Monday, May 30, 2005

I hate dial-up

I hate dial-up. I really do. I am becoming more and more suicidal just sitting here... in front of the computer... waiting... waiting... I honestly need high-speed internet to survive.

Oh. I had my laptop out at A. Rachel's place yesterday and discovered that, somewhere in the neighborhood where she lives someone has a wireless internet system. I got all excited, and Troy (my cousin) and I were discussing it. Turns out it was password protected. Bummer. Things like that just make me want to become a hacker. But then I think about the smell. I mean, nerdy D & D playing guys have a certain smell, and I imagine that hackers are just way nerdier that a bunch of D & D guys. THerefore--hell, you can probably smell a hacker a mile away. In fact, I could offer my highly developed sense of smell to governments trying to catch hackers.

I told you, I'm going mad. Normal people just don't think thoughts like that.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Money for Graduate School!!

Yeah! Dr. Horne, the director of English Graduate Studies, has offered me the TESOL tutor assistantship! Yeah! Money for Graduate School! More importantly, a tuition waiver!

Week in Illinois

Hullo all. Tomorrow morning Dad and I are flying out to St Louis, Missouri (then taking the metro out to Belleville, IL). We will be there for a week.

I'm excited. I will get to see my Paternal grandfather (Paw), my Aunt Rachel and Uncle Bill, and (hopefully) my cousin (Troy), his wife (Jung), and their daughter (Abigail). Jung is also very pregnant with another baby, so I'm excited about that too. I will be bringing presents for everyone (yeah! I'm just like Santa Claus! Fat.)

But yeah. That is all the news from me. Life has reached a very boring (and relaxing) pace right now. It is a nice change from the jet-setting lifestyle I lived for the past seven months. Hell, who and I kidding--I loved the jet-setting lifestyle. I wanna go back to the jet-setting lifestyle. But first, I think I will go to Graduate School.

Speaking of Graduate school, here are the classes that I will probably be taking in the Fall:

Principles of Linguistics
Literacy and ESOL Writing
Multicultural Education

I may also take a undergraduate level French class... I don't know yet. I would like to do a French independent study, but I don't know if the French professors would be up for it. I also don't know if I will 1. get the tutoring assistantship and 1b. how many credit hours the tutpring assistantship will pay for in a year.

Monday, May 23, 2005

'Nother Interview

Well, going for another interview tomorrow at Salisbury University. I will be meeting with two people (seperately, thank goodness) to talk about another assistantship position. This position would pay less money but would still carry a tuition waiver. It is a tutoring position--ESL students at Salisbury (and there really don't seem to be too many)--but it is something that I have actual experience doing. I just got off the phone with the current tutor and she sounded really nice--I will be going to meet with her tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

I will post on here as soon as I find out.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Life Goals

Every now and again I think about my goals in life:

1. Learn two languages other than English.
2. Move out of my parents' homes for more than three years (my record thus far).
3. Earn either two Masters degrees OR one PhD.
4. Have someone name their kid after me.
5. Visit Africa (haven't narrowed down which countries yet), China, Taiwan (maybe), Russia, Turkey, South America (again, haven't narrowed down which countries yet), Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, the Chech Republic, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Australia, New Zealand... and I'm sure there are more but I've forgotten about them.
6. Go on a cruise (why not?)
7. Go to Disney Land.
8. Have an orange cat named Nabokov.
9. Learn to sing.
10. Write a book (note: I did not say publish a book--I only want to write one).
11. Take some photography classes.

I think they are all pretty simple. I plan on achieving most of them (though getting someone to name their kid after me might be a little tough. I just have to keep cozying up to pregnant women.)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Wa Hooooo!!

Yessssss, I am Soooooo connected....

Pride goeth before a long night of computer problems...

Well, I was feeling all smart because I had gotten the sound card on my Dad's new computer (my old desktop) to finally start working... and I downloaded some nifty spyware/virus protection stuff. I got all of Dad;s stuff transferred, all his programs loaded, everything connected (well, the scanner is not working yet but that is not completely my fault...) So, I decided it was time to set up the (dum dum dum) wireless home network.

