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.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Plans, Dreams, and Shopping

Edited to note that I had to "put down" the previous version of this post, which turned nasty and started eating comments. Just like in Old Yeller. It was very sad, particularly since I lost Zelda's and Tiruncula's comments in the process and had to re-type the whole damn thing. Ah, well. Such are the hazards of blogging . . . .

I have been emailing myself dozens of links and scraps and tidbits to blog about for the past week. I have things to say, but I don't have the energy or mental acuity to say them right now, for reasons which some of the posts I keep sending myself notes about would help to explain.

Right now, I should be in bed, trying to escape the horrible sleeping patterns (or, rather, the sleeping anarchies) into which I've fallen during the past few months. But I feel like there are too many blogging posts knocking around in my skull. There's the link-heavy piece I've dubbed "Feminist Frankenpost," for example; the one called "It's a Dog-Eat-Melamine, Human-Eat-Melamine, Cow-Eat-Cow World, or, Sinclair's Jungle Revisited;" and one about the unexpected ways in which the VTech massacre hit home for me--among others.

If I don't let at least one post out to play, I know I won't be able to sleep well, because my neuroses act out in strange ways while I'm asleep. Which means my sense that there's something I ought to be doing other than sleeping might manifest itself as Miltonic fallen angels wielding cattle prods; post-alien-invasion human internment/harvest camps; or an angry God who's decided to end the world by implanting a secret bomb into an initially unsuspecting person. Or, if I'm unfortunate, maybe all three will show up in the same dream, like a surreal curtain call from "Philip K. Dick Does Broadway" with a score by David Lynch.

If the neuroses are especially energetic, I might even have to battle The Suitcase again: an infernal piece of luggage I am irresistibly compelled to pack, but which cannot be packed because it has the power to so befuddle me that I am forced to put exactly the most inappropriate thing into it, over and over. All this, mind you, while armed terrorists are attacking my apartment building and other people are hazarding their lives in an attempt to make me leave.

Seriously: I shit you not.

Remember that dream nearly everybody has, in which something's after you, but you can't run? The Suitcase Scenario is like that dream retooled for the OCD set. It has occurred to me more than once that this may well be some metaphor for grad school. I'll let you decide whether it's profound or deranged. I haven't really gotten enough sleep to tell.

At any rate, writing about The Luggage of the Damned at least gives me a bumpy segue into what was supposed to be the topic of this post: my upcoming research trip to the UK.

So, yeah: I'm planning a research trip for the end of next month and just bought my plane tickets last week. Fortunately, I managed to get a pretty good deal on them, despite waiting for longer than I should have. this will be my first time looking at manuscripts in any real quantity or depth, and I'm getting increasingly nervous. In fact, I suspect that part of the reason I've been so slow to make my plans is that the whole prospect freaks me out not a little.

I don't have the sense of purpose and direction I'd told myself I'd have by the time I started working in ginormously prestigious archives, so I feel as though I'm going to be improvising even more than usual. I'm telling myself that I'll be fine, that I might actually be better off not knowing exactly what I'm looking for yet, that all I'm doing is writing down and typing up as much information as possible for later analysis and getting used to locating and handling medieval documents. But I'm not thoroughly convincing myself yet.

At any rate, one of the particular forms my freak-outs have taken, now that I can no longer conveniently ignore the ever-closer dates on my wall calendar, is staying up late to buy supplies for the trip online. Having realized how little time I had to prepare, I then realized that I really ought to buy a big backpack in order to keep my luggage manageable as I travel around the country. And then I realized that none of my shoes were both presentable enough to look professional and well-designed enough for comfortable walking. And so on. You get the picture: I have gained favor in the eyes of the retail gods.

Honestly, provisioning this trip is necessary, since I generally avoid buying high-quality, sturdy things in favor of saving money and don't hve much in the way of travel gear. But I also know there's a large helping of procrasti-busy with a dollop of retail therapy on top involved here.

Anyway, now for the fun part. This is where I tell you about stuff I've bought. Ready?

1) To make getting through airport security easier: a luggage tag that converts into a mesh bag to hold keys, watches, and coins.

2) Is my toothbrush smiling at me?! Why yes, it is!

3) Mother Earth thanks me: no more plastic forks!

4) Possibly the most upbeat pair of shoes in my closet.

5) An even more practical pair (in black) for good measure.

6) For only $7.95 apiece!

7) Finally: my perfect eyeglass case!

8) I can be a fickle bag lover, but this time, I think my love is here to stay. This bag is actually even nicer than the catalog description allows.

9) This looks pretty Big-Scary-Library appropriate, don't you think?

10) As if never having to iron this weren't enough to make me happy, the colors are almost ridiculously cheerful.

11) The piece de resistance.

I'm still dithering over the blue version of this coat. Do those of you familiar with UK weather this time of year think I'd have any need for something like that, or is this just wishful thinking on my part?

Did I mention that retail therapy comes into play here?