readingredhead: (London)
Life continues apace over in the world of academia. I turned in my MA essay today (I'm not overflowingly proud of it but I do think it's a solid, well-argued, potentially important piece of work), which means I only have three major assignments between now and May 9, and then FREEDOM. Two of those assignments are 18-20 pg seminar papers, both of which will be touching in one way or another on Clarissa, which I have ALSO finished. (In related news, I'm pretty sure I've told everyone I know that I want a t-shirt that says "I survived Clarissa -- not even she could manage that!" except I suspect if I actually got one Richardson would personally return from the dead to haunt me.)

Aside from school, I have had a surprisingly busy social calendar lately? I mean, apparently I have friends in this city?! Crazy talk. So there was that one time when Christina and I stalked Doctor Who filming and saw Matt Smith and Karen Gillan doing a lot of running (and they waved at us!), a birthday party for [personal profile] oliviacirce at which among other things I discovered that I may want a line from Milton's Lycidas tattooed on my foot ("But not the praise"), karaoke with friends at the bar with the TARDIS (and I actually sang in front of strangers!), and lunch plus Clarissa conversation with a fellow survivor today. And tonight there will be post-MA-essay drinks with cohort mates, followed by a birthday dinner tomorrow, and then Jordy is in town on Thursday! 

I'm also starting to realize how soon I'll be headed to London and Norway, and I am SO EXCITED. It's been too long since I traveled somewhere and had adventures (not that adventures cannot be had without travel, but travelling adventures have a different flavor, and it's one that I miss). In case you missed it the last time I listed dates, I'll be in London June 12-19 and Norway June 20-29 (not that anyone in Norway is on my flist, but in case you were curious!). At some future point I will send Londoners a humble plea for couch space, but I gather that there is moving and the like going on at present, and that life is stressful in general, and I would not want to add to that!

One month from today, I will have an MA in English. Two months from today, I will be in London (or you know potentially elsewhere in the United Kingdom if I do day-trippy things! like walking/hiking places!). It's just getting through the intervening time that will require some finessing, but thankfully it's actually all starting to look almost manageable. (There will be a post later about how, in one of my papers, I'm essentially arguing that the "participatory novel culture"--which is my fancy terminology for "fans and fanfic writers"--centered around Richardson's novels in the mid-eighteenth century ought to be read, not as unprofessional fannish effusion, but as a strand of novel theory in its own right which can teach us a great deal about how the novel as an evolving genre was perceived by its readers and its writers. Yes you heard me right. FANDOM. IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. And my professor is excited about me writing this! And rec'd a book about Janeites as potentially relevant to my methodological interests! ACADEMIA: YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT.)

Now I should probably stop procrastinating and tackle the day's most difficult dilemma (which is, of course, what do I make for dinner?).
readingredhead: (Sketch)
Today so far: I woke up, had breakfast (coffee and croissant) at the famous and delicious cafe a block and a half from my apartment while reading a book written for teenagers, bought new ink cartridges for the Italian fountain pen I bought ages ago but somehow forgot about until I was home over break, proceeded to clean out said pen so that it can be used for planning the epic story of love and adventure and werewolves that is my forever novel, and planned out my outfit for later tonight when I will be going to happy hour at a nerd bar in Brooklyn that has a TARDIS for its bathroom (it's actually bigger on the inside). 

Yeah, life's pretty awesome sometimes. And I haven't even had lunch yet.
readingredhead: (Reading)
Prepare reading material: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel in paperback (200 pages in, I have just met Jonathan Strange) and Gail Carriger's Changeless on my iPad, courtesy of New York Public Library's ebook rental system.

Download incredibly relevant fanfiction to iPad: two long-ish Young Wizards fics, one in which our favorite wizards deal with an earthquake, another in which they tackle a hurricane. (For the curious, the hurricane story is also a Regency AU and thus required reading.)

