Archive for September, 2008

barcodes and wireless: tales from the library.

Posted in etcetera, facebook is the new crack, forward my mail, i promise you that you won't care, the joys of living in Florida on September 29, 2008 by drbolte

i’ve been in the library for about two and a half, three hours. i’ve been on the internets for way too much of that, but i also wrote 500 of the 1000 words that have been plaguing me. i’m about to write the remaining 250, and then i will move on with my life and i’m glad about that.

i don’t usually come to the library. mainly because i hate it. this new, wickedly expensive, and incredibly ill-designed library does have lots of places to study, but they’re all in these wide open spaces of designated study areas.  i prefer years past, when i would take the elevator to the eighth floor of the nc state stacks and lose myself in a carrel. there were people around, but there were also books. everywhere.  so you felt like you were hidden in a little hole that kept you safely far from annoying people.  and noise.

alas, that is not the case here.

i’m on the 4th floor, which is supposed to be the quiet floor.  the people who are sitting around me haven’t said a word.  they’re good. but these quiet floor study areas are conveniently located next to the loud, raucuous group study rooms (see ill-designed nightmare).  oh well.

taking a page from copper boom, because i want to, here are some of the things that i have thought since i’ve been here:

  • are those girls, sitting across from each other at that table with their headphones on and laptops in front of them, actually IMing EACH OTHER?
  • these chairs are ugly. who put these colors together?
  • why is it necessary for that girl to continue to hold her guy’s hand ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE AISLE?  we get it. he’s yours. you are in love.  move on already.
  • these little slidey elliptical tables on the side of the chairs are cool.  and golf guy just moved one from another chair.  who knew?
  • i’m pretty sure backwards baseball cap guy (not as cute as luke, unfortunately) sat at that table just so that he could try to hit on IMing girl.  she is not having it.  she is in the highlighting zone.
  • i have the worst view ever.  roof tiles.  but they’re kind of pretty.  is there a pattern….?
  • why are these chairs SO UGLY? who would put orange and blue together….oh.  sigh.
  • wireless is the reason that i get nothing done.
  • haha.  no chairs.  sucker.
  • starbucks must make a frickin’ fortune off of these people.  why exactly can’t they funnel some money into the english department?  or at least buy some nice big ottomans?  this chair is not the most comfortable thing ever.  next time, i bring a pillow.

back to work, y’all.


flounder isn’t just a fish.

Posted in dissertation, drama drama drama, going quietly mad on September 28, 2008 by drbolte

i ate two chocolate chip muffins on friday. i haven’t eaten baked goods from a grocery store bakery in AGES. i haven’t touched a vegetable in days.  the dinners for the past two days have consisted of basically ramen and some meat.

i snapped at my roommate because i was frustrated about something entirely different.  i apologized, and all is well, but i did it.

i sprawled on my bed on friday afternoon and watched grey’s anatomy instead of doing anything productive. i got up, went to the gym, and came home and did some more nothing.

1000 words are paralyzing me.  ONE THOUSAND WORDS. i have no idea why.

i haven’t even started on the paper that i am supposed to present at a major professional conference in approximately two and a half weeks.  i also still haven’t made my rental car reservation for that trip.

i am currently contemplating basically moving into the library because home is no longer a place where i can work. as much as that pains me to say, it’s very true. i have no idea how to effectively do that, since i’ve never had to do it in my entire life, so any suggestions would help.

i feel overwhelmed, and wish i had someone to take some of the load off, but i genuinely have no idea what anyone could help with even if they were willing (which i know so many are).

bottom line: i’m struggling. a lot.

good news friday, vol one: underdogs.

Posted in faith is action, fall is football, the glass is half FULL on September 26, 2008 by drbolte

i don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but the world is not a happy place right now.  turn on cnn, or go to, go to the gym in the morning and plant yourself in a bike in front of the tv playing bloomberg information television, and you’ll see it.

it’s not pretty.

and while i suppose i could moan, shake my fists at the heavens, whine, complain, fret, panic, and freak, i would rather not.  i have my reasons for refusing to fear–mainly my faith.  i refuse to panic. panic never got anyone anywhere.  deliberate, careful, measured action, not fear, guides the wise.  so that’s what i’m trying to do.

but that’s not what this post is about. that’s all just a preamble to say–the news is bad. and DEPRESSING. and that’s not all that’s going on in the world, you know?  good things are happening all around us. but the good things aren’t sexy, so people don’t report on them.

so from now on, in an effort to promote some faith, hope, and optimism, i’ll be presenting a good news moment.  today’s comes from the world of college football, but there’s a principle behind it. so even if you don’t like and follow college football (WHAT?!?), stick with me here.

the scene: corvallis, oregon, where oregon state is located.

what: the showdown between oregon state and usc, the number one ranked school in the nation.  unstoppable against ohio state and quick to smash virginia, usc seemed unbeatable, even on the road.  oregon state, though, has a history of being able to topple the giants with one well-aimed pebble from their football slingshot.

at halftime, the oregon state beavers had kept the usc trojans to 0 and 60 some-odd yards.  SIXTY YARDS IN THIRTY MINUTES OF PLAY.  the score was 21-0.  the third quarter saw the trojans come back, and they narrowed the gap to 7.

and then this happened:

sometimes, the underdogs do win.  sometimes, it’s about finding opportunities and being ready for them.  sometimes, believing that the amazing can happen and running with all your heart towards that amazing is more important than your qualifications. sometimes,  even though you’re 5’7″ and everybody counted you out, you become a college football player–and wake up one day the biggest star in college football overnight.

life is about heart and not about the odds, or what anybody tells you, or how much you have to face.

sometimes beavers are bigger than mighty trojan warriors.

sometimes underdogs win.

happy friday everyone.  run towards your particular brand of amazing.

really more like a big giant chasm.

