Plague Monkey

It’s Sunday night.

Boston is currently a plague zone with three quarters of the population infected with a mystery flu.

I never get a flu shot.

My partner in crime was lain out for four days with said flu.

We spent this morning podcasting.

Then I went to rehearsal.

I’ve been under pre-semester stress/pressure lately and this overwhelming fatigue is, I’m beginning to worry, perhaps something more than just overwhelming fatigue.

Halfway through rehearsal I realized I was having trouble reading my script.  Not because my printer is faulty or my eyes are bleary, just because I was having trouble reading.

I may be contaged.

…classes start Wednesday.  I don’t have time for this.

Which means I’m definitely contaged.


Just Another Manic Monday

I know that I’ve been doing a lot of lists lately, but finals land is inexorably vast this year… I don’t recall hell-time being this long last year… maybe I’m just wearing my rose-colored denial glasses.

Right now (as in I have actually put work into all of these projects at some point this evening), I am:

 -Doing final prep on my presentation for Thursday. What is life without powerpoint, I ask you?

-Finishing up the grades for one of the classes I’m TAing. Ethically, all I can say about this is that it happened. At some point I will find a way to talk about grading in general enough terms that I don’t feel like I’m betraying confidences. That day is not today. I look forward to that day as I know I have learned a lot from the experience of commenting upon and critiquing the students’ writing, and I feel as though these lessons are universally applicable. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

 -Working on the official twitter feed for the Comparative Drama Conference. This

The CDC conference hotel.  I took this shot last year.  Yea, that hotel is pretty sweet.

The CDC conference hotel. I took this shot last year. Yea, that hotel is pretty sweet.

is particularly exciting; by my calculations (if we get the feed up successfully, which is a small if right now but an if nonetheless) it will be the first official twitter feed for a national conference in the humanities. The digital age has officially hit academia, and I can’t be more proud to be one of its heralds. There’s nothing on the feed at this moment (and we’re looking at a few weeks before you see anything exciting happen), but nevertheless go check us out at Give us a follow, keep an eye on us, let us know how we’re doing. Then, when we’re all in Baltimore, we can have a drink and talk about how great the internet is.

 -Working on some dramaturgy bits and bobs for Measure. We’re bracing for impact as we wind up to wind down over the break. I’m headed to rehearsal on Thursday to have a listen to the text and then on Monday, December 10th the cast gives me a full run for my birthday (which, by the by, is December 11th… right smack during the middle of hell-time… I have reconciled myself to the fact that I will, for the rest of my life, be inordinately stressed out on my birthday).

 -Doing final dilly-dallying with outlines and research before I draft out paper number one. I was going to do this tonight, but a Sandy-granted extension gave me a little more wiggle-room on the timeline. I am also waiting on an e-mail from an archivist to see if I can’t do another archive dive to bolster this paper, but plan to forge forward tomorrow one way or another.

PiC and I on a boat this weekend past.  It was his birthday, so we threw tea into Boston harbor.  It seemed legit.

PiC and I on a boat this weekend past. It was his birthday, so we threw tea into Boston harbor. It seemed legit.

-Waiting on a call from my partner in crime to tell me that the first release of Offensive Shadows has gone live. We wrote the copy this afternoon and he’s uploading the sound as we speak, so by the time this is posted it may very well be up. If not, I’ll be updating the twitter feed and the facebook group when things are all green lights over there. Prepare for Shakespeare awesomeness!

-Finishing up some loose-ends classroom business for my own coursework (regular reading, message board posting, etc.). One of the great things about an academic schedule is how fast-paced it is; as soon as you get into a rhythm, or really feel like you know anything about anything, suddenly the world shifts on you. This semester has been great, but I can definitely say that I’m ready for some world-shifting. The projects I’m working on now, however, will definitely stay with me and I’m hoping that they will be extremely fruitful future endeavors. After all, “publication” ain’t just an eleven letter word.

-Setting up and administrating forums for my Shakespeare reading group. Because, like I said, the internet is a wonderful thing.

Alright, since I’ve clocked a solid fourteen hour day, I think I’m putting it down for the night. At least… as soon as the podcast goes live.

Catch you later!

Summer Days… Drifting Away

Can you believe it’s July already?  That reality check as I looked at my calendar reminded me that summer is in full swing and I had better settle into it and stop waiting for it to happen because otherwise I’ll miss it before it’s even occurred (…plug that into your TARDIS and parse it, I dare you!).

