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Wait, tha't it for Good Fight? Noooo!
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Woah, Good Fight! 

ALso, apparently, today is a holiday in Massachussets. For the love of, put me out of my misery, waitlist. Will they seriously not tell me anything until tommorow? And I won't have The Good Fight to watch tommorow! I WOULD BE FINE WITH REJECTION JUST PLEASE DO IT ALREADY.

ETA - Actual Good Fight thoughts -
Spoilers! )



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I am literally hiding from my thesis supervisor. Like, avoiding going past her office. I haven't ducked under a desk yet, but I assume I'm about a week away.
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I have this writing bunny bouncing around in my head where it's a kind of campy pastiche of orientalist Edwardian lady derring do ala Gertrude Bell but set in Central Asia instead of the Middle East (beats me why) and seems to be situated somewhere between romance and erotica genre-wise and, like, hopefully not racist,

which, ok, so far so good, but for some reason the brain is insisting on a framing device, possibly multiple framing devices, where its set much later (WW2ish) and its someone finding this personal/political/elaborately smutty journal and having to track down the protagonist for Important Information To Defeat Nazis (because why not, nazis) accross soon-to-be-at-war Europe and then Gertrude-Bell-Character gets involved with his wife (I dunno, k?) etcetera, and the journal in and of itself as a physical object is also stolen by someone else back in the original Edwardian timeline so there's a second point-of-view first-timeline character emerging all of which I feel is really unneccessary for the actual thing but there we go.

Point being, I'm writing none of this because I'm in grad school and never write anything that doesn't have a citation anymore, but I did spend half the weekend working out in meticulous detail the perspective switches and epistolary interjection one pivotal scene would need to work with this needlessly elaborate framing device.

*headdesk*

(I also finished an abstract tho!)
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How do, um, jobs in America/The West, like, happen?

I feel like this should not be a total mystery to me, and yet applying for international jobs and grad schools is this baffling black-box of a process in a way applying for jobs or university here (and I have applied for, and had, lots and lots of jobs. Because I last an average of five months at em) isn't, and I can't quite figure out why.

It's a very similar process, all told - ok, we don't do the cover letter thing as much, but I feel like I've figured that one out at this point - but somehow I kind of know where I stand if I apply to a job here, usually have a good sense of if i'm likely to hear back, and generally, well, get the jobs I really want (because they're things I want to do and know how to do and can demonstrate that and show genuine enthusiasm and all that. And it works!) Applying internationally? Total mystery. It's like I'm throwing my CV into a well.

It's like one time at a job fair thing here at uni there were lots of stands and tables with various companies and organizations with various banners and bowls of hard candy and fake-enthusiastic humans (normal, for a certain sense of the word), and one empty table with nothing on it but a cardboard box with a slit in the top and a plain A4 sheet that had 'Mossad. CVs here' printed on it, (I laughed.) So ALL foreign stuff feels like that to me.

(True story - I did not put my CV in the box, or any other creepy spy boxes, but did once get a phone call from 'the secuirty apparatus' saying they'd gotten my CV - no, they could not tell me how or from where - and would like to invite me to an interview. No, they could not tell me for what, or how, or where. I went to the interview - HOW COULD I NOT? - which was in a weird abandoned office filled with shiny plastic plants and no signs of humans habitation and lots of giant Israeli flags - it looked like an incomplete movie set for a government office - had me do a sort of stream of consciousness sentence completion thing (when i think of dinosaurs I think...when i think of death I think...) that had apparently not changed formats since 1969 (at least that what it said - it was a terrible photocopy of a typewritten page) then a two hour interview/psych exam of some kind (it made me cry) with someone who explained that there were two types of positions available, in the field and not in the field, and the ones in the field, were, well, more field-based, and the ones not in the field, were, well, not field based. And, no, I couldn't not have any more information. No, not at a later stage either. Which one would I prefer?) 

I can't tell if that means that I'm just applying un-ambitiously around here, or overly ambitiously abroad, or Israel just has a great labour market right now (eh) so it's less competitive and I have no clue how many awesomely qualified people there are out there, or my credentials and experience and whatever don't make sense to non-Israelis - thought I don't know that any of them make sense to Israelis...my real, full CV reads like an exercise in Dadaist poetry. (Professional D&D Dungeonmaster/Albanian Hostel Manager/Congolese Transportation Planner.)

Or, sometimes, it feels like its really an odd, quite subtle cultural thing? I mean, applying for a job here goes - see ad somewhere, send in a CV (no cover letter usually,) hear back by phone or mail within 2-3 days max, come in when you can for an interview, get hired/not hired within a week. I mean, I got my current job on the spot (and it's a relatively proper one at a gov ministry). I feel like that would never happen abroad? Like, it has to be more formal and there is some art to keeping to a certain timeline or something? I really have no clue.

Just musing out loud...and trying to figure out why I haven't apparently even managed to score an interview for something I have every qualification for, yes.

(Runner up theory - international social sciences research is run by economists, and economists are, A. the worst, and B. disdain economic geographers because who cares about any ability to approach reality, what matters is how many courses in mathematical financial modelling you've taken?)

Grr, I say.




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 OK, I've decided - Northern Exposure is my favourite show ever. There's an episode about literature professors bickering about deconstruction. There's an episode where they go fishing and get a rabbi. There's an episode about sad, rogue ex KGB agents. 

Why, yes, my seminar paper is due in like two weeks, why do you ask? 
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I've been watching Gilmore Girls and have some very mixed opinions...does anyone know of anywhere to find some interesting writing about the show?

Decision

Aug. 12th, 2014 08:52 pm
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I just found out i've been accepted for a ten-month community development fellowship in southern Burundi, starting in three weeks. I have no idea what to do. If this had come through a few months ago, I would have been all over it, angry, lonely and dying to get out of here. Now though...

