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Home, Time Passing, Perseverance

31 Aug

Currently curled up in bed surrounded by fluffy pillows and small stuffed animals. In the kitchen I hear Jeff cooking fresh vegetables he picked up at a little farmer’s market on the way home from school today. It smells like garlic and onions, delicious flavours I know he’s going to mix together with some peppers and mushrooms and serve over pasta. The only thing missing is a loaf of crusty french bread to make that perfection.

Work has been devouring my soul slowly, Sarlacc style, throwing more long hours and challenges my way. On my worse days I find myself holding back tears from the stress, simply because a combination of insomnia and not eating due to stress has left me a bit fragile. On the bad days. Most days that bad is combatted by audiobooks and caffeine coupled with frequent breaks to daydream or sneak out to way hi to Jeff when he’s walking by my building. He has a second interview at my company tomorrow afternoon. If he gets the job he’ll have the perfect schedule: flexible work hours and two classes. I’m very, very hopeful for him. Long as he doesn’t get promoted like I did, he’ll enjoy it.

I found out that I’m not the only person who feels swamped and overwhelmed by everything at work – an outside advisor talked to my team today, and we spent an hour and a half explaining what we were having problems with – my biggest problem being “I need a bigger desk!” (no seriously). It was somewhat depressing to know my colleagues have it just as bad as I do, if not worse, but also something of a relief. I know I’m not the only one with more than they can handle. Not being alone is the key to survival.

It’s still not enough though. I want to go back to school. I want to be a graduate student working towards a day job that I can at least like, if not genuinely enjoy. I want to move out of this too-hot too-cold hard to live in state, want to study and learn and live instead of dragging myself out the door at too-early in the morning. I miss having the energy to be creative at work. I’ve been drawing, but that’s all I’ve had time for. My novels are gathering dust, my new ideas shoved to the back of my mind to make way for numbers and tasks and drudgery.

I don’t know if I can make it two years.

What keeps me sane? Friends. Twitter. A boyfriend who cooks dinner when I’m too exhausted to move and lots of hugs when I’m feeling down and miserable. a wonderful fanbase of people who read my comic. I love drawing my comic, coming up with new ideas for novels. I’m going to buy a bicycle as soon as my new credit card arrives in the mail to replace my stolen one. In 39 days I leave for a week to visit my wonderful friend Karen in Washington for GEEKGIRLCON and a much needed vacation.

Having things to look forward to is the key to surviving.

It could always be worse. I turn 24 in October. I have at least two ideas for NaNoWriMo. The new season of Doctor Who is excellent. I’m starting to look into getting a Masters in Library Science in a couple of years. I want to be an archivist. I’m eating better (when I eat). My friends and boyfriend rock. Life is pretty good, even if I’m stressed and overwhelmed sometimes.

It still smells like garlic and onions. It’s warm and delicious and makes this apartment, this place Jeff and I have lived in for a month now, really feel like home.

As long as I have that, I can keep going.

Having a place where you feel you belong is the key to surviving.

I belong here.

Daily Post Writers Block: Experience is the Best Teacher

7 Feb

Today’s Daily Post prompt is to describe the worst teacher you’ve ever had. Since I’m feeling uncreative, as all of my creative energy has been swallowed by building my doom fortress in Minecraft, I’ll make use of this prompt and give you a brief overview of some of the worst teachers I’ve experienced. No names mentioned, since this is the internet, but I should be able to give you an overview of some of these profs (since they were basically all in college) in amusing soundbites:

Prof #1: American History after 1877 (Fall 2007, Sophomore Year)
“Hey folks, I know you’re mostly freshmen and sophomores but I’m going to give you assignments even grad students have trouble with. Got a bad grade? Obviously you just weren’t working hard enough at it. Oh, and that syllabus I gave you? You should probably burn that, because I’m going to pretty much ignore it. To top it all, I’m going to spend way more time on the subject of my Doctoral Thesis than any of you care about, so we won’t get to anything remotely interesting about American History. Have a good semester!”

Prof #2: Intro to Medieval Literature (Fall 2008, Junior Year)
“This is what I’m going to teach you. What I’m teaching you is everything you can read in the notes in the back of the book, but I’m going to repeat it anyway. Attempts at humor and lightheartedness will not be tolerated. Your reading assignments will be godawful prose translations of Arthurian legends that read like bad soap operas. If you try to bring up an original thought, I will squash it. If you want to write an inventive final paper, I will squash it. If you start having fun, you will be squashed. Did I mention my voice is like a cheesegrater in your ears?”

