Weekly Shocks' Blog


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Lazy Bum category.

Adulthood

Today at the supermarket, I bought:

1. Apple Jacks cereal

2. A giant candy bar, milk chocolate

3. Two boxes of Devil Dogs (only $5!)

4. Chocolate milk

5. Fresh cut strawberries (mostly for show)

6. Band-Aids (I have an ouchie.)

Yup.

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Um. Yup.

So. You guys know that when I so confidently bellowed, “See you next year!” in my last post, what I really meant was, “See you a full year from now and, oh, gosh, have I mentioned that I’m awfully lazy and a bit of a goober?”

Of course you did. You guys are so smart. I love you all.

It is a new year. And a new resolution. Weekly Shocks shall arise from the ashes like a phoenix from a burning waste dump. Gosh, does that ever stink.

Speaking of stink, guess who lives in New York City now?

But I kid the teeming metropolis of the whole damn universe. Please don’t hurt me, New York.

Happy New Year, my people. Did you miss the puggles?


Weekly Schlocks

You wanna know how Weekly Shocks got started? Guess. No, go on. Guess.

No, I did not lose a bet. Cheeky git.

Give up? It was a New Year’s Resolution. I know, right?

I write. A lot. It’s what I do, it makes me happy, and I think I’m sort of good at it. But, if you’ve been reading this blog over the past year, you’ve probably become very familiar with my inconsistency and laziness, hallmark traits of a budding humorist or a petty criminal or one of those unfortunate people who is so overweight they require a a crowbar and heavy machinery to get themselves out of the house. I’m not quite at the point where I require a sponge at the end of a stick to bathe myself, but I am absurdly lazy and I thought forced, regular writing might help in curing some of that. So I made a resolution: start a blog. Write some funny stuff, or at least try to, you goober. Publish it, at least weekly. Come up with a clever name. And see what happens.

Did it work? Well, sort of.

There was a rather insane period where I wrote everyday, sometimes more than once. That, frankly, was freaking awesome. Of course, that was also when I was procrastinating my Real Life Writing Project, the Oxford Dissertation from Hell. But that bitch got finished (bloody thing got absurdly high marks, too, goddamn), so my need to write other junk subsided for a bit, and so did my posts. Oops.

But overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this site turned out. And it seems like lots of you people did, too. I never in a gajillion years thought I’d get so many readers, many of whom left me very kind comments, and only some of whom required restraining orders and a few dozen shocks with tasers. I didn’t name this site Weekly Shocks for nuthin, after all.

So thank you all. Really, really, thank you. You’re lovely. Thanks for sticking with me through this whole thing and I hope you’re looking forward to the new site – coming in about a week or so. It’s about me, obviously. And writing. And who the hell a girl has to smack on this earth to get some of her dribble published. It’ll be fun. It’ll be epic. It’ll CHANGE THE FREAKING WORLD.

Or at least it won’t suck. Too much, anyway.

I’ll still play with this site for a bit, because I like not having rules holding me down, man. So don’t go away. But visit the new site, too. OR ELSE. 🙂

Have a safe, wonderful, and prosperous 2010, people. And always find something to laugh at.

To close out 2009, how about a little trip down memory lane? Seems to be the thing to do on this last day of this weirdo decade. So, hot dog: some of the weirdest, quirkiest, and (hopefully) funniest bits, month by month, of Weekly Shocks.

January: Now, I fully admit to being a Facebook whore, mostly because it means I don’t have to interact with real people in real time and the steady hum of my laptop drowns out the voice of the Devil in my head.

February: Nationalized health care is a strange, bizarre world to someone who grew up in the Newt Gingrich Nineties and believed that the biggest threats to American national security were welfare moms and that stain on Monica Lewinsky’s dress.

March: Never, ever, ever use your turn signal to actually signal turns. It’s a sign of weakness and it gives lesser people information on where you’re going. The only time your turn signal should be on are during sixteen-mile stretches down highways with multiple exit options you have no intention on taking.

April: “Like, so we went to, like, this totally sketch store near Newbury Street? And I’m, like, ‘Why don’t we just f*cking go to Newbury Street, because the stores there are, like, way better and I need new shoes anyway,’ and then that bitch called me a ‘f*cking stuck up c*nt,’ and I’m like, ‘F*ck YOU, sl*t,’ and like…”

May: In the meantime, I’m utterly traumatized and am switching to Adult Pampers until I can circle my toilet at a radius of ten feet without sobbing and wretching, which, I imagine, is also the radius you’ll need to keep from me before my bodily stench causes you to do the same.

