Two Words

You’re falling for her.
Because she’s smart.
Because she’s beautiful.
Because she knows how to laugh at herself.

She hasn’t said those two words yet.

So you let yourself think about her.
You let yourself think she thinks about you.
You wonder if she feels the same.
You wonder what you’re doing to yourself.

Then, she says those two words: my boyfriend.

Just go home.
You’re glad she has someone who can make her happy.
You’re just glad.
But you wonder what you’re doing to yourself.

Every time.

Just put a sign on your forehead.
“Warning: falls for your girl.”
It’s getting old, but
so are you.

Letting go.

You’re old enough now that you let it go.
Shake your head and laugh at yourself.
The sunset was made for silhouettes,
for chasing dreams and moments to forget.

Dear Mother… Dear Father… Dear No-Gender-Specific Parent…

In previous posts, I’ve discussed the reality of higher education and jobs, and I’ve gave you 5 very compelling reasons not to go to graduate school.  I’m more than happy to equip you with these tid-bits of information.

bou

However, you might be a person who has reached the graduate school level.  You probably did everything right and you don’t need my help.  Cool.  But, you need to know how to properly choose your adviser.  This is critical.  This is the person you are going to work closely with for the next 3-4 years of your life.  This person will shape how you think and what kind of researcher you will be.  They are your *insert field of study here* mother/father/parent.

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 You need to do proper investigation:

1)  Determine a professor’s research interests.

If you don’t care even a little about what someone is doing research in, you’ll hate your time and you will lack motivation and you will suffer.  Three years doesn’t seem like a long time, but it drags on and on.

dundun

Remember in High School when you would watch the clock during the last hour of the day… yeah, the last three years will be like that.

One way to get a really good idea of what a professor does: read his/her/their papers.  You may not be able to understand everything, but if you think “oh man, this is cool!” or “that is really interesting, I want to know more” or even “this goes over my head, I love the fact this person is a genius”… then you will want to take the next step with this professor.

intelligence

2)  Sit in on your POI.

First, it’s best if you’ve had a class with your POI or if you’ve attended a research presentation (which you should begin attending after your first semester) they’ve given.  Then, you know how this person teaches or how this person presents.  This helps in that you’ll know how they’ll advise/guide you.  You can determine whether their style works for you that way.

jim

3) Meet with the professor of interest (POI).

However, if you haven’t been so lucky… a meeting with your POI will have to do.  Tell them you are interested in research with them.  Ask them questions like: what basic background material would I need? or, what classes should I take? or, are there papers/books not given in class that I can read to do what you do? are you open to answering questions I may have?  how often will you expect me to meet with you?  what are other responsibilities you expect? etc.

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Problems with this method: people always behave better before you get to know them.  It’s later down the line that you will learn how wrong this person is for you.  The next item addresses how to avoid this.

3) Talk to students who are studying under or who have studied under your POI.

Students who have already graduated will most likely be more honest about their experience.   Students currently working with the POI may not be completely honest in fear; plus, it’s not very professional to spread gossip.  Despite this, though, you can tell by the answer (or lack thereof) what kind of professor he/she/they are.  A professor worthy of praise will be praised.  A professor who is hard in a disrespectful way will either have silent students or students who will complain behind closed doors.

4) REGs are an excellent way to judge a POI.

Most graduate programs will provide funding for summer research projects with professors.  Working with your POI for a summer is a great way to determine whether you will continue to work well together.

Note: Everyone has their annoying quirks.  You need to determine whether you can look beyond the POI’s treatment of you in order to obtain your degree.  Will this professor have you present at conferences and thus provide you networking relationships?  Will this professor help you submit several papers?  Will this professor be the one to help you pass your defense?  These are questions you can determine by asking the POI-students.  The compromise is determined by you.

Recommendation:  None of these things are worth giving up your dignity and self-respect.  Even if you don’t have any of the benefits, by walking away, you’ll at least have your self-worth.  I speak from my failure to do so..

fry

Share in the comments the way you chose your adviser!