Prof #3: Oceanography (Fall 2008, Junior Year)
“OMG guys! An Icthyosaurus! And weather! The ocean is really neat! The rest of this class will be me reading awkwardly from the slides and putting you to sleep! I was obviously once in a sorority and drank so much I can’t stop talking with enthusiasm! Yay!”

Prof #4: Fascism in Europe (Fall 2009, Senior Year)
“The tone of my voice and my poor grasp of the English language is going to take one of the most interesting aspects of European history and make it so boring you’ll want to kill yourself. Also I’m going to play favourites on your paper assignments, so if you try to write something remotely interesting, I’ll give you a low grade if I don’t agree with it.”

Prof #5: Fiction Writing (Fall 2010, Final Semester)
“Good writing cannot come from genre fiction. You should strive to read and write classic literature and never make any money off of your writing, doomed to teach others or seek other professions. Some of you aren’t very talented, but it’s cute that you’re trying. I’m going to encourage you all to be nice, but make extremely dickish comments whenever I can. This class will become your own personal hell and make you question ever trying to become a published writer ever. And if you have any success? Forget it. Your book can’t be quality literature if it’s successful. I’m a hipster! Woo!”

Remember how sometimes I don’t miss college? This is one of those times. For sure.

 

 

 

 

LSAT Prep and Me

27 Jan

I’m a little strapped for cash at the moment, being unemployed and all, but just about every source I’ve exhausted on the interblag has recommended the Powerscore books to me for my LSAT prep. They have a strong reputation for being the most detailed, most comprehensive and most helpful teaching aids you can get outside of dropping a grand for a prep class.

Thus, I hit up the ol’ amazon dot com and got myself a copy of this:

It arrived yesterday, and since then I’ve been systematically poking it with a stick (i.e my trusty highlighter) and taking frantic notes in the hopes of absorbing the information.

And it’s a LOT of information.

The Logic Games section is hard enough to grok as it is, and the Powerscore notation methods for diagramming puzzles is designed to timesave and ease the process of deciphering the games and questions.

But damn is it hard to keep track of everything.

I have a good four months to go before my first possible LSAT date. If I’m not where I want to be on practice tests, I can definitely postpone until September/October times. That’s the goal folks, 170+ or bust.

Ah, the maddening road to Law School. It is fraught with standardized testing, applications, essays and the dire need for finances.

Here’s hoping tomorrow i”ll take another crack at ’em and this business won’t all be so overwhelming.

That along with writing, scripting, designing a blog for Jeff and some art fun should fill up my tomorrow. Hopefully I won’t have exploded from filling my head with logic notation by then.

I am a Geek

25 Jan

How do I know that going into Intellectual Property Law is something I can really get passionate about?

I just read through all of this. As found on this blog (which is awesome. I wanna be that guy when I grow up).

For fun.

Though when you really get down to it, it’s a fascinating study of what constitutes a violent game, and the idea of video games as art and cultural touchstones. It covers specific games, including Bioshock, which is one of my favourites. This is the future of free speech law folks.

Hm. Maybe I should go into Constitutional Law too. Or instead.

Guess we’ll see.

I’ll be over here, being a nerd and looking up more legal briefs concerning the gaming industry.

Lack of Regret: Things I Did Right

24 Jan

Yesterday’s post was a bit of a downer, no? Guess unemployment has made me a little on the negative side. Today is better though. Posted a new chapter over at The Bond, I dropped Jeff off on campus and got out of the house for a bit, I’ve got LSAT studying to do, I got a phone interview for a part-time position at The Home Depot, and I’m actually talking to friends online again instead of hiding like a recluse. Things seem to be looking up.

So, in light of yesterday’s regrets, today is a post about things I don’t regret about college and those four-ish years of education, both in and out of the classroom.

– San Diego Comic-Con 2009. We drove from Lincoln Nebraska to San Diego in two days for the four day comics and media extravaganza. It was long, it was cramped, the car broke down in the middle of the desert and we stayed in a house without AC, but it was worth it to meet so many kickass comic artists and see so many fantastic actors.

– Playing D&D. Yes, I’m a huge nerd. Yes, I spent my free time rolling dice and spent my money on sourcebooks. But it brought me closer to so many awesome people, it was totally worth it. That and it made me a better writer and creator of characters.

– I spent my final year of education studying my butt off. Sure, I have a couple low marks on my transcript (curse you Oceanography, curse you), but I finished college with straight A’s both my final semester and the semester before.