Download "A Good Man Goes to War." Watch in preparation for "Let's Kill Hitler." Cross fingers that power will be up and running long enough to download "Let's Kill Hitler" once it's aired. Consider livestreaming.

Put finishing touches to reading nook, which did not exist this time yesterday but now consists of rug, lamp, comfy chair, and pillow. Place flashlight, candles, and lighter nearby, just in case.

Turn AC on lower than usual so that in case of power outage my death from excessive heat and humidity will be postponed. Close all windows.

Fill most cup-like things with water. Refrain from filling up bathtub in hopes of being allowed one last shower before water is in danger of being shut off. But fill mixing bowls just in case.

Go out and spend $20 on a seriously massive brunch, as it may be the last delicious food to be had in a while. (For those interested, it included challah bread french toast with citrus butter, bacon, and homefries.) Take home half of it because it was too big to eat in one sitting, even while reading leisurely.

Look forward to the possibility of cooking with gas stove during a blackout. Be content to have saved some of the dessert crepe batter that was prepared last night. Nothing says "safe and sound" like sugar crepes in a blackout...especially if chocolate and peanut butter are also involved. Which they very well could be.

Charge extra computer battery. Charge phone and iPad. Calculate how much online time can be achieved without power between these three devices, provided the phone lines aren't down. Determine that 20 hours between laptop & iPad should be more than enough for stormbound entertainment, not to mention the 600 pages of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel which have yet to be read.

Call parents and grandmother. Assure them that yes, I will live, no, I won't go outside, and yes, I will call them whenever possible, but no, they should not worry if I don't, because New Yorkers are silly and crashed the phone lines over the (totally minor) earthquake last week, so this hurricane might take them down for a while.

Keep calm and carry on.

(This might be the point to say, I am seriously not fazed by this, and though I would possibly prefer not to be spending the next two days alone, I don't actually know anyone in this city who I would particularly want to spend them with, and do not mind a chance to catch up on my reading.)
readingredhead: (Adventure)

I'm sitting in an airport Starbucks, looking like a hipster with my coffee and my iPad and my plaid flannel shirt, and pondering the fact that in a couple of hours I'll be getting on a plane and I'll wake up in New York City.

The summer went by fast, except for the parts that went by slow. I did a lot with my time -- almost as much as I hoped, perhaps more than I expected. I wrote and rewrote more of my novel-in-progress, The Printer's Daughter. I discovered exactly how exhausting it is to work something like full time on a novel project, especially in the revision stage, and a lot of the work I did was reworking and making note of the things I need to add or change, but in the end I know this is all valuable information, and I am dedicated to the process...I just know that it may take a while, and I accept that. It surprises me that my not-entirely-conscious realization that pursuing a career as a professor is more important to me than pursuing a career as a writer has actually made me more keen on (eventually) getting this novel written.

In addition to working on original fiction, I somehow got a weird fanfiction boost and wrote more fic over the past summer than I think I have in the past few years. I also made a semi-conscious decision not to be ashamed about fandom. I'm not even one of the crazier elements of it, and it seems silly to be ashamed of something that makes me happy. I've never been deeply enough involved in fandom for it to frustrate or anger me; I've never been caught up in fandom wank. It probably helps that my main fandom generally believes that being angry with people speeds up the heat death of the universe! (Young Wizards fandom, I love you, never change.)

I didn't read all the books on my list -- I didn't even read a significant portion of them -- but I did read a lot, and a lot of what I read was good. I especially loved stuff by Holly Black and Scott Westerfeld, suggesting that a) Twilight notwithstanding, YA is far from dead and b) I should probably read it more least, the bits of it that Rebecca recommends!

