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.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Chaucer and Cheezburgers

Yep, still traveling. Still on hiatus.

But I really, really had to share this: Chaucer's caught the cheezburger bug!


No thyng hath plesed me moore, or moore esed myn wery brayne than thes joili and gentil peyntures ycleped “Cat Macroes” or “LOL Cattes .” Thes wondirful peintures aren depicciouns of animals, many of them of gret weight and girth, the which proclayme humorous messages in sum queynte dialect of Englysshe (peraventure from the North?). Many of thes cattes (and squirreles) do desiren to haue a “cheezburger,” or sum tyme thei are in yower sum thinge doinge sum thinge to yt.

For many dayes ich haue desyred to maak Lolpilgrimes from the smal peyntures that Mayster Linkferste hath ymaad for my Tales of Canterburye - not oonly wolde it be a thing of muchel solaas to me, but it wolde be a good “pre writing exercise” (the which myn tutor, Archbishop Arundel, did alwey saye were of gret necessitee). And thus to-daye whanne ich had a smal spot of tyme bitwene a meetinge wyth a feng shui consultant and a recopyinge of the inventorie of carpentrie supplyes in Windsore, ich did go unto the wondrous LolCat Scriptorium of Gordon de McNaughton and did just go crazye. Syn ich haue not in many dayes y-poosted, ich shalle share with yow myn laboures.

This post is definitely full of win and awsum. Go see it now!


Monday, May 14, 2007

Heading out

Well, I'm headed in the general direction of large, scary libraries tomorrow night. I've done very nearly all my packing, but I have an insanely long list of errands to run and documents to finish before I leave. Not sure how it's going to happen. In fact, some of it just might not happen, and that'll have to be okay.

Boy Roomie has been very nice to me the last few days, buying me dinner to send me off and letting me borrow his car so I could pick up letters of endorsement from Prof. Gravitas's house this afternoon. And he's topping it all off by taking me to the airport tomorrow and looking after Mouse. I will have to find something especially nice to bring back for him.

I'm going to miss Mousie terribly, and I think he can tell I'm packing up to leave, because he's being especially clingy today. For that matter, maybe I'm being especially clingy, too.

I did finally decide not to take my computer with me: I'm already overloaded and I just don't want to worry about having it stolen or damaged while I'm traveling. So, while I'll check in at least a couple of times to respond to important emails, I'm not sure I'll be making any blog posts until I return during the first full week of June. So, in case I don't talk to y'all for a while, thanks for all your encouragement during the past month and take good care of yourselves!

Mmmkay. I have to get in bed now so I can get at least three or four hours of sleep and get in a few more snuggles with the fur child before tackling all this stuff tomorrow. G'night.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Love is . . .

. . . running for Mommy when your tummy feels bad.

. . . consoling the fur child who just barfed all over your white pillowcase, mere centimeters away from your head, at 5:00 in the morning.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Commuter Cat

Okay, this is too funny. It even cuts through my pre-trip grump-fest.*

The West Midlands now has its very own feline commuter: a lovely white cat who hops on the Walsall to Wolverhampton line several times a week, disembarking at a block which includes a chippery. Possibly my favorite thing about this article is the look on the photographed kitty's face, which seems to say something along the lines of, "Uh, why are you all in my face with that camera? I'm just trying to take the bus, man!" Classic.

And someone's already sent a brilliant parody in to the I Can Has Cheezburger site.


*The General has astutely pointed out that I'm prepping for--and stressing over--this trip as much as if I were preparing to take an exam. Which, to be honest, I pretty much am: if I don't bring my academic game face, I may not only seriously hurt my chances of seeing what I need to see, but also make the profs writing letters of support for me look foolish. That would not be okay.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Stuff I like

I have had a seriously crappy, stupid, pointlessly wasteful day. I am extra-super cranky and touchy and upset. I do not want to talk about it.

But I am at home and too tired to work and trawling the Internets looking for solace, so I am going to post about some things I like.

I like these.

I also like these. (So does Mouse.)

And these.

And this.

And this.

And this.

And these.

And this.

And this.

And these.

And these.

And these.

Now I am going to go to bed.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Still a bundle of nerves, I'm afraid. I was up until 4am last night cleaning the apartment, which might tell you something about my current state of mind. I find that I'm spendng a tremendous amount of time with my iPod headpones in, buffering myself behind a soundscape of Zen flutes, South African jive, and Steely Dan.

I think I have stage fright.

Disarmingly candid comments from a prof recalling his first trip to August Medieval University led me to confess that I have felt dangerously close to hyperventilating while reading guide books. After all, a brilliant and rather eccentric philologist/fantasist rode his bicycle through the quads there! Its founding-place was designated by a chastity-protecting bolt of lightning! It's been a hotbed of Scholasticism and Wycliffites! It's all full of spires and punting and things! I've managed to get by for this long, but surely, against this backdrop, I'll finally be revealed as being not only an imposter, but also a mere tourist and an uncouth colonial. Might as well show up chewing on a piece of hay straw.

Fortunately, some kind souls have helped to tutor me in the ways of the August Medieval University Library and the Repository of National Gloriousness, so maybe a merciful librarian or two will let me watch the real scholars work and look at a few things nobody thinks very much of.

Meanwhile, I did manage to find both of my overdue and recalled books, though not before incurring hefty fines. And Acre's Grad Student Law of Library Recall (for details, see my last post's comments) gave way to the Grad Student Law of Library Shelving. This, of course, means that all the books I most need to consult for manuscript listings are mysteriously absent from the library shelves, although the catalog lists them as being present and accounted for.

And let's not even talk about what arrangements for this trip are doing to my bank account. Let's just . . . not.

Unsurprisingly, I'm about as fun to be around as a pinata full of yellowjackets these days. On the other hand, I do feel as though I'm doing the most honestly productive work of the past four months. So that's something.

Yesterday's extremely well timed massage appointment, a gift from Beautiful Boss, involved a diminutive woman pounding away at a constellation of knots in my back--one of them, apparently, was about the size of my fist. I felt like something out of "Intimations of Immortality" afterward; trailing clouds of glory and all that shit. After my concerned masseuse ordered me to sign up for yoga classes, post haste, I promptly went to the spa's "quiet room" and slept for about three hours. Lovely.

And then, in the evening, my muscles woke up and rioted on me, prompting me to cast a lustful eye on a bottle of Cyclobenzaprine before settling for a quartet of Motrin tablets. My back still hurts today, though it's better, and I think I might just be an inch or two taller.

One thing's for sure: by the time I get back from two and a half weeks of hunching over books and manuscripts, a yoga class or two will definitely be in order.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I just do not need this right now

I am kinda freaking out. There are many reasons for this, including the sudden appearance of three deadlines that will have to be met, a score or two of appointments to keep, a flotilla of emails to send out, an event to organize, and a whole passel of errands to run before I leave the country in less than two weeks. I could go on, but I won't.

I will simply ask this question: why can I find every single library book I've checked out other than the two which have been recalled, are overdue, and for which fines are accumulating by the day?