– I learned a lot about love. And how relationships are messy, tricky, and make you do pretty dumb stuff. I’ve learned what I can and cannot put up with in a relationship, and what it means to be treated both poorly and well by a significant other. I also figured out a bit more about my personal preferences and sexuality.

– I came to terms with my lack of religiosity. People may talk about god bringing them comfort in times of need, but I’ve never had a better time dealing with hardship when I had no god to rationalize as a punisher. Absence of God bringing you comfort indeed.

– I’ve learned to responsibly and rationally deal with alcohol and going out drinking with friends. I’ve had a few wild nights out with friends, but I never drank enough to black out, I always had a ride and I had a good time without screwing up my life. Alcohol can be fun kids, especially in the company of friends and comrades. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

– I held down two part-time jobs for two years straight. And passed all my classes. And didn’t kill anyone. Definitely a win.

– I switched my major concentration to British Literature over Creative Writing. Best decision I ever made. My Shakespeare classes were absolutely wonderful, I had kickass professors, and it turned out I had enough credits for TWO concentrations. But considering the issues I had with creative writing professors and their views of fiction, it was worth it to switch.

– I stayed in Lincoln instead of going to college on the coast. Sounds nuts, but it saved me a whole lot of money and I met some really awesome people I never would have met otherwise. Worth it all the way.

That’s a few ideas. A little positive energy for you. Hope you have a happy Monday and a decent week.

Things I Regret About My Time in Undergraduate College

23 Jan

– Not learning a useful foreign language, like Spanish.

– Spending all my free time sleeping and going out for drinks instead of joining useful college organizations, like the honors society or a club or something.

– Not sticking with the Poli Sci minor or major. That would have been useful too.

– Not realizing my law school aspirations. If I’d figured that out a year ago, I’d be sitting here waiting for acceptance letters for the fall instead of barely started down the road.

– I would have applied for better jobs before November.

– Gone to a couple of career fairs to get my name out there.

– not Retaking Oceanography so I wouldn’t have that one D on my transcript.

– Not volunteering.

– Not putting more thought towards what’s coming next.

– not finishing my novel.

– not finding a cheaper place to live.

– Dropping out of the honors program.

– Not studying abroad at Oxford my Freshman year

– Bad boy decisions.

– More bad boy decisions. That definitely counts for more than one regret.

– Not saving more money after graduation as a buffer.

 

There you go kids. Wanna have a decent time after you graduate? Don’t be me. If nothing else, I count as a quality cautionary tale.

Stay in school kids. Or if not, don’t get a liberal arts degree. They’re more useful as placemats these days.

*cheesy thumbs up*

Now excuse me, I”ll be over here drowning my sorrows and waiting for potential employers to call me back.

 

Where I’m Going in 2011

14 Jan

I am a speck in the universe.

I am a tiny, insignificant organism surrounded by billions of other tiny, insignificant organisms and I cannot make a difference.

I live in a country where most of the things I’m bothered by (gun control, gay rights, stupid people) are so ingrained in society that the changing of them is nigh impossible. Even if I spend a decade digging through the mire that is a political science degree, public office and consultancy, I still stand a very high chance of making absolute zero waves in the American Policy Forum.

These facts are what made me an English major four and a half years ago when I bounced my idealist butt onto campus, looking to make changes and be the difference. These facts are what made me turn away from Political Science, slowly at first and then at a very fast run.

Don’t get me wrong folks, writing is my first love. Creating something from nothing is what gets my sorry ass out of bed every morning. Writing and sharing stories with all you faceless internet doods is that great accomplishment on the horizon I hope to look back on with satisfaction in my old age.

I’ve also had other aspirations. A strange and uncomfortable burning desire to change the world, as it’s been rather dissatisfying to me over the course of my 23 years of life. I am in fact an idealist, the idealism is just buried under multiple layers of cynicism, bile and alcoholism. I’m cynical about the world because, let’s face it, in trying to change it you either end up dead, ignored or a bit of an obnoxious ponce (sorry Bono, I lost all respect for you the moment I saw you in that Jeans ad in Vanity Fair. Designer jeans will NOT help save the planet).

Thus, I turned away from political forums. From pre-law. From extracurriculars. I focused on my own mini microcosm for a while.

Cut to now. I’m about to be unemployed, and I have few real job prospects. I’m looking at freelancing, but I’m also feeling a sick and sad attachment to my academic career of yore.

Yes, universe, this is me eating my words. I miss school.

I’ve dabbled in ideas for post-graduate careers (Besides being a writer of course. That’s going to happen no matter what I do). I’ve considered being a librarian. I’ve dismissed teaching on the grounds that I’d probably make too many students cry. I’ve allowed my mind to wander back to those days when I wandered around, eyes shining, listening to Bob Dylan while reading Thoreau and wanting to run up and shake things around in the American political system.