It’s Not What You Think

Note:  Everything I say is based on my own college/graduate school experience.  To help others from making my mistakes.

Youth just don’t know.  They are listening to adults.  Adults who still think a college education is the end-all-be-all.  It’s not true anymore.

sad

For first generation students, you’ll go to college thinking: this is it.  After college I can be a self-sufficient adult, and I can start my own family.  I’ll have a career by time I am 23, so I’ll have children by time I’m 25.  It’s later than my own parents, but it’s okay because I’ll still be 45 when my own child goes to college. blah. blah. blah.  Graduating college is the biggest accomplishment first generation students will EVER think to strive toward.  At least.. that is how it was for me.

lucky1

sad-challenge-failed

I didn’t know anything.  My mom didn’t know anything.  My grandparents, my aunts and uncles, all the people I looked up to in my family didn’t know anything.  Teachers and guidance counselors never talk about anything except getting into college.  No one ever talks about what happens after the acceptance.. what happens in college.. what happens when you graduate.. students are so uninformed, it’s not even funny.  The best thing you can ever be is informed..

Many, many, many students are going to college now.  So many.  Just think about it.  Wikipedia (a source you aren’t allowed to use in ANYTHING, but it’s extremely useful) says there were 21 MILLION students in college in the US as of 2012.. There are probably at least 1 million more.. and that is only in the US.  If all these people are getting degrees, what is the point?

too many

That IS the point, isn’t it?  In order to get into a good college, it’s stressed for students to have good GPAs and to participate in clubs and to join Honor Societies and to volunteer and to diversify and to blah blah blah.  I’m in awe of the youth who do all of this AND have to deal with bullsh** in their personal lives.  YOU are amazing individuals.

It doesn’t end when you get in though.  You’re told that if you want a good job you have to keep doing all those things.  Except, there are more distractions when you are away from home for the first time.. and so many students suffer because they’ve made the wrong decisions regarding these exploits.  It’s more difficult to keep that GPA and participate in those clubs or to volunteer.. but, you can’t get that job without ALL these things.

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In fact, you have to do more than what you’re told.  You need INTERNSHIPS and WORK EXPERIENCE.  A college education isn’t enough anymore.  So many companies are looking for people who have 3+ years of experience.  Even if they are willing to hire a new graduate, they are looking for qualities that come from experience.  That means, you need to find out what these skills are and earn them in your 4 years of college.

It’s a lot.  I know… but you are competing with 21 MILLION students.. and many of those students are adults going back to get their education after the 3+ years of experience.  I don’t know about you, but I NEVER get picked for dodge ball when I’m a player and I ALWAYS choose the person who knows what they are doing when I’m the captain.

When you don’t have these extra tidbits under your belt, you’ll have a hard time finding a job.  That’s when you’ll contemplate graduate school.  You’re thinking: I went to college like I was supposed to.. I did everything I was told.. and it still wasn’t enough.. I’m still working this shi**y retail job serving these shi**y people.. I can’t do this the rest of my life.. What can I do?

And you think graduate school is the place to be.

im-not-sure-if-this-is-serious-or-a-good-joke

But it’s not.

In fact, it’s worse than getting a Bachelor’s degree.  I list reasons you shouldn’t go in another post.  You need more.  All the extracurricular activities (volunteer work, honor societies, internships, good GPA) that made you look good before still stand.. but now you need to submit/publish papers, present at conferences, teach classes, participate in research groups.. In other words, gaining your professional experience while earning your degree.. all the while pretending you know what you are saying and doing..  all the while feeling as though you are an imposter..

imposter

People without a higher education stress that higher education is the way to go because they see everyone around them getting raises and promotions.  It’s not true.  What you need to succeed is BOTH.  You need professional experience in your field of interest.  You need a degree to show those mother-effers that you are worthy.  You don’t need just one middle finger, you need both middle fingers straight up as a statement that you did more than everything right.  You went above and beyond.

Please share advice in the comments for the youth deciding upon undergraduate school or graduate school.

Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Go To Graduate School…

As a recent Doctor of Philosophy, it’s my job to inform youth (high school seniors and undergraduate seniors) what higher education involves.  This is the first of a series of blogs I will post.  Five reasons you shouldn’t go to graduate school:

1) If you are doing it because you don’t know what you want to do.

dontknow

Graduate school is a full blown commitment.  You are dedicating your LIFE to what you study.  You are Michelangelo on your back for weeks painting that Sistine Chapel ceiling.  You need to LOVE what you do in order to withstand the lack of blood flow to your fingers.  If you don’t love what you do, you will stop caring about everything around you and you will have wasted 5-6 years of your life instead of finding that something you care about.

2) If you are going under the impression a graduate degree will get you a better/higher-paying job.

tricked

I will post more about this in another blog.. but, this is the WRONG reason to get a higher education.  There is absolutely NO guarantee you’ll get a better job or a higher-paying job or any job for that matter.  You go to graduate school to learn.  Because you love to learn.  Because you love to help others learn.  WHY THE EFF ELSE WOULD YOU GO?!

3) If you don’t get funding.

BIGGEST MISTAKE is to go to graduate school without funding.  If 1) or 2) are true… and you don’t get funding.  You’re the biggest idiot ever (here’s looking at myself).. because if you don’t love what you do but you are thousands of loans in debt… you’ll feel trapped and will never be able to switch careers.  Or, if you can’t find a job to pay those loans back, you’ll be in debt forever.

debt

4) If you don’t know EXACTLY what to study.

You’ll have the greatest success in graduate school if you know exactly what kind of research you want to do.  You can take the correct classes and find the best adviser for your research.  If you go in blindly, you’ll end up taking the wrong classes and doing someone else’s research.  You’ll write your thesis on a topic you probably don’t care about, and that’ll be the experience that determines the jobs for which you’ll be eligible… trapping you in an area of research you’ll NEVER CARE ABOUT.

luck

5) If you’re going because all the cool kids are going.

coolkids

We’ve had it drilled into our heads: go to college.  you won’t get a job if you don’t go to college.  In a sense, this is true (I will write about this more later).  However, it’s also not so true because now we’re getting it drilled: go to graduate school, you’ll get a BETTER job if you go to graduate school.  Now, millions of kids are getting bachelors degrees and this devalues higher degrees.  In addition, half of those kids will try graduate school, making master’s degrees a dime a dozen and PhDs aren’t as rare as they used to be.  There is NOTHING wrong with a trade like electrician or mechanic.  Not everyone is meant to have a full blown college education.  Many people are better with their hands than with book learning.  Please don’t go because it’s what everyone else is doing.

What you should do:

Take time off from school.  Find something you want to do.  If that something requires you to go back to school, then so be it.  If it doesn’t, then you just saved yourself time, money, and pain.  Travel if possible.  If not, work jobs that humble you, that open your mind, that help other people.

Of course… what you should do and what is possible for us to do are two different things, unfortunately.

reality

2000 pages in 2 months

Honestly, I shouldn’t watch television.  I shouldn’t eat.  I shouldn’t sleep.  I should NOT be reading.  I have less than two months before my dissertation defense.

expert

But… I can’t put this series down.  Maybe you’ve heard of it… maybe you’ve seen it… maybe you’ve read it…  I’m talking about The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss.  That’s right, I’m talking about The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear.

The first quarter of this series is quite sad.  I’m not afraid to admit that I cried… just slightly embarrassed.  The second quarter was a bit addicting.. at least to me.  The third quarter was a change of pace compared to the others… then, I got to a slowing point.  And the last quarter is almost as good as the other parts.

bou

The story is autobiography-ish, so it is primarily character development.  How did this character get to the current person?  What are his defining moments?  What about him has not changed?  etc. etc.  The primary problem with understanding the development of Kvothe… it’s the fact that he is telling the story to a scribe.. so he is relaying what he wants the people in his world to know about him.  We learn what he deems are his defining moments.  We learn what he believes are his bad characteristics.  etc. etc.  Despite the narrow view of his person, we are being given the first glimpse into the “legends” story.  So, as readers, we are supposed to feel honored with this position.

