:48 PM Customer Me
she's doing a welcome call? wtf
5:14:20 PM Customer Me
now she says she is doing my activation. this is confusing
5:14:54 PM Agent Matthew L
That is not supposed to happen. You can hangup from the representative.
5:15:06 PM Customer Me
she's talking...
5:15:54 PM Customer Me
she's telling me about billing cycles
5:16:02 PM Customer Me
and reading me fine print
5:16:09 PM Agent Matthew L
Ok, but if the steps went through then it is working.
5:16:28 PM Customer Me
i guess i should sit thru her call?
5:16:41 PM Customer Me
like will i have to jump thru this hoop anyways?
5:16:44 PM Agent Matthew L
5:17:01 PM Customer Me
oh i feel bad...
5:17:04 PM Customer Me
is she in sales?
5:17:14 PM Agent Matthew L
You can hangup, if it got thru to sprint then it works.
5:17:23 PM Customer Me
gotcha. thanks so much
5:17:30 PM Agent Matthew L
Your Welcome
5:17:35 PM Agent Matthew L
It is my job to ensure that I have fully resolved the issues that prompted you to chat with me. Have I resolved all of your issues today?
5:17:42 PM Customer Me
yup thanks
5:17:50 PM Agent Matthew L
It has been my pleasure assisting you today !!



Grad students "always and never have the day off." That's what one of my friends said today about today being MLK day. She was right because the coffee shop where we meet to study along with a couple other women in my cohort was packed all day today. Yup I spent my "day of service" reading for exams for 9 hours and everyone around us seemed to be studying diligently with their big huge calculators and big huge law and physiology and engineering textbooks. It's going to be like this until April 3rd or so when I complete the oral defence for my general exams.



It feels like we get notifications of "criminal incident" at least on a monthly basis if not more often. Mostly strong arm robberies, which is pretty scary. This one though is just creepy.

Timely Warning Notification of a Criminal Incident

Indecent Liberties - Seattle Campus

The UW Police Department is investigating a reported case of indecent liberties that occurred on January 9, 2009 at 8:30 a.m. in a men's restroom in Odegaard Library. A male victim entered the 3rd floor restroom and noticed the male suspect loitering by the sinks. The suspect started a conversation with the victim describing his own height and weight, and asked the victim how tall he was and how much he weighed. He asked several flirtatious questions while approaching the victim. The victim attempted to leave the area, but the suspect would not move. The suspect again asked the victim how much he weighed, said "let me check," and grabbed the victim in several places. The victim stated that someone entered the restroom, which allowed him to escape. The victim was not injured in the encounter.

The suspect is described as a tall male with a dark complexion, approximately 6'3", with very short hair in a "buzz" cut. He spoke with a strong accent, origin unknown. He was also reportedly carrying a small black 8" toiletry bag.
Now I'm all for not racializing people since race as a biological concept does not exist, but when it comes to practical matters like describing a fucking suspect so we can catch the guy, I think we need to be more specific than "dark complexion." I mean what the fuck does that mean? Even if they are socially defined, I think "races" (the quotation marks are deliberate and used correctly) at least allow us to use popular ideas of what people might look like because, duh, it is visible. Do we often guess people's race incorrectly? Yup, for sure. But dark complexion tells me nothing. But black or Asian or Latino gives me at least somewhat of a better idea of what this guy looks like.



I got back from my two weeks in Vancouver (okay, actually Coquitlam, or what I call Shitquitlam, this shitty suburb of Vancouver where I grew up and my parents still live). I spent the first week totally snowed in. I'm talking over a foot of snow that I'd shovel only to have it come back the next day when my back was still sore from shoveling. So I gave up, hunkered down, and caught up on some reading for school. Apparently the BC south coast hasn't seen this much snow since 1971 which means it's the most snow my area has seen in my lifetime. It was pretty and all that but the novelty wore off quickly. Once the snow let up a little it was time to see friends for our favourite activity, eating. Just wanted to sum up for people in/visiting Vancouver the places we went to and the highlights (and a few lowlights):

Deer Garden. This place has the best curry brisket in the world, better than the famous Mui Garden curry. My parents get take out from here every time I visit.

Hon's Wonton House. We stopped at the New Westminster branch for some lunch and I got duck noodle soup (my favourite noodle order) for $4.35 with big huge pieces of duck. Delicous.

Rich Ocean. This place on West Broadway has awesome and cheap (before noon) dim sum. We ate until we were stuffed and even got dessert and it came out to barely over $25 for 4 people. Really awesome food. Can't wait to go back.

North Garden
. This is where the old Lone Star Cafe and before that Fuddruckers were located. The beef and gai lan was a bit tasteless, but you have to go there for the peking duck. It is amazing. I haven't had Peking duck that good in a long time. $28 for two dishes -- the duck skin with wrap and duck meat with lettuce wrap. The hot and sour soup is particularly spicey but K liked it a lot. If you like your soup spicey, definitely try it.

Kingyo Izakaya
. K and I walked down to Denmen from Robson to check this place out. Guu is still our favourite, but this place was excellent. Get the sashimi salad and tuna tataki. Oh and the black cod and also the crab croquette.

Rodney's Oyster House. Went here with some friends. Usually we try for the happy hour when oysters are a buck each but we came for dinner instead. It was delicious but pricey ($3.50 an oyster) so I'd stick to happy hour.

New York Fries. Kind of odd to go to a Canadian fast food place called NY Fries to get poutine but they make it well there and K was craving some so we did. Yum.

Blenz. This is kinda the Canadian Starbucks. Ubiquitous chain coffee shop, but the coffee is better than Starbucks. Definitely try the Belgian dark chocolate mocha. It was fantastic.

Ki Hon Sushi. We got a nice take out sushi party platter for 5-6 people for only $36 here. And that includes 15 pieces of nigiri and a whole bunch of rolls. Will definitely be back for my next take out order. Tekka rolls are only $2 and the other stuff is just as cheap and it's pretty good for a little tiny take out place. Definitely the cheapest party platters around.

Miki Sushi. I was just looking for a mutual location to meet up with friends the first night I got in before the forecasted snow storm. This place sucked hard. It had the decor of a 1960s mental institution including the pukey green wall color and shit generally falling apart. The fish roe sushi looked like food poisoning wrapped in seaweed so we didn't eat it (and they didn't take it off the bill). It was generally bad, dark, drafty, cold, and bad bad bad.

Finally, Taiwan Beef Noodle House. I didn't eat there because I was way too hungover from new years, but my friends had lunch there new years day and got food poisoning so I'm okay with never going there.

So I think I met my Chinese and Japanese food quota (as much as possible) while in Vancouver despite the snowy roads. Now I'm back in Seattle where happy hour rules but Asian food...not so much.