I’ve also been following this supreme court case fairly well, especially for a gamer. Most of us are the oblivious type, preferring to run around in our imaginary worlds than get involved. While I’m still a bit of a newb to the gaming community, I’m definitely passionate about it. I have a Steam Account. An XBox Live Gold account. I have a gamerscore and really jankety-looking avatar. I have a gaming laptop designed to run Starcraft II on best possible graphics. I’ve been playing Tetris since I was ten. I have a love and a passion for new media storytelling.

I also have an enthusiasm for the law. It doesn’t just stem from years of watching episodes of Law and Order: SVU over and over, it’s that desire to make waves in the world, to prod this system until it gives and changes are made.

And there are a lot of changes to be made.

But what about the areas of society that are only just now becoming policed? What about violent videogame controversies? What about the internet? What about copyright law has changed? What constitutes plagiarism? Who defends the webcomic artist on the internet when some asshole steals his art for profit and gives him no credit?

Smaller battles than overturning the ban on gay marriage, sure, but things I’m passionate about.

So this is my plan, at least for now. My idea, my vague goal, my day job choice:

I want to go to law school and study Intellectual Property. I’m going to spend the next year obsessively preparing for the LSAT, take it in June (and again in October if I have to), and apply to go study at various institutions in this country. I’m going to track down a job that doesn’t suck out my soul and save up money. I’m going to finish that novel and start it on the great publishing circuit. And I’m going to go to law school in the fall of 2012.

Then I’m going to do whatever it takes to break into the fields I want to. I’m going to take these new laws and poke them until they stand true to gamers and internet geeks across the board. Because I love this big, semi-incestuous family I’ve found on the web. They deserve a voice in their legal rights and abilities just like anyone else. Even the furries. Even the people with more unusual habits than furries.

So that’s where I’m headed in 2011. I think I’m going to go insane.

But let’s face it; I’m a writer. I went insane long ago without any help from the idea of law school.

So them’s the facts, internet. There’s my path, rocky and littered with the corpses of idealists gone before me. Get me a sharp stick and a good pair of boots. I’m good to go.

A Letter to my Novel

8 Jan

Dear Novel,

I’m writing this letter to tell you how sorry I am for neglecting you during this first week of the new year. And by neglected I mean I’ve literally ignored your existence to the point of not even transferring you over to my new laptop.

I’ve neglected you for one reason and one reason only, and that is that my job has taken my free time and turned it into a screaming pile of exhaustion. After getting off of a six hour shift at my cook job my brain has disintegrated into a pile of goo capable of nothing more than taking the hottest shower known to man and shoveling a microwave burrito into my mouth while watching TV, going ‘durr’ before I collapse into an exhausted sleep.

As well as this, my new job has also induced crippling depression, spontaneous bouts of crying, my RSI flaring up to the point that I can barely keep my hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 when I’m driving, similar pains in my legs and feet, and the stench of fryer grease to permeate my entire being.

Let me put it this way: you know you’re in the wrong profession when the thought of working a 5 hour shift at a cook job makes you want to throw up, but sitting in Barnes and Noble for an hour and a half reading LSAT study guides gives you not only a sense of calm, but anticipation.

That’s right novel, I’m quitting my cook job. My last day is the 15th. I’m excited too. Not only that but I’m hunting down something less physically damaging to my health and psyche so that I’ll be able to focus on you in my free time.

Especially since I have a deadline now.

That’s right, I’m going to law school.

What’s that? You’ve never pegged me for the lawyering type? That’s because I”m probably not, in the traditional sense anyway. That said, I have a passion for politics and law that I speak of rarely, I love a good argument, and I have a burning desire to continue my education. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and while I can definitely use it to adequately finish and publish you, dear novel, and many brothers you could have, I can also use this to make the world a better place.

For the curious, I’m interested in going into Intellectual Property law, and would love to work for the videogame industry. I hope to spend the next year doing research, practicing and taking the LSAT, and sending in applications to enroll in the fall of 2012. Crazy? Maybe. But I have the drive to make a difference in new media, especially videogames and the internet, two things that are only just now coming up as needing major legal overhauls.

But fear not, dear novel. This will not prevent me from finishing you! It means I have a deadline! I must have you finished, edited and flung at publishers before I go to law school! That’s a year and a half of time I can devote to you.

So there you have it. I’m sorry for neglecting you so. That will all change starting a week from now.

