Writer's Block: Time may change me ...
misc: v for vendetta: roses
People often focus on the things they'd love to change about their lives. What parts of your life would you choose to keep exactly the same?

At the risk of being obnoxious, I'm pretty happy with my life in general. I'm engaged to a man I love and wouldn't change for the world. I'm finally studying what I've always wanted to study. I have a great group of friends. I have an endlessly amusing (if evil) cat. I have books and video games and scrapbooking supplies. Life is pretty damn good at the moment. :)

Grad School
academia: books: the canon
This quarter has been busy, and so this journal has been neglected.

I'm stressed as usual, but I'm enjoying the classes I'm doing. I've finally finished the rather absurd coverage requirements that OSU has for its MA students, and can focus exclusively on medieval studies at last. I'm doing courses in medieval allegory, the Benedictine reform, and Middle English, all of which I love more than I can say. We did monastic sign language the other day, which I found so fascinating.

I met with my advisor today to discuss my MA portfolio, consisting of two potentially publishable papers, which I have to defend in front of a committee. I have my papers chosen, and I wanted to run them past her. One is the essay for which I won the Kahrl Prize and which I'm presenting in part at Kalamazoo; the other is an essay on Malory's Morte D'Arthur, male virginity, and mutilation, which the professor for that course really liked and thought I should publish.

Apparently, the portfolio is the preferred option of "weak students", according to OSU folklore. It makes more sense in my case than the crazy reading exam, though. It'll give me two publishable articles, and two potential chapters for my Ph.D. The reading exam would give me, uh, familiarity with a pile of books, most of which would be out of my area.

Besides, I'm preadmitted to the Ph.D, and most of the people who count know that I'm not weak at all.

Homemade Gummis
misc: housewife baking
Homemade gummi candy made with Jello! This is such a cool idea! I love gummis and I love how jello tastes, so it's like the perfect combination!

misc: maxx: shoot me
I'm pissed off and I need to get it out of my system before I grade any student papers. It's really petty too, so I'm annoyed that I'm pissed off about it.

In LOTRO, you get one of your legendary skills at the end of a quest chain, which involves getting boss-drops from instances. I've been batting to get groups for these instances for days, and I finally got one tonight. So, we fought to the boss that dropped it, and the minstrel in my group won the item, since they also need it. That was fine.

The leader of the group wanted to run the instance again, since he needed something else in it. I said that I'd be happy to do so, provided that I was able to get the boss-drop this time. When we got to the boss, I reminded everyone not to roll on the class item I needed . . . and the other lore-master in the group asked me what class item I meant. I explained the whole situation to him, and asked him not to roll on it this time, since I'd kind of booked it at the beginning of the run. Of course, asshole says "Sorry, I need it," rolls on it, and wins it.

I was so pissed. As I said to him, it was a dick move, because a) I'd already called the item and b) he didn't know about the item until I told him about it. If I'd kept my mouth shut, I would have won it.

PLUS, he had been on follow for half the map, so I'd been doing all the work. He literally came back from afk to roll for it.


Hopefully, I can convince some Barrovians to run me through it, since my kin is remarkably dick-free and awesome.

And, yes, I know how petty it is. It's an item in a MMO, and I can probably find another group. It's just I hate it when people are such raging dicks.

Writer's Block: Sunrise, Sunset
misc: cable/deadpool: monologuing
When you wake up, what's the first thing you think about? What's the last thing you think about before you fall asleep? Are they the same?

If I think at all when I wake up (which is debatable), it would be something like: "Aww. Phil's cute when he sleeps. I love him so much. Where is Miss Hobbes? Oh, there she is meowing at my feet and making me trip over her. Stupid cat. I need tea."

When I fall asleep, I tend to think about what I have to do the next day, or I tell myself stories that I plan to start writing the next day and end up not having time to do.

misc: words words
I always make New Year Resolutions, even though I'm not good at keeping them. I figure it's as good a time as any to take stock of your life and change aspects of it that you don't like.

For better or worse, these are my resolutions:

1) Become more healthy. I've gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of muscle tone since I've been in America. I'd like to get back to where I was, and perhaps even become a little fitter.
2) Take up karate again. I've found a new dojo that looks great, and I'd like to work on my martial arts again. It'll help with resolution 1.
3) Keep a budget and stick to it. I've been having problems managing my money, and it's sheer lack of discipline on my part. I'm not in debt or anything, but my savings have been steadily dropping.
4) Write fiction. I intend to have the rough draft of a novel done by the end of this year. It can be short, but it needs to be done.

