February 2006


(Or so I keep telling myself. Will I eventually begin to believe this? Eventually, I’m sure…)

But this post isn’t about me. (Damn good thing. I’m so incredibly bored writing about myself, I can’t even tell you.) It’s about/for tazjia, who has one whole amazing unbelievable long-ass year of not smoking today! Hooray, Taz! Hope you’re having a fabulous (smoke-free) trip with no flight delays.

OK. Here’s the situation.

I finished all the edits and revisions I’d planned for the prospectus. I’m really not convinced that this version is better than the last one, but this one has the important advantage of including revisions suggested by my advisor, and I think that can only be helpful. So as far as I’m concerned, I am done editing this fucker.*

Except.

It’s still 2900 words too long.

Okay, see, every prospectus I’ve seen in my department has been about 30 pages. That seemed reasonable to me. Upon checking the “official” requirements, though, I learned that the maximum length allowed for a prospectus in my department is 2000 words. What the hell? I mean, my bibliography alone is 2000 words (and no, I’m not counting the bib in the word count. That was just, how you say, a hyperbolic rhetorical device). So I asked around, and asked some more, and learned that students in my department think 30 pages is the right length; administrators, however, say that people have been “going way over” the length limit recently, and it really should be 2000 words.

Except what happens when I look like a total slacker because every other prospectus the committee gets next month is three times as long? I’m assuming that won’t happen, hopefully, because my advisor–who’s also the guy in charge of all these things–is encouraging me to get it as close to 2000 words as possible.

Should I just tell him that 4900 is as close to 2000 as I can get?

Or, alternately: does anyone have any quick, easy ideas for how to cut that much while maintaining some kind of coherence?

*Unless, of course, any of the following occur: a) my advisor reads it again in a cranky mood and decides it’s Just All Wrong; b) the other faculty at the colloquium where I’ll present this (in 2 weeks) totally hate it and destroy my last shred of self-confidence; or c) it doesn’t pass the committee and I have to rewrite it. I am refusing to think about all of those possibilities right now.

Guy: We have to figure out a way to get rid of her bird.
Girl: I hate birds like that. They’re full of secrets and dust.
Guy: And lice and opinions.

–13th A

(From Overheard in New York.)

That’s all I’ve got for now.

I’m serious. I can’t look at this freaking prospectus any more. I’ve already been working on it looking at it for almost 8 hours today. I have completed many of the necessary edits. But I still have two (small) sections (let’s just call them “paragraphs”) that need to be rewritten and info added, and then I have to try to cut almost 3000 words.

And I’m just done. I can’t do it. I can’t go on.

I have a ton of other work that needs to get done this weekend (like the passive voice there?)–papers to grade, books to read, sections to prepare, a lecture to write, mountains of stinky laundry to do–and I don’t want to do one single piece of any of that, either.

Gospel Bob is meeting the Squirrel at a record store down by our old bar, and told me I should meet up with them around 6:00. Then Jason (which is SO NOT HIS NAME) called and suggested I meet him *at* our old bar, to wait for the Squirrel and GB to finish their record shopping and maybe try to coerce them to have a drink too.

It’s 5:30 pm. I’ve been staring at this prospectus for about four days straight.
It’s Still. Not. Done.

You know what? I’m going to the fucking bar.

…that I forgot to tell y’all.

Remember that whole getting-hitched thing that I have totally been minimizing, and telling people (e.g., family) that they don’t have to come out here, and it’s just City Hall, and it’s just not a big deal anyway?

Yeah, well, whatever with that. Change of plans, as of tonight: it’s going to be a camping wedding after all, and all y’all are invited.* Because what the hell is the point of a wedding without a party? Yippee!

*To the degree that this works out with our particular type of friendship and all, of course, since I don’t exactly mean to encourage crazy weird stalking…not that YOU would do that, but you know I’m a little paranoid, overall. I mean, if you’re a person who knows where I live (but NOT IN A STALKERY WAY, unless you just mean to be flattering, and not creepy, and then it’s okay too), then hey, you’ll be getting an invite. If you mostly hang out with me here, then we’ll do a little drunk blogging to party with you.

ETA: Dudes. Why did I feel like I needed to add that whole disclaimer there? Is that just a little bit insane? And why, then, did I come all the way back over here, go into “edit posts,” and–not delete the crazy disclaimer–but add this part, just in case you didn’t notice how insane the part above it is? I so have to go to bed….

I am So. Freaking. Tired. of revising this prospectus.

I know that it’s in the home stretch. But I’m at the really annoying point now of trying to simultaneously expand and shorten it–there are things I need to explain in more detail, and I *still* have to figure out how to cut about 3500 words.

And I am completely sick of it.
And I’m completely sick of talking about it.
And I’m pretty damn tired of hearing myself whine about it.

OK. But. In good news, my advisor’s happy with my IRB form (which I stayed up way too late working on), so off that goes. Yippee!

Holy moly. Somebody give me something else to talk about, already.

Turns out lucyrain wasn’t actually the very last person to do this meme…Taz hadn’t done it yet, either. Except that now, of course, she has, leaving only….me. And I was just thinking that my freaking-out-too-many-deadlines day is not very blogworthy…so here ya go. Consider it a placeholder, if you want. I’ll be back with something entertaining eventually.

Bold the one’s you’ve read, italicise the one’s you might read, cross out the one’s you won’t and underline the one’s on your book shelf. (and place parentheses around the one’s I’ve never even heard of) *and explain where I feel it’s necessary* (Those last two are Taz additions, I think, but I like them and I’m stealing them too.)

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown *I’m with taz here…I LOATHE Dan Brown and I hate this book. I hate the prose, the plot, and the hype. I’ve read about half of it–and I almost always finish books.*
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger *I keep giving this book away, and it keeps coming back to me…I think IB has it now*
(His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi – Yann Martel *”waste of time”? Are you kidding me? I *loved* this book. I’m a little embarrassed about that, but, well, it’s true.*
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story – George Orwell
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller *I’ve read pieces of this, but never the whole way through…*
The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen *I just don’t see this happening, at this point in my life…Or it’ll have to be WAY down the road*
1984 – George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hossein *actually, it’s not on my shelf–I read it on a plane and left it (on purpose) at GB’s mom’s*
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons – Dan Brown *hate, hate, hate Dan Brown.*
Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
(The Secret History – Donna Tartt)
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
(Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell)
The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
(Atonement – Ian McEwan)
(The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz)
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway *I missed that week in my reading group in 7th grade, and never felt like going back to it*
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Dune – Frank Herbert

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