Surprisingly (for me at least), I really got into yoga. My younger sister had taken a few classes and encouraged me to go with her, and I while it certainly isn't a replacement for other more intense forms of exercise, I really appreciate the way it focuses on linking your mind and your movements, so that you're more thoughtful about your workout. Even doing relatively intense yoga leaves me feeling refreshed and relaxed when I'm done, and i think some of the things I learned on the mat have an important place in the rest of my life. Yoga is about letting go of whatever isn't serving you, about honoring your body and its limitations. It's about coming from where you are, instead of where you wish you were or where you think you ought to be. When I get to New York, finding a place to do yoga is high on my list of things to do -- right after I get my New York Public Library card!

I set out with the intention of feeling an academic detox this summer, and it worked. I've done a lot of being lazy and I'm ready for what's next.

I oscillate between being overcome with the amount of work I know I have to do in the next weeks -- move into apartment, buy supplies, sign lease, etc. -- and being delighted by the idea of finally taking that next step in my career/life plan. For a girl who still believes that the world is so big and she is so small, I'm surprisingly ready to have a place to call "home" for the next six years. I don't know if anywhere other than New York would make me feel this way. I only hope that I'm right about the city that so many people dream about...especially since, until about March, it wasn't a place that I specifically dreamed about. But I feel, right now, like these hopes will be met and exceeded. I feel like I'm going somewhere new, but also somewhere that will one day be home.

So, while I'd rather be traveling by TARDIS, I suppose I'll make do with a plane, as long as it gets me there.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

readingredhead: (Grin)
When I've responded to all of the prompts I've been given in the (fan)fiction drabble meme I posted, I'll put up a post with links to all of my responses, but for now I just wanted to tell you all that you should read the lovely and thoughtful Doctor/River fic that [ profile] alexandria_skye wrote for me in response to the same meme!

(Also, the obligatory parenthetical about how I leave for New York in three days and oh my god oh my god oh my god. More angsting to follow.)
readingredhead: (London)

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I'm not sure this is even a question. 

I had typed up a lovely and angst-ridden couple of paragraphs about London and the United Kingdom and how I miss them (inspired by a re-watch of Series Four of Doctor Who, which just culminated with "Journey's End," which will ALWAYS make me sob like a frightened child separated from her mum), but then LJ ate those, so I'll take it as a sign to stop my whinging, be pleased -- in fact, delighted -- with the world that spreads itself out before me, and shove all the "far away can bite me" angst back into that little tiny corner of my brain (or is it heart?) that it has colonized and will not return.

(But seriously. I should never watch "Journey's End." Ever.)
readingredhead: (Adventure)
Since there's only a very small chance that I'll be living in the Bay Area in September (or even California, for that matter!), I've made up a list of the things--big and small--I want to do here before I'm gone. I'll bold and date things as I accomplish them, and if I write an entry about it, I'll link the date to that post. The list is sort of loosely organized by topic, but this is subject to change.

--Gregoire (completed 1/13)
--Chez Panisse
--Beckett's Pub (unfortunately, this place has closed now and I didn't get there in time)
--CA Academy of Sciences NightLife
--wine tasting
--Jupiter (completed 3/12)

--climb Mt. Tamalpais
--hike the Fire Trail
--hike to the Big C
--hike to Indian Rock/air raid siren

--spend a warm day at Strawberry Canyon rec center
--see a play at a theater in Berkeley
--visit the Rose Garden (completed 4/30)
--visit Tilden Regional Park (will be picnicking there 5/17 with the thesis class)

--visit Golden Gate Park

--visit Davis (completed 2/19)
--attend WonderCon (completed 4/3)
readingredhead: (Professor)
Or, Candace discusses "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" in a rather disjointed fashion, because this is necessary.

At this point, SPOILERS really goes without saying. )
readingredhead: (Cuppa)
Consider this a placeholder entry. There will be a LONG one later about my life this past week/month, but for now I just have a small-but-important thing to say, which is that grad school applications are DONE, and I can't quite believe it, but the minute I hit that last "submit" button I swear I felt like I could breathe again after three months spent holding my breath.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to cook dinner, open a bottle of wine, and watch Doctor Who until I fall asleep.
readingredhead: (Earth)
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I'm just gonna interpret this question as planing for when I accompany the Doctor on his zany adventures through time and space. (This will, of course, obviously happen. I am female, almost ginger, and may possibly at some point in my life return to live in London. The odds are in my favor already.)

