Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Location: United States

Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Write down this date: I'm in a good mood!

Okay, so I know this will probably come as a real shock to regular readers of this blog, but I'm actually in a rather fantastic mood. Here's why:

1) Wonder Woman's surgery today went very well, and the doctors believe she is now cancer-free!

2) One of the unfortunate things about grad school is that you meet some wonderful people, grow to love them, and then have to watch them move away--or move away from them yourself--to some part of the country very far away from wherever you happen to be. But I have just gotten the news that a couple who are good friends of mine are going to be moving to my hometown! Which means I get to see them every time I go home! Hooray!

3) I worked at home today and got lots of quality time with Mouse. We opened up the patio door and let the Spring breeze and sunshine in during the late afternoon.

4) I'm thinking that the 'Zoo blogger meet-up is going to be an almost ridiculously good time, and I'm excited!

5) I had my hardest class yet at the dojang tonight. Master Fuzzy Slippers himself led it, and I think he was trying to prep us for testing this weekend, because he was very tough. I screwed up frequently and awkwardly. However, I also absolutely refused to quit.

I just got mad--not mad at him for asking us to do hard things, but angry with myself for not being stronger, and absolutely determined that I would at least make up for being a weakling by being tough enough to keep going. So I did.

We did some basic grappling techniques, and most of us sucked at it, so we got yelled at a lot. This first involved attempts to arch up into the air from a position on one's back, making a bridge with one or the other of our shoulders, then shooting one leg underneath the other and winding up in a squatting position. Many, many times.

Then we had to partner up with somebody, either sitting on top of that person or allowing him/her to sit on top of you. (My partner was a teenaged guy who was clearly profoundly embarrassed by the whole proceeding, and I felt badly for him.) If you were on the bottom, you had to try to throw your partner's leg aside with both hands so you could wriggle free. If you were on the top, you had to try to scoop your partner's arm up from below and then force it straight out and away from your knee, using leverage rather than muscle power. Not easy.

Far more difficult, though, was having to hop around on the balls of our feet with our hands in front of us in ready position, then react as if someone were kicking for one of our legs, throw that leg back and the corresponding hand forward, and then throw the other leg out and back, hurling ourselves to the ground. And then hop up again as quickly as possible, get in the ready stance, and do it all over again. About 20 times.

Next we had to lie down flat on our stomachs and pull ourselves the entire length of the studio using only our arms. As quickly as possible. Four times. About halfway through the third time, I was in some serious pain and could hardly move at all. And then I just got deeply pissed off: "This is not acceptable! I will not let myself be this weak. No." So I rested for half a second, and forced myself to do it the rest of the way. One of the instructors actually got a little concerned because I looked so mad, but I just used the energy to make it happen.

When I got to the dressing room after class, I noticed that there was blood all over the elbows of my dobok: I had skinned myself on the mats. And I also had striated bruises all over my shoulders from doing the grappling forms over and over. I hadn't felt any of it.

I was still a little pissed off and embarrassed when I got home, but within about half an hour, I realized what I'd accomplished: stuff I honestly would not have thought myself capable of if you'd asked me before that class, but hadn't even thought twice about making myself do once I was there. And then I felt pretty damn good.

You know, I kinda wish every class were that hard.

6) Once I got home and had showered and settled down a little, I expressed the wish for a slushie. Boy Roomie promptly drove me down to the local 7-11, where I got a great big cherry one. When we got home, we put rum in them. So low-rent. And so deeply wonderful. Ah.

We subsequently decided that the Best Party Ever would involve a slushie machine, an open bar, Easy-Cheese crudites, and a bouncy castle. So now y'all know what you're in for when I finally get my Ph.D.