Well, after only two hours the desktop computer is connected. Now I am working on the laptop. (Actually, the desktop thing was not so bad. I got it to work the first time, but I couldn't get it to work with the laptop so I scrapped it all, re-installed, and changed the settings. No dice.) So I figure it will probably take me several more hours to get the laptop to work--and that is if I'm lucky. (If I'm not lucky at least the router has three more ports so I can (maybe) set up a wired network).

But, damnit, I want to make this work. I have all sorts of pride that needs to be salvaged. Grrr.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Moving on...

Well, the director of Salisbury English Graduate Studies sent me an e-mail informing me that he was going to consider me for a TESOL tutoring position. This would carry a full tuition waiver and a little bit of money. I need to get three people to approve me and one of them has given me a thumbs up so far--two to go. For this job I would be working one on one with ESL students--not as big a deal, I think, as teaching a Freshman Composition class. I still need to get more details about it, but I can ask my questions when I drive down to Salisbury (again) next Tuesday and meet with the second person.

Mom has said that, if I don't get any tuition assistance, she can help me out. But I will already be living with her and eating her food... and she will probably be paying for my car insurance... I just hate feeling like I am bleeding my parents dry. Mom keeps reminding me that I paid for my own car and that neither she nor Dad had to pay anything for my undergraduate degree, but still...

Anyway, if this Tutoring thing doesn't work out, I figure there is always Barnes and Noble. Also, the apartment where we will be living is right next to a mall--surely I can find something there...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Next Fall

Well, I did not get the Salisbury TA position. I can't say that I am very surprised. The director sent me an e-mail and said that, although my credentials were very strong, my interview "did not win the day."

Friday, May 13, 2005

This is a picture that Natalia took from the train (in Valence, France) as she was leaving. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

So, this is Dodger (as in The Artful Dodger). He is my Dad's cat and he is 17 pounds of muscle and fat. He is so mean that the vet told us that the next time we bring him in for a check-up, they are going to have to sedate him.  Posted by Hello

I was just trying to organize all my pictures from France and I came across this one. This is from back in January, when we were all going sale shopping. Left to Right: Me, Jo, Lena, Ania, Natalia. Pretty good-looking bunch of girls, huh? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

More Job Applications...

So, here is where I applied today:

Sounds all cool and hippie-esque, right? My friend Leah applied there as well. I would just be a cashier, but I think the environment would be laid back and that's probably more of what I need right now.

I also have a three hour interview/assessment/orientation thingie with Manpower tomorrow. It is a temporary employment agency. I really, really, really am not looking forward to it, but at least it makes me feel like I am actively searching for a job (which, believe it or not, I hate doing. I would just rather have the job and be done with it. But oh well.)

I have been reading John Barth's _Road to Nowhere_. It is a novella about a love triangle at Wicomico teacher's college that actually happened. Really interesting story--I really like the way the Barth has developed his characters--especially the main one. His thought patterns are totally illogical and would not work if Barth had not developed them the way that he did.

By the way, Wicomico Teacher's College=Salisbury University. Yup, this sordid affair took place in the very place where I have already suffered so much. I hear tell that the book was actually banned from campus for several years. No better way to get kids to read than to ban a book I always say.

Also, pronunciation for Wicomico. The main stress is on the first 'co'--not, as I like to say it, WI'co MI'co.

More later.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Job Applications...

Just filled out an excruciating application for Provident Bank. It wanted my employment history for the past ten years (which covers just about every job I've ever had) AND my past addresses... I wound up scrambling through my file cabinet trying to find something that had old Arizona addresses on it.