In no particular order, and with various degrees of specificity:

1. The 1790s in England. Yes, I know this is about as far from specific as I can get, but this is probably the historical decade I find the most intriguing. This is when Jane Austen became a writer (though not a published novelist), when Blake did some of his most intense engravings, when the French Revolution took a turn towards insanity and when the world was on the brink of so many major cultural changes. I would just want to live as a part of this for a while, to get a real feel for the things that fascinate me about this decade.

2. The World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention of 1968, which was held in Berkeley. Yes, this means there was once a conflation of Berkeley, the sixties, and SFF geeks. 1968 is the year that Anne McCaffrey's short story "Weyr Search" won the Hugo Award for best short story -- and this story is the one that was later extended into Dragonflight, the first of her Dragonriders of Pern books, and the first book that really got me into science fiction.

3. The first man on the moon, 1969. I just wonder what it must have felt like for those people who had lived in a time when no images of earth from space were readily available to see those first pictures from the Apollo mission, and to have a sudden jarring understanding of themselves as such a small part of such a small corner of the universe, but a corner that undeniably mattered.

4. Anything in which I got to meet Elizabeth I. Because she's just bound to be utterly badass. Maybe I would want to go see a Shakespeare play with her.

5. The fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. I was technically alive at the time, but had only been so for six months.

Undoubtedly as soon as I post this I will realize some incredibly significant historical event that I'm missing, but for the moment I think this is a pretty good list. I'm obviously most invested in the first three items; the others might rotate out with my mood.
readingredhead: (Cuppa)
I keep saying that there are all of these TV shows I'm gonna watch, and I never do. So here they are:

White Collar
old Doctor Who (as much of it as I can get my hands on)
Star Trek, ALL OF IT (yes I know this is crazy and may take a few lifetimes, especially as I haven't started yet!)
maybe Supernatural? Tried to watch it years back and it never stuck, but perhaps it deserves another try?
Sarah Jane Adventures, because duh. Though I'd kind of like to encounter her in old!Who before watching this show... *ponders*
Warehouse 13, because people I trust say it's good

Hm. That's actually a lot shorter of a list than I thought it would be. Granted, some of these have been on the air for YEARS and I have a lot of catching up to do, but it doesn't look as unmanageable as it might have before.

(Also, every time I use this icon it makes me unbelievably happy. If tea solves all problems, and the Doctor solves most problems, then Doctor + tea = pretty damn awesome.)
readingredhead: (Geek)
For a second, I misread a line in the facsimile of Clara Reeve's The Progress of Romance (published 1785) and thought that a character was complaining that something might tire her hearts. Immediately I wondered what a female Time Lord was doing in an eighteenth century treatise about the history of the genre of the romance and the novel. Then I realized it said "hearers." Dear Ms. Reeve: this particular "hearer" would be much less tired by your assertions if they involved more Time Lords.

Obviously this is a sign that a) I have watched too much Doctor Who, b) I should watch more Doctor Who, c) I have done too much work on this thesis, d) I should really do more work on this thesis, or e) all of the above.
readingredhead: (Professor)
At the dinner table with my family tonight, the subject somehow turned to our educational futures and I made a comment about how I'd love to be a doctor (PhD) so that I could make my dad (who has a doctorate in education) call me Dr. Cunard. I didn't say anything, but secretly I was also thinking about how being a doctor is about as close as I'll ever get to being the Doctor. My aunt, who has her MA, followed up my comment by saying, "Yeah, doctor is a pretty cool title. Though I always wondered why you don't get a cool title when you finish your MA. Like, why am I not a Master?" And it took SO MUCH EFFORT for me not to laugh!