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I have been completely enraptured with this story.  Except… well… the story is GREAT.  Then, about maybe 3 fourths of the way through the second book, Rothfuss ruined it.  It was going to be a great story.  Then, he went and made it a typical male-hero-gets-the-girl-sex-goddess story.  COME ON.  WHY do Jim Levensteins end up in bedrooms alone with Nadias?

jim

I just don’t understand.  I was reading this epic series, and then suddenly I’m bored.  Reading about this wild, sex Fae who Kvothe has “tamed” enough to return home.  The entire entry!  She’s naked.  He’s naked.  He was a virgin.  She teaches him the Kama Sutra. They spend one Fae month together. End of story.  SEE HOW EASY THAT WAS?!  I shortened about 10-20 chapters into 6 sentences.  I understand certain things in those chapters are important to our understanding of his character development.  But it really feels as though Kvothe is calling claims on bragging rights.. since HE is telling the story with the intent of informing the world of the truth.. and.. of course, this is the truth he must share…

lemon-eyeroll

I’m not quite done with the second book yet.. because I hit some rough terrain (see above).. but, I do recommend the story despite this.

Camp, women, and girls

WARNING: There may or may not be spoilers in this blog.

I’m guilty of spending hours on Youtube when I’m lonely. In those hours, I’m trying to get rid of that feeling. Only one thing does the trick, of course. GIRL ON GIRL SCENES.

obsessed

No. Not porno. What do I look like? A straight man? Obviously I mean movies like Kyss Mig/Kiss Me or Elena Undone. Clearly I mean shows like Faking it or Orphan Black or The L Word. You know I mean web-series like Starting From Now, Kiss Me I’m Famous, or recent explosion Carmilla. THOSE were the girl on girl scenes you thought of, right?

ANYWAY. Last night I stumbled across a trailer for a short movie called Camp Belvidere. The title basically tells you the location is at a camp. It’s like Dana and her not-named-because-famous counselor at Tennis Camp. Except, the camp isn’t specifically tennis, and it’s a counselor-nurse relationship.

The trailer already gave away that the story’s setting is… some time before these shorts

vintage

were out of style so long that they’re now coming back into style… side note: why would you ever bring these shorts back into style?

I, of course, enjoyed the kissing in the trailer.. because I am like a 13 year old boy, as we established with my Pokemon blog… although the age may vary. However, I am wary about stories based on these older-woman-younger-woman relationships. Especially since Loving Annabelle and Bloomington were so BAD. I mean… a lot of people like the movies (which you can watch both on Hulu for free btdubs)… but I just can’t get into them. Why? 1) They’re super slow. 2) As a future professor, I cannot condone teacher-student relations.. no matter how hott a student might be. 3) Not enough sex, obviously.

lemon-eyeroll

Back to Camp Belvidere. After reading some of the comments, I thought: “everyone keeps saying this movie is great, despite that it’s like 38 minutes long. It must be the best 38 minutes of their lives.”

I wanted to have the best 38 minutes of my life too.

So I went to Vimeo to rent the movie. I highly recommend you do the same. If you want more movies with Lesbian-centric story lines… well, you should support the directors and writers who make them, duh.

And…

it wasn’t THE best 38 minutes of my life.. but.. let’s just say.. I didn’t want the movie to be over. You’re already pulled into the primary story within minutes of the opening. Let’s also say that the pulling begins with lots of sexual tension.. and a little bit a canoodling.

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What also becomes clear is Nurse Gin is in a lot of pain from past experiences, and possibly.. hopefully.. the ethics of relations with someone who you have authority over. But… as is often portrayed in movies with a similar story, Rose is youthful and persistent because she hasn’t quite experienced the number of blows life deals you over time.

The major difference I learned between this movie and others like it is that Gin and Rose both work at the camp.. Gin isn’t exactly in a position of authority over Rose. So, I quickly got on the #Rosin ship (clever, right? I came up with that all by my lonesome).