Which led to me have to think about my time in the you-know-what. Never a good thing. The further I get away from it, the less real it becomes, and, consequently, the more difficult it is to be forced to confront. It is like walking further and further away from a giant tree casting a shadow. When I was in the trunk part of the shadow it was dark, but it was all that I could see, so it didn't seem so unusual. Now I am in the shadows cast by the branches. There is sunlight that filters through the spaces between the branches and I am used to it. Whenever I step into one of the shadows cast by a branch it is always a shock. I don't know how tall the tree is or how long I will be under its shadow.

It has to come to an end at some point. Right?

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Currently in Salisbury, MD with my mom. It is nice to spend mother's day with my mom. She even got me a really nice mother's day present--a new set of tires! (She nearly killed herself on them. And that was last summer. They were almost illegal in the state of Maryland. Yeeeesh.)

Anyway, we think that we have found an apartment complex. You have *got* to check this place out:

My favorite is the amenities page.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Extensive car work and a death. In Venice.

So... on my Mom's recommendation I took my car in to Saturn to get a 90k checkup (My car has almost 92,000 miles on it). The Saturn folks just called me back with the bad news: extensive brake work needed. To the tune of $900. Ooooooo... I had to do a quick math problem in my head to justify it. My car is paid off. If it were not, I would be paying probably $300 a month. So, if this is the only major repair in a one year period, I have still saved 9 months of car payments. This does make some of the hurt go away. Oh. And there is the fact that, if I bought a car now, the gas mileage would actually be worse than what my little 1997 Saturn gets. How's that for an extra little smiley bonus?

The Allergies are still bad. I have been hiding in my room as much as possible. Not that it helps much, as The Cat (Pandora) manages to sneak in occasionally and shed havoc-wreaking dander and fur.

Oh. And my tires are almost illegal in Maryland. They are that bald.

About the Death. Yes, I finally managed to complete Thomas Mann's Death in Venice. I have been trying to read it since high school. I have suffered years of guilty feeling for my inability to get more than two pages into the novella. I didn't like it. I had to bribe myself with Jelly Belly Jelly Beans to finish it. Allergy medicine and Thomas Mann: lethal combination. Add a cat or two and its lights out. Oh, and what is with the 14-year-old boy building sandcastles? How unrealistic is that? Maybe Mann built sandcastles when he was 14 (which might account for his incredibly boring prose), but I think the average 14-year-old boy is probably lurking in some dark corner whacking off to Victoria Secret catalogs. I mean, really. Sandcastles?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Interviewing really, really, ummm, sucks...

First of all, let me just state that my allergies are making me miserable. I have a pile of used Kleenex next to me. I don’t know if it is the cats or the pollen or a mixture of the two, but I am ready to rip my sinuses out. Today, for some reason, has been especially bad.

So, job interviews. Fifteen minutes that will decide how one will occupy the next few years of ones life. Amazing how much actually rides upon a job interview. Maybe that is why I don’t do well at job interviews—I am aware of just how much I neeeed to get the job. That and I have no ability to make small talk.

Anyway, my job interviewing skills have hit a new low this past Tuesday. It was so bad that I am still laughing about it. I mean, it was really, really bad. It was so bad that I can’t even get upset about it.

This was my interview with Salisbury University for a teaching assistantship next year. I have already applied to the Graduate school to get an MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and I assume they have accepted me, if they are interviewing me for a TA. The TA guarantees not only a tuition waiver, but also a $9,000 stipend. This is big money for graduate school, especially for a Masters degree. All the TA has to do is teach two classes of freshmen composition every semester. Not so bad.

So, I went in to my interview. It was four older guys, and we were all sitting around a huge square table in the basement. They admired my GPA and asked me a few questions about my teaching experience. They explained to me that TAs teach English 101 and 102. 101 is strictly composition based and 102 is composition based on literature. Freshmen have to take both classes. The interviewers said that usually TESOL students lack the literature background to teach 102, so they usually just teach 101. I reminded them that I had received my BA in English Literature and they asked me what types of literature classes I had taken. When I told them, they seemed impressed.

“Well, our literature course is based—obviously—around the three art forms of drama, poetry, and short story,” one of the interviewers explained to me.

