Toad update

Jul. 27th, 2017 08:03 pm
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[personal profile] la_rainette
Karl has eaten four out of the five crickets, or so we hope because at this point we only see one cricket in the bin; it’s currently sitting on Karl’s butt, having the time of its life and enjoying the scenery. 

Whoever thought that a toad would make a good pet should have adopted a rock instead. 

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[personal profile] la_rainette
Karl has not eaten his crickets. RUN KARL RUN. EAT YOUR CRICKETS DAMMIT.

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We are currently toad-sitting for a friend of a friend (long story) and much as I love frogs and all things amphibian, I don’t think I ever want a toad of my own. 

The toad arrived two days ago in a tall lidless plastic container, complete with special blue drops to put in his water and a box of live crickets to feed him (eeeek). We placed the bin in one of the few rooms that can be completely isolated from the cats, i.e. the “plant room”. 

The toad’s name is Karl. Karl is not very bright. 

This morning I found my calico cat, Josephine-the-cranky, sitting in front of the glass door that leads to the plant room and watching intently. Oh no, I thought. But then I thought, of course not, the bin is WAY too tall, she probably just… smelled something. Yes, that’s it: she’s smelling the toad. But then I saw her entire body stiffen and I thought, this can’t be right. So I went to have a look.

Sure enough, Karl was out and about and hoping merrily. Oh no, I thought.

Have you ever tried to catch a panicked toad? Well, let me just tell you that I’ve developed a whole new level of appreciation for Neville Longbottom. It took three people and several tries to get Karl back in his box. It didn’t help that we all ran after the toad but nobody really wanted to touch him. Karl inadvertently hoped onto my foot at some point and I instinctively shrieked and pulled my foot back (listen, he’s a big toad and I thought Froglet had him cornered, I did not expect him to land on my bare foot with a wet splat). 

Eventually, EVENTUALLY, we got Karl back into the bin, where he sat sulking in a corner. We shook a few crickets into the bin to cheer him up, but NOPE, Karl sulked and ignored the crickets. The crickets climbed on him. He remained unfazed. Froglet tried to catch a cricket with tweezers to feed it to Karl, but she only managed to scare it off and it fled straight to Karl, who ignored it. 

Karl’s really not that bright - we’re starting to believe that he’s scared of his own food. 

As a last resort we threw a blanket over the great lidless plastic bin, which now contains one depressed-looking toad and several hyperactive crickets, and we’re hoping for the best. I’ll check in on Karl and the crickets later today. 

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The weight of a thing

Jul. 27th, 2017 03:33 pm
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[personal profile] marina
Everything is super hectic and I've slept for 7 hours total in the last 48, and everything is kind of reaching a boiling point that will basically be "resolved" by me going to London (LONDON LONDON LONDON!), but something happened and I feel the need to record.

Almost exactly a year ago, I handed in the first draft of my MA thesis. And my adviser responded, in his usual overall polite way, that the document I sent him, that I took a week off work for, that I wrote for 6 days straight from morning till night, was not even worthy of being called a first draft. It was a first attempt that needed to be scrapped entirely.

Partially this feedback was softened by a phone conversation we later had, where he assured me he believes in me, and these flaws are all fixable, but for a good few days all I had in my head were his written comments, which basically boiled down to "I thought you were a normal person?? but you are apparently a trash fire that should never have been accepted into grad school????"

It was an awful, awful sort of feedback to get, definitely the most demoralizing moment I've ever had in academia. (And like, I triple majored in undergrad, and in grad school finished a course load that was intended for 4 semesters minimum, in 3 semesters. While working FULL TIME in an unrelated field. None of this means I'm good at original research, but getting the "who do you even think you are? clearly you're totally unfit" feedback was really fucking painful.)

Anyway, it's been a year. I spent 5 days straight rewriting the draft. My adviser spent over 6 months not replying to me. (I contacted him after a month, he politely told me to sit down and shut up, I contacted the department 5 months after that, and he responses with "oh no! I totally forgot about you! sorry".

When he finally replied, he told me this rewritten version was about 70% done. Going from a first draft that was ZERO percent done, according to him, to a second draft that was 70%... well. Let's just say I think his initial reaction was WILDLY exaggerated, but you know. Ugh.

I worked evenings and weekends and finally took 2 more days off work, and wrote a new draft, based on his comments. I got it done in the MINIMUM amount of time he allowed. Like, I wanted to submit a revised version 2 weeks after he sent me the comments, but he insisted he was busy and wouldn't read it for 2 months at least. I submitted it on the FIRST DAY he said he'd accept it.

It has been 6 more weeks! He's gotten back to me with comments. I was SO NERVOUS because a lot of his feedback didn't make sense to me, and he wouldn't answer questions, and I was like, I'm going to bring that 70% back down, aren't I? I mean I was a failure on draft #1, maybe this second version was a fluke. I have NO IDEA whether what I'm doing will really improve things.

Anyway. The verdict is in. He has comments and things he wants me to fix and change, obviously, but in the email he sent me? He started it with: "You have written a highly engaging, well-built thesis.