Well, just over a week. I’ll need to sleep for a day or two to recover from my last six and a half hour shift.

I’ll see you soon novel dear. You have been missed.

Now I’m gonna go watch Glee, because I’m too exhausted to work on you.

With deepest love,

Lora

2010: A Review

31 Dec

So here’s the run-down of my 2010, complete with the occasional picture:

JANUARY:

Started the year with new friends, a new boyfriend, an old boyfriend crashing on my couch and a kitten who liked to attack my feet in the mornings. New semester started, which included my second semester of Latin and a lot of English classes. Joined another D&D group. Started going to karaoke regularly.Met Jeff at a party.  Got my first hangover. Got unceremoniously dumped by said new boyfriend. Picked up smoking briefly. Finished my NaNo 2009 novel. Skipped a lot of class.

Me in early January.

FEBRUARY:

Awkwardness ensued with the recent ex at various D&D games. School continued to be slack-filled, but I started going to class again. Survived Valentine’s day by going out dancing. Got my hair cut and dyed:

Yeah, there’s a little blue in there, just for fun.

Stopped smoking as it was too expensive. Continue going to karaoke. Finally fixed my crappy old laptop and played as many games as I could find, including Starcraft. Things became slightly less awkward with the ex, but only slightly. Such drama, really, I swear.

MARCH:

Started hanging out with Jeff more. Signed a lease with current roommate for a new apartment. Went on a date with the ex to see if we wanted to try things again (I wanted to hold off for a while). Played Halo for the first time and sucked at it.  Spent spring break with family in Oregon. Returned to the ex pulling a complete 180 and deciding we would never work out. There was drama. Got my tattoo. Got my car. Started going to class more.

APRIL:

Started dating Jeff. Moved into new apartment. Got in a huge fight with a close friend. One D&D group disbanded. Studied for impending finals. Panicked and flailed a lot. Still more drama. Discovered Netflix.

MAY:

Finished the semester with straight A’s. Started driving up to Omaha on weekends to visit Jeff. Got Morbo the hamster as a gift. Worked 30 plus hours a week at the campus Library. Saw Motion City Soundtrack in concert.

JUNE:

Started working on a new novel. Watched a lot of TV on Netflix. Visited Jeff a lot. Played through Portal for the first time. Didn’t sleep enough. Decided I liked being a blonde and that was how I was going to stay. Continued being fairly hermity. Played less D&D.

JULY:

Jeff moved to Lincoln. Starcraft II came out. Everything else kinda fell by the wayside due to starcraft II. Discovered my laptop was dying. Attempted and failed JulNoWriMo. Watched even more TV.

AUGUST:

Spent an inordinate amount of time at Jeff’s place. Close friend got married. Went a little crazy waiting for the semester to start. Went out drinking with coworkers. Visited my parents on the other side of town a lot. Started scheming for NaNoWriMo. Semester started, immediately became consumed by school. New D&D campaign started. Ex unfriended me on facebook and began fleeing the room every time I showed up, which was amusing.

SEPTEMBER:

Sister left for study abroad in England. School escalated. Made amends with some friends, grew apart from others. played some D&D. Hated my writing class with the fire of a thousand fires. Applied to graduate. Continued to be a hermit.

OCTOBER:

Continued planning for NaNoWriMo. Celebrated six months of dating Jeff. Got eaten alive by school and studying. Drove to Kansas City over fall break for a weekend away. Helped recently married friend with her husband issues. Helped friend with a painful breakup. Had my 23rd birthday. Started playing thr0ugh Bioshock.

NOVEMBER:

NaNoWriMo. Plus school. Got sick with the flu OF DOOM and didn’t write as much as I would have liked. Realized my Nano novel would work better as a graphic novel. Started working on creative final projects for classes. Had a weird Thanksgiving with my sister absent from the country. Started applying for post-college jobs. A lot of friends got engaged.

DECEMBER:

Finished finals and got straight A’s. Started drawing more. Helped friend begin the process of divorcing her abusive husband. Graduated college with a BA in English. Sister returned from England in the midst of an ice storm. Started new job as a cook. Ended the year with a few good friends, a new boyfriend, and a mostly stable view towards the future.

So that was 2010. I wonder what’s in store for 2011?

B.A.

18 Dec

As of 11:00am on Saturday the 18th, I’m a college graduate.

 

 

I’m going to let that sink in there for all of you. And go pass out and sleep until my head stops aching from all the human interaction I’ve had to put up with today.

For my compatriots who sat through graduation today – and four plus years of academia – congratulations. Damn did we earn these diplomas.