Then (and this is where it all started to go wrong) he asked me, “So, is there anything that you have read that you would really like to teach?”

And my mind went blank. It was like I had not read anything in the past ten years, let alone studied literature for three years. I could not think of a single thing—nothing came to mind. I was like, “Ummmm, well, uh… I’ve always been partial to Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery.”

“Really?” the interviewer asked, “And what is it about the short story that you like?”

Oh shit. At least I had read it. About fifteen years ago. “Well, I remember reading it in high school and it really stuck with me.

"Stoning will do that to a person," the interviewer said wryly.

"Um, yeah, well also it was one of the first serious works I had read, and it was one of the stories that started me down the Dark Path to studying English.”

“Oh, like Darth Vader,” one of the other interviewers piped up.

“Yeah,” I smiled. Whew. With any luck they would only remember the Star Wars reference.

Blah, blah, and they asked me about how I felt about teaching literature in translation. I said I was fine with it, but that I would probably want to show the students a couple of different translations so they could see how different translators can affect the meaning.

Then, one of the interviewers asked me if there was any drama work that I really enjoyed. I figure he either wanted to give me a second chance, or he sadistically enjoyed watching me squirm.

“Well, honestly, I haven’t done much with drama, so nothing comes to mind.” I said, and they all seemed fine with this answer. But I wasn’t safe yet. The interviewer decided to go for broke and ask about poetry.

Again with the hmmming and uhhing. Then, “Well, I’ve always been partial to Yeats. You know, the, uh, the one about the, uh, Thing Fall Apart. Oh! But he did do the play Deirdre! That’s drama! I could teach that. It would be interesting… to me, at least.” Shut up, shut up.

“Yes, Yeats is good,” one of the interviewers said, nodding. “Anyone else?”

“Well,” I started, feeling a little more emboldened, “I also like the poets of the Harlem Renaissance.”

“Like Langston Hughes?”

“Yeah.” And here is where I should have stopped. “Yeah! He wrote that poem… uh… what was it called? The one about the rivers. I really like that one!” Shit.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers?” one of the interviewers asked, his eyebrow raised.

“Yeah! That’s the one!” I exclaimed way too loudly and enthuastically.

At this point I was imagining a future in fast food management. Then, a chance at redemption. One of the interviewers asked me what I thought was the most important thing to teach students about writing.

“Oh, the writing process, without a doubt. When I was working in the UMBC Writing Center I saw too many students who…” and blah, blah, blah.

“So,” the interviewer said, “you would take a more rhetorical approach?”

Huh? “Yeah,” I nodded. Why the hell not?

So, then we went through a few more things and they gave me a writing assignment. I was to go to the library, spend about an hour writing on a topic they gave me, and e-mail it back to the chair of Graduate Studies.

I did it, e-mailed it, and then did the two and a half hour drive back to Catonsville, where I got the ultimate comfort food: Chick-fil-a. I even got the largest size meal. A little bit of crap television, and then some comic books. After all, I had to continue to expand my horizons and exercise my brain.

A few thoughts on babies...

So, yeah, to all my friends:

If you are not planning on having babies in the next nine months, you may just want to not have sex.


Because there seems to be an epidemic. Every time I turn around, someone else is pregnant.

This is not necessarily a bad thing for me. I figure I probably will never have children (and here is where everyone jumps in and insists that I will change my mind someday. And while I accept that this is a possibility, I also accept that I may never change my mind. So there.) So, I am cultivating future "Aunt Deirdre" relationships. I may never be "Mommy Deirdre," but "Aunt Deirdre" is sometjust about my speed. I can be the crazy, wacky, eccentric aunt who buys cool toys and has lots of cats. the one who jets off to exotic countries and brings back pet monkeys for everyone (okay, just joking. I am much too much a neat freak to travel with something that flings poo. That is another good reason for me to not have children.)

So, yeah, I encourage all my friends to make babies so I can have the ever fascinating experience of watching kids grow and develop without any of the stinky poo.