As I have previously mentioned, this summer my schedule is full to the brim with important self-propelled projects.  Large items on the docket include:

Learning to Read German: This requires the most tenacity of any of the projects which are currently on my desk.  Turns out learning a new language is, while not more difficult than I remember it being, more time-consuming.  This is likely because I’m attempting to cram the entire thing into my head in the matter of mere months.  Well… that’s not entirely accurate.  I’m attempting to cram the skills which I will need to read it effectively into my head in a matter of mere months.  These skills include: an understanding of grammar (a

This was my preliminary flashcard stack… it has since grown by at least 300%

little… complicated in German.  Very different from English, not so different from other things I’ve previous done, but definitely convoluted until you figure out how to break it down into its bits and memorize those bits… it’s the memorization part that’s tricky), an understanding of how to utilize a dictionary (not as straightforward as it sounds… curse you, German, and your crazy compound words!), and a giant vocabulary.  Vocabulary acquisition/retention is what takes up the bulk of my time.  Every day, I am learning between 50-70 new words.  That’s a LOT.  On my desk sit stacks of flash cards that grow and thrive between each passing day.  I have a pile system.  It’s nice to see things I know today that I didn’t know yesterday represented in such a graphic way.  However, problematically, since my class moves SO quickly, learning all the things in my “to-learn” pile just means I have to make more flash cards.  This has caused me no small amount of stress (since there’s CONSTANTLY something else to do and I can’t really ignore the giant stack of index cards that sits RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE), but I keep having to remind myself that a language is all-inclusive.  I guesstimate that I have acquired the reading level of an eight-year-old.  That’s pretty friggen good for one month of hard study.

Brushing off Papers for Publication: Publish or Perish ain’t just an old sailor’s adage, folks.  In fact, many respected academics say that publishing is the most important part of a PhD candidate’s marketability as a job candidate.  The job market the way it is, I need to be as flawlessly perfect as I can be (and as attractive to potential employers).  And that means publishing.  And that means a lot of work on top of the work I’ve already done to produce these papers in the first place.  Unfortunately, since this task is slightly easier to ignore than the tribble-like flash cards that litter my desk, this doesn’t take up as much of my time as it should.  That said, I hope to have at least two papers floating in the publication ether by the end of the summer.  Three would be better, but I’m trying to be realistic and not drive myself absolutely bonkers trying to accomplish something that’s only kinda feasible if I stop sleeping and going to the gym.

Learning to Play the Ukulele: While recently attending the wedding of some dear friends, I

someday, maybe I’ll be as cool as Amanda Palmer

came to the realization that since I’m a less-than-mediocre guitarist, I’d probably be halfway decent at playing a ukulele.  The idea percolated and I realized that it was perhaps the perfect way to spend my copious amounts of free time (did you hear the sarcasm in my font?).  So far, I was right!  The ukulele is perfect for me because it is small, lady-like, has four strings (four strings for four fingers instead of six strings for four fingers… it’s like heaven!), and doesn’t carry the asshole connotations that a guitar does.  Also, it’s interesting.  “Oh, yea, in my spare time, I play the ukulele”.  Who says that?  (…other than me now….).  It’s also portable; I have handbags that are larger than my uke… and I don’t eve have a small uke! (she’s concert-sized, for anyone to whom that would mean anything, and her name is Jojo after the wonderful lady  who hooked me up with chord charts and learners’ resources).

Going to the Gym: A constant process, and one I’m trying to get better at before school devours me.  During my first year, I was pretty consistent about being a 2-3 times a week gym bunny.  I’m trying to bump this to 3-4 times a week.  Can she do it?  Let’s find out…

Starting a Podcast: If you haven’t visited the links section of the site in a while, you probably won’t have noticed that I’ve added a few (…and also a page for my sundry extracurriculars… in case you aren’t tired of listening to me rant about grad school here, you can see me do it at other places on the internet!).  One of these links is to the site that is going to host the podcast which myself and my partner in crime have been cooking up.  Several months ago, he came to me with the idea to start it and, always being game for things involving Shakespeare and things involving my partner in crime, I said “let’s do it”.  Well, we’ve been busting our butts to make the dream a reality and, in the next week or two, look for our first broadcast.  We’re going to be chatting about Shakespeare’s canon in approximate chronological-to-how-he-wrote-them order in 15-minute-a-week intervals.  Our first show: Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus Andronicus.  Should be good fun!