June: Do you think Pluto has gotten over the whole planet-demotion thing yet? Or do you think he’s just out there in the cold, dark, vacuum, slowly circling the distant Sun, and he could really use a hug right now? Do you think  he cries himself to sleep at night, his self-esteem in tatters? More importantly, do you think I should stop attributing deeply depressing and mildly disturbing human emotions to erstwhile planets? Me too.

July: I also plan on getting there via train, because every plane that leaves the ground these days seems to end up crashing in a fiery blaze into an ocean or a farmer’s house or a napping cow, and, well, I’m just not up for that. So, my peripatetic journey will be England to Deutschland via train. Hot dog. I am crazy like a fox.

August: I’m very forceful and independent and will chain you to my radiator after our first date and beat you repeatedly with a lead pipe.

September: I’ve realized that I would be in far less debt right now if I had developed a heroin addiction instead of succumbing to the far more expensive habit of formalized education. The federal government of these glorious United States pretty much owns my soul, my ass, and the souls and asses of any and all future children I might bear. I can’t decide if this fact is ridiculously funny or just ridiculous. Probably both. Hooray!

October: I got a job offer from a car dealership in Manhattan, having never applied for it. I have never sold a car. I have never owned a car. I don’t even have a license. And who the hell buys cars in Manhattan? Perplexed. Intrigued. Convinced it’s a cover for a prostitution/drug ring.

November:

I love you all. Really, I do. But, for f*ck’s sake, people.

Search Engine Terms

These are terms people used to find your blog.

Today

Search                             Views

puggle penis size               1

No. A thousand times, no.

December: I spent five minutes pacing the hallway of my house wondering why there was blood all over the floor and who the unfortunate, erstwhile owner of said blood could possibly be. Then I realized it was mine. I suppose you have to expect these things every now and then, right? Right? Hello?

Indeed. Happy New Year, folks.


Starting the preparations

So it’s December. You know what that means! The preparations for National Bicarbonate Of Soda Day are stepping into high gear! I’m just so grateful that this deeply important, solemn holiday falls on the 30th, giving me a whole month to prepare by purifying myself and begging the Soda Gods for forgiveness for my innumerable, degrading and disgusting sins.

Speaking of preparations, the new year will bring big changes to Weekly Shocks World in the form of new underwear from my mom and a new blog for you good folks. The new blog will actually have, you know, some sort of focus. I haven’t really figured that part out yet, but in between my Soda Day self-flagellations, I’m pretty sure I’ll come up with something.

Good God, this month is gonna be hell!

For the three of you who might be a bit worried about the future of this wee bit of intrawebs-floating bunny turd, fear not: I promise I’ll still update Weekly Shocks with the same kind of regularity and hard-hitting profundity that I currently do. Or not. Who knows.

Also! I caved. I joined Twitter. Follow me if you like. Bonus Charlie Brown photo included.


WalMart Headline of the Day

I have to open this with a shocking, punch-you-in-your-face-and-knock-you-on-your-hinder confession. So, please: sit down, preferably with a bottle of Scotch handy and some smelling salts if you’re an antebellum Southern belle or otherwise prone to fits of “the vapors.” Ready? OK.

I have never been to a WalMart.

I know! I know! I’m a freak of nature and an elitist snob and a sorry-ass excuse for an American. The worst part is I didn’t even realize this sad fact about myself until very recently. I mean, shit. How the hell have I managed to avoid the obligatory WalMart experience? And not even realize it?! Christ on a bike. I’m going to have to put ‘Visit Shrine of WalMart’ at the very top of my bucket list or else I’m surely destined for a violent and invasive examination by stern-looking Homeland Security officials, not to mention a cozy seat of fire at the hand of Satan, deep in the pits of Hell.

WalMart is making those trips to Hell even more convenient by getting into the coffin-selling business. You can order one online. And have it delivered in 48 hours. This new venture of theirs just shrieks all kinds of trouble if you ask me, but you won’t, because, again: I’ve never been to WalMart. I am deeply ashamed of my shortcomings. Forgive me, capitalism, for I have sinned.


Some scary thoughts on this spookiest of days!

1. In Florida, some kid got her wildlife officer-dad to bring a five-foot alligator to school for show and tell. The ‘gator escaped. It’s still on the loose. Oops. Trick or Treat!

2. I got a job offer from a car dealership in Manhattan, having never applied for it. I have never sold a car. I have never owned a car. I don’t even have a license. And who the hell buys cars in Manhattan? Perplexed. Intrigued. Convinced it’s a cover for a prostitution/drug ring.