He ended it with: "Your current version is very strong," before listing a few more minor things he'd like to improve.

I'm doing grad school in between work, and trying to unfuck my health, and an attempt at a fiction writing career, and so I never anticipate how much it affects me.

Getting this email was such sweet, sweet vindication. That's right, I fucking did it. I wrote a thing that you admit is GOOD, from 2 drafts back when you were basically calling it garbage.

There are things I'm way more proud of in my life, even in the last year. I don't know why this feels like such an achievement. I'm sure it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to anyone else.

But I feel like I have been clawing at grad school until my fingers are bloody for the past 3 years at least. I've fought to cling to it, to keep up, to get it fucking done, through being homeless multiple times, through essentially becoming paralyzed to the point where I spent 95% of the time I wasn't spending at my full time job lying in bed. Through writing original fiction, which already took every second of my mental energy and the 5% of the time I could actually function.

I've clawed and clawed at this, and it's felt so uncertain, and the journey has been so long, and literally everyone I began my degree with has given up by now, half of them quit the program and the other half declined to write a thesis.

But I wanted this thing, for whatever arbitrary reason (its usefulness to my life will be zero, have no doubt) and I clung, like someone trying to scale a smooth wall with their bare hands, and somehow I managed.

I still have a revised draft to submit, of course. I'll take so long, and be so hard, and take up time I'd rather spend writing fiction. And who knows when/if I'll actually be allowed to submit? (I mean, god willing October? But who knows)

But I wanted to stop and appreciate this moment. The point at which this thesis is actually good enough to submit.

For a while, I wasn't sure I'd get here.

Wednesday reading

Jul. 26th, 2017 06:33 pm
queen_ypolita: A stack of leather-covered books next to an hourglass (ClioBooks by magic_art)
[personal profile] queen_ypolita
Finished since the last reading post
Enlightenment, Seasons Pass (short story) and Unnatural by Joanna Chambers—liked the last-mentioned least, but would happily read more about David and Murdo in the other books; Germany: Memories of a Nation by Neil MacGregor which was good but it didn't feel that it added that much to having seen the exhibition originally; The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory, which, it turns out, I had read before but completely forgotten about; Swimmer Boy by Jay Argent, which was another terrible free ebook; Kirkkaus by Riitta Jalonen (in Finnish) about Janet Frame the author from New Zealand, which was a birthday present from my auntie that I didn't get round to reading when I was over at Christmas, so picked it up during my summer trip—I think I was resisting reading it because I didn't want to read it, which probably contributed to not liking it.

Currently reading
The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory and The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Reading next
Not sure.

An ode to Susan Duncan

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:29 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
I'm finally caught up on this week's Orphan Black!

everything goes under a spoiler cut )

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:03 pm
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[personal profile] marina
I've been so busy, and so focused on spending my free-time-to-write on original projects, that I feel like I want to talk to people on Dreamwidth but don't really have anything to write a post about.

So let's start with the essentials, which is two friends who are currently in need of a bit of help.

[personal profile] kuwdora, who makes amazing vids, is taking vid commissions to help pay for a career development opportunity.

...and it seems the other friend has reached their financial goal for the thing they needed, which I saw halfway through writing this entry, so. Please consider helping out kuwdora!

*

I'm busy planning London things (when I'm not busy doing other things). I've bought contact lenses for the first time in my life (putting them in and out is AWFUL but having them in is pretty wonderful). I finished watching "The Handmaid's Tale" and the "Game of Thrones" premiere and feel weirdly similarly about both.

Sunday was picking up my contacts and hunting for a birthday gift for a friend and getting stuff from the pharmacy and overall I got home from work around 8:30pm. Monday was pilates at 5pm, followed by my roommate's friends coming over at 9pm for Game of Thrones. Tuesday was going to buy new walking shoes (mine have holes in them and I need something for London), and because I needed a specialized store I yet again came home at like 9pm.

Today is going to be swimming (because my pilates class was canceled), followed by an optometrist appointment.

Basically just really, really long days. I've mostly been spending my weekends doing fuck all because of it, lol.

Anyway, I'm looking for ideas for what to do in London. So far I have the staples (places I've been and can always happily spend time in):
- british museum
- V & A

Potentially interesting but also maybe kind of boring (I have a friend who'd LOVE both of these but for me they're kind of "oh ok" sort of options):
- tour of parliament
- tour of buckingham palace

plays (I have to pick one):
- Matilda in the west end
- Much Ado About Nothing at the globe
- Queen Anne at heymarket (I do love Romola Garai)

Other than that I have: walking around various parks. LOL.

There's definitely loads more to do in London, but I feel like I've done the more obvious touristy stuff (Sherlock Holmes house, the eye, transport museum (LOL I know this is less obviously touristy, but I liked it)) and the less obvious stuff I'm not familiar with?

(I've always wanted to do the loo tour, ever since meeting the owner/tourguide at a party, but it seems every time I'm in London the times don't work out ;_;)

Anyway, suggestions for stuff to do are very welcome!
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