Preparing for the Fall: At the back of my head, I’ve constantly been reminding myself of the

Last summer, I could get some R&R right at work (… Beach-Themed dance party at the studio)

mental fortitude required to live out a year in academia.  I need to get some R&R in this summer if it kills me or, come fall, it really will kill me.  I do have a tiny vacation planned, and have been orchestrating some exceedingly fun outings with friends (by the by, 5-wits events are TOTALLY worth going to especially if the idea of being a super-spy or steam-punk adventurer for the afternoon at all fills you with any sense of childish glee).  I’ve also been trying to take it as easy as I can between everything else, not beat myself up too much if my to-do lists are slightly behind, and enjoy some good ol’ fashioned vitamin D every chance I get.  With any luck, this will be enough to recharge my batteries so that I can be rearing to go come September.

So for now, I think I’m going to grab myself an iced tea with mint and blueberries, and return to this persistently propagating pile of plosives.  How’s your summer going?

The Scottish Play

Now that I’m sitting at my own desk and have my full computing capacity (my netbook is wonderful for some tasks, but its tiny brain combined with bad hotel wireless connections can be extremely limiting), I’d like to share with you the talk I gave this past weekend.  It’s entitled “The Scottish Play” and was presented at the National Gothic Fiction Conference in San Diego, CA on March 17, 2012.

This is a bit unconventional for an academic to be posting her work in such a public forum, but the way I see things: once it’s out there, it’s out there.  I’m not bashful about the quality of my work, I’m proud of my presentation style, and I truly think that the academy is an institution based upon the primary precept of sharing ideas.  So here’s some food for thought for you, I hope you enjoy it!

Podcast of the Black Swan Episode 7: How We Spent our Winter Vacation Part 4

When we last left our heroes, they had been picked up by Disney’s security team (headed by the one and only Goofy) for wandering forbidden zones of the park and brought to the office of none other than The Mouse himself.  While waiting for The Mouse to be ready for them, Matt and Dani continued to broadcast from their jury-rigged blackbox and took some time to ponder the performative aspects of the Disney theme parks.  They were then advised that The Mouse was ready to see them and, courage steeled, they entered Mickey’s Inner Sancturm…. For the full low down, have a listen to our last episode here!

And so, I give to you the stunning conclusion of our podcast mini-series, “How We Spent our Winter Vacation”.  Yet again, crazy amounts of thanks to the ever-talented Matt Rosvally and the vocal stylings of Billy Maloy.

Check it out here!  I hope you’ve enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed creating!

Podcast of the Black Swan Episode 6: How We Spent our Winter Vacation Part 3

When we last left our heroes, they had been kidnapped by pirates in search of the precious blackbox from which said heroes were broadcasting.  Still in possession of the blackbox, Matt and Dani whiled away their time in the pirates’ captivity by discussing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Upon the discovery that apparently pirates can’t really tie bonds properly, our heroes escaped through a clearly-marked exit sign only to discover that they were in Disney World.  For the full low-down, have a listen to our last episode here!

And now, the adventure continues with part three of our mini-series “How we Spent our Winter Vacation”.

As per usual, special thanks to the incredibly talented Matt Rosvally.  Click here to check it out!


Podcast of the Black Swan: Episode 5

When we last left our heroes, they had been broadcasting from a quasi-functional blackbox in a hotel room in Orlando, fondly reminiscing about the now-defunct “Jaws”  attraction at Universal Studios, Florida, and only occasionally interrupted by the blackbox’s previous contents.  Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, the hotel room was infiltrated by a group of surly pirates who promptly attacked with their advanced technologies and rendered our heroes unconscious.  For the full low-down, check out our last episode here!

Today, the adventure continues with the exciting new installment of our Podcast mini-series: “How We Spent our Winter Vacation”.  Click here to check it out.

As always, many thanks to the ever-talented Matt Rosvally and once again thanks to the voice talents of Billy Maloy.


Podcast of the Black Swan Episode Four: Jaws

So here it is, the long-awaited first installment of our Disney and Universal vacation inspired

Left to Right: Matt, Jaws, Yours Truly

podcasts!  A special thank-you to my ever-talented brother the incomperable Matt Rosvally as well as the lovely Billy Malloy for her voiceover talents.

Click here to check it out.