Not only that.. but.. I hope Astrid Ovalles never sees this.. that woman is one the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.. despite the silly nurse outfit she wore in the movie. I COMPLETELY understand why Rose went nuts.  I’m much more awkward than Rose. I wouldn’t even be able to look that woman in the eyes. If I had a nurse as pretty as Gin… I probably would’ve tried to find a new nurse.

DON’T JUDGE ME.

reality

Anyway.  It’s not just that first 6 minutes we need to talk about.. there’s also the use of the camera.  We get up close and personal with facial expressions the whole way through.  If there is ever a best way to express the emotions within a person, it’s to study their face.  That was the best decision by the director.  We even see the know-it-all, pass-judgement-on-you face of Ms. Turner, and the excited-she-spoke-about-me-there’s-hope-yet face of Bobby.  I don’t even need to mention the clear internal torment of Gin, and the sadness of Rose.

That was all the in-between stuff that you hopefully watched.  And.. the ending was perfect too.  Typically, a happily-ever-after ending always leaves me cynical.  For example, in Imagine Me and You, we know that Luce and and Rachel are finally together and probably finally have sexy times later that night.  But, I roll my eyes and remember that beginning a new relationship is not all the bliss movies try to sell.

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The other extreme is a lesbian movie trope for some reason: someone dies, or goes back to men, etc.  This doesn’t leave me cynical… it leaves me super depressed… like, wtf just happened?… for example, Piper Perabo’s other movie Lost and Delirious where Tori is trying to date boys again and, as a result, Paulie kills herself.

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Camp Belvidere did the most perfect thing ever.. and I’m not talking about Astrid Ovalles being forever engraved in our minds through our eyes… I’m talking about the very last scene where Rose and Gin are laying in bed after sexy times, and Rose basically asks “what now?” and Gin basically answers “I don’t know.”

YES.

They have just opened a new chapter, and they don’t know what comes next because it hasn’t been written yet.  It could be that happily-ever-after, although unlikely.. or it could be Hell on Earth.  They could stay together forever, or they could break up after camp is over.  NO ONE KNOWS.  THAT IS THE POINT.  The future is this big, dubious thing-a-ma-bob that you tackle.  Hopefully, #Rosin …. ;) … tackles it together.

QUICK!  Someone make this into a fan video!

Watch Camp Belvidere.  Let me know what you thought about the movie.  Let me know if my blog led you to watch the movie.  Go rent it. NAO.

Pokemon! oooooooh you’re my best friend

When I was a kid, I was really into Pokemon.  I think it’s like a right of passage for children.. at least it was for little boys.. and I was basically a little boy, despite what my amazing body tells everyone.  I watched the show, the movies.  I sang the theme song like it was my last day on Earth.  I played the regular Pokemon games: red, blue, gold.  I played the unique ones: stadium, snap.  My favorite one, however, was The Pokemon Trading Card Game.

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How do I remember it was my favorite?  Well… recently, I found my Game Boy Color game, The Pokemon Trading Card Game.  And… well, I’ve been playing it.  Correction.  I beat it.  DON’T JUDGE ME.  I’m surprised by how much fun I had.  maybe it’s the strategy.. maybe it’s the nostalgia.. “whatever it is, she’s got”…

don’t mind me.  I was just singing.

Back to how much I enjoyed the game.  OH YEAH.  I bought actual cards, and I am now a member of the Trading Card Game online.  Do I feel silly playing a game my 9 year old brother plays?  YES.  Do I feel pedophile-ish when I am chatting with children on how to get this damn system to work?  NO.  But I feel silly again.  It’s okay though.  Because

I’m BUILDING MY ONLINE COLLECTION FOR WHAT WILL BE THE BEST DECK EVER.

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Will I feel silly when I crush all the children in a match?  NO.  I will feel superior, as does any grown ass adult who puts the smack down on some children.. who may or may not have equivalent skill.

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