all good in the hood

in a nutshell: i came back from anaheim, i watched many episodes of the oc, i was at the epicenter of a bout of rather upsetting drama in my main social group, i went to pt. reyes to see the elephant seals again, i started the semester, i got really sick, and just now my feet touched the ground and i breathed again.

it's nice to breathe.

yesterday i had one of those days i'm coming to think of as my "Incompetent Dumbass" days. like that, with the capital letters that are oh so rarely produced on these august pages. basically ID days are where you walk around doing all your normal stuff but you just can't escape the conviction that deep down you are an Incompetent Dumbass and everyone knows it and they're just humoring you.

(and i know i'm not really so you don't have to say that.)

then i was walking down the hall after a class and i said to a.b 'i feel so incompetent this semester' and he was like 'why?' and then the professor walked up behind us and said 'i'm behind you, just so you know, in case you're talking about me'. and i said 'no, i was just saying i feel incompetent this semester.' and he was like 'why? you're not, your homework was good, etc. etc.' so then not only am i the Incompetent Dumbass but i'm THAT incompetent dumbass, the one who hangs around fishing for people to tell them they really aren't an incompetent dumbass! then i slunk home, covered in shame.

today was fine though. and i did spend some time thinking about that whole phenomenon and i have figured out what i think is the hard part for me about this back-to-school scenario. it's not suddenly having to study every spare waking moment, it's not the weird aches and crackles that come from sitting hunched over my laptop in an incredibly nonergonomic way for 8, 12, 16 hours at a time, and it's not even never having any money and not having any idea how i will pay my rent this summer.

the hard part is the status drop. i had a job, i had a good job, where people liked and respected me and they knew i was good at what i did. people asked me how to do things and they wanted me on their projects. i felt competent. now i have literally started over, i have to prove myself all over again. and i don't feel competent, because...i'm really not. i barely know anything yet, i feel somehow like i know less and less every day. so although i am doing well in the program, i still am unpleasantly surprised at times by how infantilizing it can be.

luckily, all that is counterbalanced by the belief that i am doing exactly what i'm meant to do be doing.


in other news, i just received the following email from my roommate.

"Hey guys. I just got about 2 dozen beagles from the Jewish student organization. They’re fresh!!!! Apparently the Jews love the beagles and like me like to articlize things. I’ll be home with them by 9:30."

who knew the jews love the beagles so much.
and how do you tell which ones are fresh?
and who's gonna clean up all the poop?


lsa 2k7


unable to think about much beyond the now. and i'm okay with that.

i knew this conference would be amazing on an intellectual level. i didn't expect it to be so on a social level as well. we are a tribe, we meet for talks and debriefing and to go eat or drink and we stay up laughing too late. last night i slept on a makeshift contraption made of two chairs facing each other with a footstool in between. they are large and comfy and all about the same height so when you shove them together to eliminate the gaps, it makes a pretty good little sleeping nest. i am feeding myself on coffee and balance bars during the day. last night was indian food with colleagues and faculty.

and all around me are people who speak my new language.


almost home

rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.

i am well here in the land of white and cold (less white and less cold than usual for this time of year). i've been here for almost two weeks and tomorrow i leave for the OC and my first national linguistics conference. i am so excited, my only annoyance is that too many awesome talks happen at the same time, and i have to choose between On the syntax of exhaustive control & the calculus of events control on the one hand, and Usage or grammar? Comprehension & production share access to same probabilities on the other. how is one even supposed to choose? yeah you know what i'm saying.

it has been interesting to be here this time because i am more disengaged from the whole relationships tangle than i have been in years. so i'm really HERE in a very comfortable way and the two weeks have passed so quickly. most days i haven't felt like turning on the computer at all, and when i did it was usually just my laptop (no wireless here) to noodle around with perl.

yes, i am drifting back toward my nerdish roots. i never used it that much before, but this week as i worked on a large spreadsheet for my research job i thought "i could do this much more easily with perl." so i went and bought the camel book and then realized that perl was originally designed by a linguist. for the last few days i've been having a little affair with my camel book, we sneak off whenever we can for a little intellectual nookie. you can take the girl out of programming...

so. now to anaheim for a few more days of brainy goodness. when i get back to oaktown (represent!) i want to reflect a little on the experiences of my first semester of grad school and what i learned, and i want to set some intentions for the new year. but through sunday i'm happy to say that i will be thinking of little other than linguistics and linguists, flooding all the corners of my rested mind with tasty facts for hours and hours on end. yum.

now my dear mother wants us to go pick up dinner. burritos. "the most fantastic burrito you've ever had," she says. i didn't have the heart to remind her that i come from burrito nirvana, where one's taqueria preference is more a matter of religious identity than whim. oh cancun, cancun, why have you forsaken me? fire up the grill, i'm almost home.