3. Along a similar line, I took a freebie ‘what-career-best-suits-your-personality’ test, because the whole witty blogger thing just doesn’t seem to be raking in the dough the way it should these days. I blame the Obama administration. Where’s my bailout, damn it? Anyway, my test results are in. Apparently, I have all the skills and interests necessary to be a coroner. Seriously: it’s my Number One Career Choice, according to this test. And my first thought was, “Well, yeah, that makes sense.”

4. Someone is systematically going through this blog and reading every single post I have ever made. And he/she/it is reading these posts more than once. Um, hi! Thanks for stopping by. You’re lovely. I don’t know whether to cheer or grovel and plead and beg for mercy, but still. Thanks again, please wipe your feet on the way out.

Keep it real, homedawgs. I’ll catch you in November!


That time of year

Look out, folks! Halloween is sneaking up on you, and he’s on a massive sugar high and wielding a butcher’s knife! Uh oh! My family is celebrating by going on one of those absurdly luxurious Disney Cruises in the Bahamas and leaving me here unsupervised, so I’m planning on getting into all sorts of mischief, assuming, of course, I can tear myself away from the steady stream of crappy horror movies playing on AMC.

Now before you get your undies in a twist and stuff them down my throat, I will admit that AMC does play good movies now and then. They showed the Stanley Kubrick classic The Shining not too long ago, a fine film featuring Olive Oil as a twitchy, shriek-y wife and a drooling kid with a 70s-styling bowl cut and a totally bitchin’ Big Wheels bike. Jack Nicholson (Nicklaus?) is in it too, playing some minor, insignificant role. Nothing you’d recognize. It was a fun bit of psychosis, like all Kubrick films, but it doesn’t compensate for the rest of AMC’s Halloween lineup which is mostly B-rated gross-out flicks and, occasionally, the completely gratuitous and invariably awful remake of some Hollywood classic.

For example: I got tricked into watching Psycho yesterday. No, not that Psycho. The other one. The Gus Van Sant-directed train wreck made in 1998. I didn’t even know Gus Van Sant was involved with this movie, and, judging by how terrible it was, neither did he. Vince Vaughn was particularly laughable, with his fey, puffy-lipped, giggly and wiggly performance. I loved it. That’s the problem with train wreck remakes – they’re so abysmally goofy, so bottomlessly stupid, so inexplicably pointless  – I mean, Van Sant created a shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s original, fer cryin’ out loud – you can’t help but waste two hours of your life wondering what the hell these people were thinking. It’s terrible, but really, watch it and you’ll feel better about your own life. You will. Whatever failures you may be experiencing at the moment, at least you’re not ripping off someone else’s work and falling flat on your face to the tune of millions and millions of dollars and some anonymous blogger’s sarcastic, floppy scorn.

Speaking of falling flat on one’s face to the tunes of millions and floppy scorn, Facebook updated again. And the inevitable bitching begins! I can’t be bothered to come up with something new, witty, and appropriately cutting to write about yet another stupid Facebook design, so poke around the archives if you must; everything I’ve said in the past about Facebook updates is most likely still applicable. Timeless material, that Weekly Shocks blog is! It must be written by a silly goobernugget devastatingly attractive genius.

Carry on, my lovelies.


Oh, so you think you’ve got it rough, huh?

angler

Been a super busy week, folks. I’ve spent most of the last hour, for example, researching anglerfish on Wikipedia. Don’t you wish you had my life? I know, I know.

Well, we can’t all be me. I know, that’s rubbish, but don’t be sad. Just be grateful you’re not a male anglerfish, yeah? I mean, not only is the poor sucker ugly as sin (see above for a refresher, if you can stomach it) but at some point in his life, he’s going to be reduced to a pair of atrophied fish nuts disintegrating into his lady pal. Sounds like spousal abuse to me. From Wikipedia:

When he finds a female, [the male anglerfish] bites into her skin, and releases an enzyme that digests the skin of his mouth and her body, fusing the pair down to the blood-vessel level. The male then atrophies into nothing more than a pair of gonads, which releases sperm in response to hormones in the female’s bloodstream indicating egg release. This extreme sexual dimorphism ensures that, when the female is ready to spawn, she has a mate immediately available.

Yikes. Looks like someone got beaten repeatedly with the short end of the evolutionary ugly stick. Nice teeth, though, right?



Weekly Shocks’ ADD strikes again!

A few shots of liquid rubbish that I simply must share with you fine people when I really should be writing something else:

1) Every time I take a vitamin pill, I vomit. Sometimes, for good measure, I vomit twice. I bet you’re super psyched to find that out, right? Bitchin’! Anyway. Aren’t vitamins supposed to be good for you, though?  Or something? What the hell, body? You suck.