Lesson learned: the Doctor > the Master, courtesy of the American educational system. (Other lesson learned: I should maybe be less of a Doctor Who fan. Maybe. Though it would be less fun.)
readingredhead: (Talk)
I spent the first two thirds of my day working on an essay for my Dickens class that I don't want to have to look at ever again, even though I have no choice but to do so. But then I went out to dinner with friends and went to see The Real Thing at the Old Vic and it was amazing and here I am thinking that it's going to be cool enough to meet Toby Stephens (aka Mr. Rochester from the 2007 BBC miniseries), AND THEN IT GETS BETTER. You know how? Because Christopher Eccleston -- the Ninth Doctor himself! -- walks out from backstage and smiles that goofy grin with those fabulous ears and I get up the guts to walk up to him, offer him a pen and paper, and tell him as he signs my program that he's my Doctor. And I'm thinking it's not just my imagination that that smile got just that much wider when I said it. After that, Toby Stephens was really just icing on the cake.

And then I came home, AND THERE WAS CAKE WAITING FOR ME. It's almost like there was no Dickens in my day at all.

(Also, how do I not have a Ninth Doctor icon? Perhaps after I have written three essays and died, I will have to find one.)
readingredhead: (Professor)
This post serves three rather scanty purposes:

1. To exude glee over my finally having figured out what I'm going to write about for the first of my final essays (which is due in a week), and on top of that having figured out that it is something I am actually really interested in.

2. To make legitimate use of the (rather amazing) Doctor Who quote that titles it, because yes, I feel that smart today.

3. To make (somewhat) legitimate use of my new icon, which, while it is technically also a quote from Doctor Who (though not from the Doctor), is also a decent expression of my attitude toward life as a whole, and could probably be used retroactively as an icon for many of my past posts to great effect.

4. I lied, there is a fourth purpose: procrastination! (And to tell you that now I feel the need to possess an icon with a Dalek saying "Procrastinaaaaaate!" Oh, the unnecessary things I would do with unlimited icons...)


5. To comment on how adorable it is that British people end texts/messages with x's on a regular basis -- even if they are your lecturers. xx
readingredhead: (Doctor What)
Dear lord, I am turning into one of those people -- yes, that's right, those people who post Doctor Who episode recaps/responses right after the episodes air. I don't think I've done this for a television show before, ever. But this is not just a television show. This is Doctor Who. And this week's episode requires some discussion.

Spoilers for Doctor Who 5x05 Flesh and Stone )
readingredhead: (Default)
Really really quickpost to say I am home (well, London home), alive, now in possession of keys, and with only 26 more pages of script to write today! (Yes, I said "only." Considering how little writing I did during my trip I'm actually surprised at this.) Laundry will be done shortly and I will then also possess clean clothes! I still lack food because all I did last night was get back, make dinner (noodles are the only things still left), and catch up on Doctor Who and Glee because it was painful to go two weeks without Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. Today is going to be devoted to getting back into the swing of things around here, finishing script, and celebrating with TV if I actually get script done before midnight. Then work starts tomorrow! French exam May 4, first paper (and hardest paper, dear god why) due May 11, and then OH DEAR GOD I TURN 21 ON MAY 17. And some other crazy stuff happens in between. Still no idea what I'm doing for my birthday because I have papers due May 18, 19, and 20, but probably leaving to stay with a friend in Cheltenham for a week starting the 22nd-ish, and definitely going to be at the Hay Festival of Books on May 30 to hear Jeanette Winterson talk about Oranges are Not the Only Fruit and an awesome scholarly person talking about the juvenile works of Jane Austen. So, life goes on. Now, to laundry!
readingredhead: (Doctor What)
New Doctor Who. As I've only seen one episode it's totally possible that I will have to revoke this sentiment but something makes me doubt that, so here goes: Matt Smith has what it takes to make it. He's not David Tennant but he knows it and he's not trying to be. He's just being his own kind of Doctor and obviously having good fun with it. EDIT: Just watched second ep and while it doesn't make me like Matt Smith any more or less than I previously liked him, it does make me like Karen Gillan lots and lotses. I like that she's feisty and that it seems like, unlike previous companions, she's going to actually challenge the Doctor and argue with him and stuff. Not just sit there with puppy eyes when he's about to destroy the world and tell him to stop. I read an interview where Karen said Matt was like her annoying older brother, and I think that sort of shows in this ep, in a good way. Why do I have to be out of the country for the next one??

