Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama Drama: One Tiny Complaint

Conclusion: Great speech. If I wasn't watching the next President of the United States, it certainly felt like it.

Pros: Love all the shout-outs to the single working moms in the world. If they ran this country, some shit would definitely be getting taken care of in a hurry.

Con: The back-handed attempt to concede some sort of quasi-liberal position toward same-sex couples. After claiming the certain ability to find a middle-ground on guns (between defending the 2nd Amendment and keeping AK-47s off the streets) and other issues, he then went on to allow that, surely, same-sex couples can have the right visit their loved ones in the hospital.

Gee thanks...I understand that he couldn't stick his neck out too far given the time, event, etc. But, if this was the best he could offer in the moment, I think he would've been better off not saying anything with regard to same-sex issues. It just felt so condescending, but even that isn't exactly the right word.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Uh, no!?

...this is my response to Mary Poovey's claim that "it was generally possible to become a professional Literary writer--a writer who made aliving by publishing imaginative writing of various kinds--only at the end of the nineteenth century" (Genres of the Credit Economy 27).

I'm sorry...but did someone miss an entire century of 18th-c. novelists (not to mention the professional women writers prior to Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, etc.)?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When Your Kids Are Worthless...

you'd better hope you don't have Alzheimers.

I just filed a report of elderly abuse and neglect on behalf of my last remaining grandparent, my grandmother in Hometown. Widowed almost 20 years ago, completely abandoned by two of her children, emotionally, physically, and/or financially neglected by the other three, she is unsafe in her own home (to which she doesn't even have a key).

During our visit to Hometown this weekend, Hubby, the girls, and I visited her house, and I was devastated by what I found: a woman wasting away, alone, and in complete denial of her condition. We smelled something burning and eventually found a coffee pot still plugged in and starting to smoke. I noticed the feces-stained panties crumpled in a corner of the living room. I checked the refrigerator and freezer only to see that they were virtually empty.

When she explained a picture of her grandmother to Hannah, she mentioned that her mother lives in such and such town. Her mother died almost 10 years ago. She'd forgotten that I had a second child. She repeated the same story - word for word - three times within the space of 5-7 minutes. The story was about her sister, Edith, who has been spreading lies about her, telling everyone at the nutrition center that she has Alzheimers (which, of course, she emphatically denies).

I went to the store Saturday evening and bought $200 worth of groceries and supplies for the house, took them over on Sunday morning and unloaded them for her. I also took sticky notes and wrote messages to post as reminders (i.e. "Remember to turn off" on the coffee pot). When I noticed her trash can (which didn't have a liner or bag inside) was full and started to empty it, I soon started gagging on what was either raw shit or dead something in the can. I washed the can with liquid dishwashing soap, but there was no bleach to be found. I explained to her that I'd gotten her some trash bags and she should use those now, which she seemed to think it was a great idea....I have little hope that she'll remember, despite me leaving the bags on the counter.

There's a lot more to the story, which goes all the way back to all but one of her children turning out to be completely worthless human beings. At this point, I can't sit back and do nothing, but my hands are tied as to how much I can do. I have no power of attorney or legal standing. Who does? My father...yeah, that one. He sits back and sends money to my aunt, which she's supposed to use to buy groceries for my grandmother. Yeah, doesn't happen...This would be the same aunt who let me smoke pot at 12 years old. The same aunt who was previously married to a man convicted of shooting a sheriff's deputy.

I'm just sad, pissed, extremely frustrated, and feeling horribly guilty. My heart is breaking for the woman who let me play with her makeup and eat chocolate ice cream 24 hours a day. She was always my favorite grandmother; she even watched Hannah one day a week when I went back to work after Hannah was born. Nobody deserves to be neglected like this, and I'm pissed that I can't change the situation. I feel guilty for choosing a career path that will very likely forever prevent me from closely caring for aging family members. In the same way that parents are held accountable for the safety and well being of their children, I think grown, capable adults should be responsible - to some extent - for the well being and care of parents who are mentally or physically incapacitated. I don't know what to expect from Adult Protective Services, but I'm afraid they won't be able to help until she's literally running around the middle of a highway or something. Until I hear more from them, however, I'm in a holding pattern, seeking information about resources and advice for handling Alzheimers patients in denial.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This Just In: Graduate Students Don't Have Money Trees

In the very slim chance that any of the Powers That Be might come across this entry, I merely wanted to point out a very important fact:

Graduate students who front the money for conference and research trips (especially international trips) deserve to be reimbursed in a timely manner.

If a student returns and submits all receipts and paperwork promptly, then everything that can be done to ensure a quick reimbursement should be done, especially in the summer months when many graduate students have little or no funding from their home departments, little (if any) financial aid, and little time to waste on a part-time, minimum-wage job that would take them away from both their families (i.e. children) and their dissertations.

In addition, knowing they will be reimbursed quickly might actually serve as an incentive to those considering conference and research travel but aren't sure if they can afford to go two months without reimbursement once they return.

Seriously people, I need the $2000 I spent in England to be reimbursed, like, yesterday!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Clearly, I'm Stupid I have to stop every 5 pages or so and look up the "big words" (numismatic, epiphenomenon, anomie) that the author of Secondary Literary Criticism uses in her book. Doing so simultaneously interrupts the flow of my reading and makes me feel like a moron who doesn't deserve a job in academia. And it's not like I'm reading theory...ugh...stupid big words!

No Soliciting?

Just something I'm curious about....Do people solicit academic employment? By solicit, I mean the following scenario: no position is advertised (or necessarily open), yet a job candidate forwards a dossier to a school in the hopes that he/she might be considered "available" if something should come up.

If this sort of thing happens, do you think people have any success at this? Does it depend on the kind of school being solicited? For example, what about a small school in Town that Attracts Nobody (located in State Where Many Don't Want to Live), which would consider a candidate from a strong R1 school a "good hire"?

Does this kind of thing happen only in my tiny imagination? I'm sure it does...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Word of the Day

Claque: an organized body of applauders in a theater; a group hired to applaud their leader or taunt a designated target

Just thought you should know....maybe I'll have a claque at a conference some day when I'm all grown up and academic-like.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm Trying to Work in Here!

As I've sat in my office all day, trying to work on the dissertation, I have

  • heard much swearing by the construction workers who are installing/fixing/constructing the new sprinkler systems in our building;
  • heard much spitting and phlegm-hocking from aforementioned workers
  • heard a variety of racial slurs directed at the "Mexican" boys from [nearby town, not in Mexico]...also coming from said workers
  • been so hard-pressed in trying to concentrate on my work that I'm tempted to take the elevator to the top floor of this building and jump to my death in protest of having to work while this kind of crap is going on around me

That is all.