2) This blog has received more than 80,000 hits since I started it back in January. Thank you. Really. Thank you. And I’m so sorry.

3) I got my first American cell phone today. I had a mobile in England. It was blue, shaped like a brick, the texting function didn’t work, I had no calling plan, and I really only turned it on when one of my undergrads got so drunk he was puking up several key organs and needed to be carted off to the hospital for new ones. I loved that phone. I named him Gunter. My new mobile is sleek and stylish and way too hip for me. I’d name him, but I need to figure out how to turn him on first. I’m giving myself three weeks to complete that task before I get so frustrated with the damn thing, I throw it against the wall.

4) You know, I’m only on Point 4 of this blog post, and I’ve already mentioned puking twice. Three times if you include this current bit. Sigh. I need to diversify.

5) The Patriots lost on Sunday. Who cares?

6) True story for you:

Sometime last year-ish, my flatmates and I came across a devastatingly heartbreaking tale in our otherwise laughably terrible university newspaper. It was a story of an undergraduate at our inflated, pompous, but really quite excellent Oxford. The student had developed a nasty addiction to heroin in his second year. His College, like most Oxford colleges, was extremely supportive of him while he sought treatment, but his addiction, like most addictions, pretty much took over his life and kicked his ass. So the kid dropped out and was now homeless in the city, selling the Big Issue to his former academic colleagues on the streets.

Now, not to belittle this poor kid’s miserable fortune, but this is my blog, after all, so the punch line is as follows: I’ve realized that I would be in far less debt right now if I had developed a heroin addiction instead of succumbing to the far more expensive habit of formalized education. The federal government of these glorious United States pretty much owns my soul, my ass, and the souls and asses of any and all future children I might bear. I can’t decide if this fact is ridiculously funny or just ridiculous. Probably both. Hooray!

7) Bill Corbett of MST3K and Rifftrax fame just responded to some goofy comment I made on his Facebook page. He pretty much ordered me never to leave the country ever again. That totally made my year.

8 ) Speaking of, those Rifftrax geniuses are at it again. Encore Presentation of the RiffTrax Live Event of Plan 9 From Outer Space on October 8. I’m seeing it, because God loves me. Does God love you? Then you had better be there.

9 ) I may have sold a story to a legitimate magazine. May have. Oh my.

And on that mysterious note, back to the grindstone. Hoo hah!


The state of my inbox

Number of six-figure salaried job offers this week: 0

Number of prestigious magazine publication acceptances: 0

Number of agents salivating over the possibility of representing me to the dying breed of publishing houses: 0

Number of cut-rate discounted Viagra offers with obscene titles that made me giggle: too many to count.

This week’s overall assessment: amusing. And encouraging. Seriously. Excellent fodder for my writing.

Have a good weekend, folks.


Ganked from Amazon.com:

This is my current Facebook status. So far, only one of my friends “likes” it, which I find sad, because it is one of the most brilliantly hysterical Amazon.com product descriptions I have ever read. The item is a 8GB Ipod Nano, used, selling for $60:

“The actual iPod is in great condition, but it fell in a pool and doesn’t work.”

In other news, I have a couple of interviews lined up for real-world, adult jobs. “Adult” as in bill-paying, slipper-wearing, crossword-completing employment, not filthy pornographic naughtiness. You people. Dirty, dirty, dirty.

Then again, both jobs are in New York City, so who knows?

I love Boston. I will miss this beautiful, messy city if I move south.


The Answer To Your Burning Question

Some poor, frustrated soul is currently trawling the Internet looking for an answer to the following question:

“Can a dissertation be done in two weeks?”

I know this because, not surprisingly, in his search engine journey, he landed right here in Weekly Shocks World where dissertations go to die slow, painful deaths. And then they get resurrected and kill their creators with machetes. It’s all very Frankenstein-esque. Someone should make a movie about it. I’ll get going on the screenplay.

Anyway, poor, sad, reader, if you’re still out there and not dead yet, I can happily assure you that, yes, you can write a dissertation in less than two weeks, although it will hurt a whole lot and you better not have anything else going on in your life while you slop through it. Also, an intravenous caffeine drip will help matters. And, if you can find one, get a willing friend, family member, or hired goon to smack you in the head whenever you start drifting into the slurry land of unconsciousness. This person can also remind you with his cheerful slaps that leaving a dissertation until the last minute is really not the brightest thing you’ve ever done, so try not to do it again, ‘k? You poor, sad fool. You remind me of myself when I was your age. (One month ago.)