I've started (literally yesterday) at two new jobs, both of which have some bearing on my supposed field of study. I feel very deeply like that's the kind of thing I don't have the privilege of tossing by the wayside. On the other hand, that feeling may well be irrational - one is only for a few months and the other has only a very tangential bearing. That is, if I'm proactive about it, I might be able to get myself in on some GIS futzing around there and some day stick that on my resume. The actual job however is basically manning a customer service hotline (albeit a reasonably interesting one - dealing with situations and emergencies that happen on hiking trips.) Both are very much low-wage, tempy student jobs.

I guess it's not so much that the work is particularly thrilling, as that it felt comfortable. Next year was shaping up into something I could imagine myself enjoying. Working in a place with a good atmosphere, starting my Master's, etc. I just generally feel like i've been on this weirdly positive kick lately (that has actually involved, well, being online considerably less) and some part of me keeps waiting for the bubble to burst. I've gotten back to regular exercise and to actually enjoying it, lost weight I had basically accepted was there for life, etc. (Don't worry, i'm still well into obese according to the BMI, but I don't feel unhealthy anymore, which I am enjoying the hell out of.) School has been pretty good - my grades have picked up, I've really enjoyed the classes I had this last semester, I feel like I'm fairly confidently on top of finishing everything I need to close my Bachelor's (AT FUCKING LAST) etc.

Then, i'm not good at social stuff. It's work for me, to maintain relationships. I spent five hours in a car with my boss at New Job today, and I felt exhausted by the end of it, all the making of small talk and sitting through silences. Ok, that may be most people, I recognize that, but that kind of thing I do know how to get through. It's the day to day of having friends that i'm just really bad at. It's taken me these four-five years of being back in the city, at the university, the sphere of activists, to get to a point where I feel like there's someone there I can go hang out with if I want to. I suspect that it's not that people have previously all hated me or anything, but that this good phase thing involves me being able to reach out and communicate and all that. (Lets not talk about men. Or possibly women. The statistics are lacking and I'm not into speculating. An increasingly uncomfortable void in my life, anyway...not that theres anything on the horizon there, but maybe a vauge feeling like at some point there could be? Dunno.)

And here? This city is on fire. Kids screaming racist slurs have taken over the streets at night. Work with the bus drivers union has gotten more serious lately, there's a ton of stuff to get done, and I feel like, maybe, I got this. Like i've got my bearings there and I know how to start building up to one hell of a strike and action, fuck yeah.

That's all the reasons not to leave here. Then there's all the reasons not to go there:

Are we really going to do any damn good? What the hell am I doing taking off on some fuzzy hippy fantasy of exotic adventure while I have real work, real local activism, as a local, to do here. We don't know the language (ok, there's supposed to be an intensive course,) we don't know the country, we don't know the work. There's reams written about the privileged idiocy of well-meaningly self involved (see above) white people stumbling about, much more interested in developing themselves than anything else. If i'm just looking for a bit of immersive travel, I can go Helpx for a month or two.

More selfishly, I'm just terrified i'll be bored out of my mind. There's no electricity, no internet, no running water for long stretches. (less worried about that, frankly.) It's back to a socially intense, communal living situation. Don't know if i'm up for that. I'm still getting my breath back from the last one, five years gone now. What will I read? How will I write?

It also means giving up on some school stuff, rushing other stuff, possibly not managing to finish the degree and certainly letting a few grades slide that I could improve if I was here in September.

(And my parents are freaking out. They were fine at first, and then they googled Burundi. They can't make me not go, but they can be so worried and scared that I...what do you do then? My dad wants to talk with someone at the program, like i'm a kid going to camp. What am I supposed to do, not let him? I, uh, also haven't told them that this is the first year the organization is actually sending volunteers to Burundi specifically.) 

Against all that...I really want to go. Or maybe I just really want to want to go. Or something. I know that I don't want to knuckle under a litany of part time jobs and making awkward small talk with my boss for another year. I know that if there's any way to do things right there, I can be good at it. I know I can learn a hell of a lot. I think this could be helpful in terms of figuring out life and career and stuff down the road. I know i've always wanted to live in more places, to get out of Jerusalem for a bit, any number of things. Suddenly it's just really scary. It feels like there's stuff worth staying for here, and i'm not used to that feeling.Maybe they'll go away by the time I come back. I would have been disappointed if they turned me down, I think, but I also had, have stuff I was getting on with. Why can't things change at a calm, measured pace I feel in control of? Why can't I see through processes i'm hopeful about at intervals convenient to me?

I suppose I could turn them down and re-apply next year. But I still feel like i'm not a person who just...gets into things she wants. (I bet no one does though.) An opportunity has come up - I can't just turn it down just like that. Besides, what, there won't be stuff i'll be in the middle of next year? Surely after undergrad is better than in the middle of a master's, right? And I don't want to turn them down, I want to do this, maybe for selfish reasons, but I want to.

Then again, I'm calming myself down with the knowledge that I can quit.

Anyway, dunno. These have been thoughts. All advice, assuming anyone got through that, is more than welcome.

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Whee. Characterization and science fiction and good plot and pacing. Conciousness is underpinned by empathy? Root embraces cyborgization? Does  the Machine has a plan, or does it have internal contradictions?
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Community - I gotta say, Abed's last  scene squicked me out pretty hard. I was just soooo embarassed for him there, and not in the good, think-about-these-things way. Just cringing.

Big Bang Theory - that was...dry. Sheldon's plot was ambitious, though Howard is the one that made it work. The other one was just kind of terrible. Never do earnestness, TBBT, it doesn't suit you and you don't need it.

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