Maybe I need to sit down and do another 101 in 1001.

Writer's Block: Reflections
misc: snow
What are your fondest memories of 2009? What were the low points? All told, what were the most significant events of 2009? Do you wish you could do it all over again?

I'll put the high points, since it's better than thinking about the low.

- Getting engaged in January. (This is obviously the highest point by quite some distance!)
- Traveling to DC and New York with Mom.
- Having my paper accepted at my first professional conference (Kalamazoo).
- Winning the Kahrl Prize for best graduate paper in either medieval or renaissance studies.
- Making new friends.
- Getting a PS3 and a large flatscreen tv. :P

misc: cable/deadpool: monologuing
I'm in that lazy post-Christmas mood where I don't feel like doing anything productive. I managed to get my syllabus written for next quarter, but otherwise I've been playing video games - mainly Dragon Age: Origins, Uncharted 2 and Rock Band 2 - and reading fun books - Unseen Academicals, Dragon Age: The Calling.

Yes, I am reading a book based on a video game. I'm pretty sure that's a shooting offense in grad school, but I don't actually care. It's actually a decent, little heroic fantasy, although it relies on you knowing the world and some of the characters from the game. Put it this way . . . It's a lot like a D&D campaign set in an existing world that the author already expects you to know. It doesn't have much of the careful, epic world-building of most heroic fantasy. Instead, it's all about the characterisation and plot, which is pretty nifty for a change.

Unseen Academicals is pretty entertaining, even if the social satire is more subtle (but no less pointed) than Pratchett's last few entries in the Discworld series. It took me a while to get into it, as it starts essentially as a take on football culture (soccer for you Americans) and Romeo and Juliet. I'm not British enough to be mad about footie, and so I wasn't grabbed by it from the start. It becomes a lot more interesting and complex as it progresses, though.

Tonight, I'm going to chill, watch some television, make some balsamic chicken for dinner. I'm trying to eat more healthily . . . and only semi-succeeding so far. :P

Writer's Block: All work and no play ...
misc: snow
When it gets unusually cold, snowy, and/or rainy, do you prefer to remain indoors? If there's a long stretch of bad weather, do you tend to get depressed and/or stir crazy? If so, how do you cope?

Coming from South Africa, I'd often spend hours in the winter sitting outside in the sun, and reading, writing and doing crafts. It was always much warmer than inside, as our houses are designed for our hot summers. So, now that I live in Ohio, I do go a little crazy having to spend most of my time indoors in the winter. I have not found a good way of dealing with it yet, other than to keep myself busy. Fortunately, grad school is all about keeping students more than busy. :P

I always provide such fascinating insights into life in my home country. I bet none of you knew it was hot back in Africa. :P

Easy Baked Ziti
misc: your meat team
I did a culinary experiment tonight, and it came out well, so I thought I'd share it with everyone.


* 2 cups ziti pasta
* 1 cup spaghetti sauce (I use Napa Valley Bistro's Homemade Marinara)
* 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
* 4 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon mrs dash's italian seasoning (a shake or two of the bottle)
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (a shake of the bottle)
* 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (a shake or two of the bottle)
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1/2 cup broccoli
* 1/4 lb ground beef (I use 10% fat, vegetarian-fed beef)
* olive oil


1. Cook and drain ziti as per box instructions. Set aside.
2. In a greased 9x9 pyrex dish, mix together spaghetti sauce, 1/4 c mozzarella, 1/4 c cheddar, 2T parmesan reggiano, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce.3.
3. In olive oil, saute garlic, broccoli and beef for a few minutes, until beef is brown. Season it to taste.
4. Add sauted ingredients and ziti to pan, and mix together well.
5. Top with remaining cheeses, and bake at 350F for half an hour.


The cheese is simply what I tend to keep in the fridge and therefore what I had to put the recipe together. It was a good combination, but you can substitute whatever you would like for it.

Equally, you can leave out the ground beef if you'd like it to be vegetarian. I would perhaps substitute some mushrooms, spinach, etc. for it.

My new icon is awesome. I want a meat team.


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