Posted in dissertation, drama drama drama, etcetera, going quietly mad, sigh on September 25, 2008 by drbolte



it completely escaped my mind. it wasn’t on my daily to-do list, and i hadn’t checked my calendar to see the last time i wrote him, and so it’s been MORE THAN TWO WEEKS and it’s never been that long between letters, not in TWO YEARS, and i hate that i am ending his mission like this. i am a terrible friend.

or maybe i’m really not, and he’s the most forgiving person in the whole entire world and so when i email him and tell him what’s up and that IT’SCOMING!ISWEAR! he’ll probably laugh at me.  in fact, i know he will.

but i hate it.

i hate that really important, essential things are slipping through the cracks. and that there’s not really anything more that i can do about it.

i need another me.

dissertation lesson number 459.

Posted in dissertation, drama drama drama on September 24, 2008 by drbolte

when the english library specialist tells you when you FIRST START GRADUATE SCHOOL AT THIS INSTITUTION that, when you request articles or books from interlibrary loan because we are a state school and don’t have subscriptions to things like european romantic review even though it’s the foundational journal in my field and associated with the foundational organization in my field, you should really put the ISBN and accession number on there to speed processing?


i could do the happy dance all day for the turnaround time since i started doing it.  usually? about 12 hours.


do you understand how amazing that is?

i bow down at the feet of john van hook and his nuggets of library knowledge.


or: don’t procrastinate your research.

the end.

the one thing NOT on my to-do list.

Posted in blogging, dissertation, i'm so much cooler online, the internets, will work for food, wish i may wish i might on September 24, 2008 by drbolte

i am tired.

it’s a good kind of tired, i suppose, but tired nonetheless.

and it’s only wednesday.

before october 1st, i have about one million things to do.

yeah, i don’t know why i’m here either.

except to say that i’m going to san francisco in december. to interview for jobs that i have yet to apply for.  i made my reservations at the hotel yesterday, with a friend who’s going to split the room with me.  we’re about five blocks from chinatown and close to union square. she’s never been to SF and i haven’t been there in AGES, so since we’ll be there for MANY days (saturday through tuesday…it feels like many when you’re paying san francisco prices which interestingly enough are less than detroit prices), i feel that sightseeing will be in order.

when we were sitting there in front of the computer, about to click the “reserve” button, my heart nearly pounded out of my chest.


please pray that i will get lots of interviews.  i can’t imagine how depressing it would be to go, spend the money, and then have no interviews to show for it.  we’ll mix and mingle and be incredibly schmoozey, to build relationships, but still. my cv isn’t the strongest, but there’s creativity in my work and a diversity in my approach.  if i can get interviews, i can sell them.  i am a good interviewer.

bah. can’t think about it.

yesterday i also had a job search meeting with the job search guru, the assistant/associate/idon’tknowtherightterm graduate coordinator.  he’s awesome and answers all of my random questions without making me feel like i am a) crazy and b) needy (both of which i most certainly am, a little bit, when it comes to this subject).

i asked him about this blog.

i’ve been wondering if it’s a liability, given that i talk about the dissertation, my life, teaching, shoes, and all manner of ridiculousness that surrounds my life as a grad student.  once upon a time, he said that they googled people, or might, in the course of job searches.  that makes sense. i google things all of the time.

(my best friend makes me google things from australia. i am the googler.)

but i wondered if somehow because this was not a particularly anonymous blog, if it would hurt me.  i got to thinking…i am not ashamed of anything that i’ve written here.  i could answer questions about it in an interview, if needed.

what i didn’t expect was for amazing job search guru to tell me to USE IT.  that if i felt comfortable enough, i could use it as evidence of my engagement with a larger cultural/textual community.

i don’t think i will, but it sure made me feel better. he said “talking to you about it, it’s pretty clear it’s not at all a negative.” and that made me very happy, and will make you happy because it made me reconsider getting rid of this blog and starting a new, anonymous one.  which you didn’t even know i was thinking about, did you?

yeah, i don’t tell you everything.

last thing, which is actually quite exciting to me and that fact is rather pathetic, is that i get to go office supply shopping on friday or saturday.  i have to get printer ink (oy. i’ll be bankrupt in seconds.) and highlighters, printer paper, and some sort of system by which to keep track of my job search stuff. i’m thinking posterboard to make a chart and some stickers or something. like elementary school!  yay!  i’m imagining that it will take me quite a while to figure out my system.  if, you know, by a while you mean the fifteen minutes i allot myself before the alarm bell in my head that tells me i have hundreds of pages to read and many more pages to write and WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT PENS YOU CRAZY?!?

but it should be fun.

back to the to-do list, which contains items like “shower” and “get dressed” because, really, those are important markers of a successful day.

and if i don’t schedule them, they may not get done.


because apparently i’m bipolar.

Posted in dissertation, facebook is the new crack on September 23, 2008 by drbolte

someone on my facebook* wall today, responding, i guess, to my status which said that i was “somewhere doing something that took effort, and wished to be somewhere else doing something that didn’t”:

“you’re an interesting person. one day, you’re all excited about homework and dissertation and then the next day it’s the most vile and evil thing in the world. i find it kind of amusing.”

glad i can be of service.

*also, if we’re not facebook friends, that’s lame.  email me.