Torchwood. I have heard it is not on par with Doctor Who but seriously, John Barrowman. Need I say more? Also, awesome Welsh accents. I am seriously in love with the breadth and variety of British accents, and not just with that singular concept of "the British accent" (which almost always means the Oxford accent to Americans, including me before I lived here).

Changes by Jim Butcher. The most recent Dresden Files book, which just appeared in my mailbox and promises to be completely game-changing. I'm almost afraid to read it because I know I'll breeze through it in six hours and then be left waiting another year for the next one.

A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane. The most recent Young Wizards book, which also just appeared in my mailbox in the same shipment from Amazon and is only the book I have been waiting for ALL MY LIFE. Seriously. It's been FIVE YEARS since the last YW release and I've waited oh so patiently. This is worse than waiting for Harry Potter because a) there are no movies and b) the fandom is much smaller, so there are fewer people to understand your pain (however, the small-but-dedicated fandom is generally one of the things I love about YW, so I shouldn't complain). I'm definitely afraid to read this one because I have no idea how long it'll be until the next one appears, and I do not know what I will do with myself in the meantime and with the waiting. This isn't like Jim Butcher where I know he'll pop out a book a year, no sweat (which allows me to read them so quickly when they come out). Diane Duane is meant to be savored, in slow but intense portions. I would almost say it has to be read casually, except there's nothing casual about it. In fact, I don't even remember what it's like to read one of her books for the first time anymore. The last time I had that experience, I had only just gotten a livejournal and certainly didn't blog about it. I just emphatically don't want it to be gone.

Preparation for spring break trip will probably take more time/effort/energy than I give it credit for. I mean, I'm gone for 16 days which I'm spending in 5 cities in 4 countries in 2 time zones (though only one continent this time). By the end of the month I'll have seen where the Thirty Years' War started, the Cold War (symbolically) ended, the great temple to Athena was built to command an entire city, a man named Freud revolutionized our perception of selfhood, and the small Greek island immortalized courtesy of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It will be AMAZING. But try packing enough stuff for all of that in a small suitcase and you run into some issues (or at least I will...when I finally start packing the night before I leave).

Finally, it's sunny outside. Why in the world would I want to get things done when I could sit outside in the sunshine and just revel in the world being such a beautiful place?
readingredhead: (Doctor What)
Oh man. I have to wake up in six hours so I should probably get to sleep, but I have to say, I am more than justifiably obsessed with Doctor Who. Because it does everything that good fiction should do. It works on such an epic register but at the end of the day everything is personal. I'm still a little eh about how things ended up in this ep -- and by "eh" I mean there was more crying but also some fangirl squeeing because Rose/Ten is the CUTEST THING EVER (also, I think I am a fangirl. Oops?) -- but seriously it's just enthralling. I think it's because it speaks a language I understand; the universe of Doctor Who operates around the same series of tropes and metaphors I've come to structure myself around. I work because it works; it shapes who I am just as I hope to someday write my own shaping contributions to the massive and overwhelming oeuvre.

[Also, marvel at the fact that I have finally found a Doctor icon that meets my high standards. Problem with not possessing imaging programs beyond MS Paint: severely limited in personal icon-making abilities. Possibly a good thing? In the meantime, I need to sleep anyway since I really do need to wake up in six hours and it would be great to have at least one night where I get a good night of sleep.]


readingredhead: (Default)

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