Anyway, go kick some ass. I wish you luck. Please report back when you’re finished. And you will finish. I believe in you! You read my blog which proves you’re a smart lad (or lass) with excellent taste and just a hint of a commitment problem. Nothing to be ashamed of, my dear. Wave your lazy bum flag high.


The Californian Moon. Multiplied by 400.

Have I mentioned I’m a little homesick?

God bless the broke, broken, and bumming state of California.

In other, not-America-or-bum-related news, I’m planning a trip to Germany at the end of this month. Once upon a much more bright, innocent, and schnitzel-filled time, I used to live in Germany and spoke the language pretty fluently. But that was a long-ass time ago (I have bums on the mind, it seems), and I have long since forgotten most of my glorious, crabby Deutsch. Therefore, I expect that my shiny and sparkly return to my erstwhile home should be interesting. I also plan on getting there via train, because every plane that leaves the ground these days seems to end up crashing in a fiery blaze into an ocean or a farmer’s house or a napping cow, and, well, I’m just not up for that. So, my peripatetic journey will be England to Deutschland via train. Hot dog. I am crazy like a fox.


Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Limbering Up The Old Appendages

Man, where has the time gone? It seems like only hours have passed since I handed in my dissertation, then staggered back to my bedroom to spend some quality time examining the inside of my eyelids. But it’s actually been two weeks and now I have to do the whole ‘maddened-with-primal-terror’ thing again in preparation for my final (yay!) exam on Monday. I’ve actually managed to trick my progressively stupider brain into doing some revision over the past couple of days before he wised up and shut down to go off drinking, so I may actually be in decent shape for this weekend’s last mad dash of cramming. But a big part of exam preparation also includes coaxing my hands back into the nineteenth century in anticipation of three solid hours of hand-writing. I can’t type worth a tin shit, but at least what comes out of my sorry technological efforts is legible, which is a helluva lot more than what I can say about my penmanship, especially after I hit the two hour panic mark in Oxford exams. Give me a laptop, and I can manage. Give me a pen, and I might as well be scrawling Arabic on a scrap of toilet paper using chicken shit as ink.  And furthermore, because I don’t hand-write very often anymore, it really, really hurts when I’m forced to do so in exams. My hands are weak and pathetic atrophied messes and I may as well saw them off and replace them with hooks.

I don’t, of course, because I’m not a caricature pirate or a total freaking lunatic, but also because I like my hands. I like one hand more than the other, sure, but that’s to be expected: it does more of the work and is more likely to sustain injury because I am a complete klutz and incapable of dressing myself in the morning without an ambulance and emergency room on standby should something go horribly wrong. And it often does. I’ve done some serious damage to my hands over the years. Both of my index fingers have either been broken or badly sprained. I honestly can’t tell you which, because I never really figured it out myself. All I know is that at some point I did something unbelievably stupid (don’t know what), and they were very upset with me, and so they have healed themselves into horrific, crooked zigzags and I’m now incapable of laying either of them flat on any surface. ‘Sokay: I deserved it. I broke the middle finger of my right hand (don’t know how) and the tip has an absurdly squashed and lumpy look, as if the bones in it have been replaced with mashed potatoes. The bones in the rest of my fingers have thus far escaped serious calamity (don’t know why). However, because my skin is translucent and pasty, the bizarre number of scars I have collected over the years (don’t know when) are patently visible and I look as if I once had a job serving baby lions finger foods. My circulation is terrible: as a result my hands are always cold and, inexplicably, clammy. I bite my nails. Occasionally one of my sisters will observe that my cuticles are a mess. I’m still not entirely sure what a cuticle is and if I can or should do something about this. So, to sum up: my hands are weak, crooked, pallid, scarred, frigid, sweaty, cracked, and occasionally bleeding.

My hands are heroin addicts.

And I love ’em. I mean, they are mine, after all, not anyone else’s. (I’m coming dangerously close to quoting Jewel here, Lord save me.) And it’s not as if I can pop down to the Hand Store and pick up a new set, although in my more disloyal moments, I sort of wish I could. I definitely wish I could on Monday. I’d pick out a sweet, supersonic pair of steel-gray POWER HANDS that could legibly keep up with the pathetic drivel my brain is trying to vomit out at a million miles a second. But because the scientific community is all obsessed with curing cancer and AIDS and ending world hunger and all that other rot, no one seems to have created POWER HANDS yet. Fools. This is why I’m in the SOCIAL sciences, where all the real work gets done. Real work, like revising for exams. And figuring out how my pathetic, sweaty, wimpy hands are going to last through three hours of pressure-cooker scrawling. Oh boy. This will be fun. Wish me luck.


Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Guilt Trip, Successfully Vanquished!

The alert and hyper-observant (or at least the sober) readers of this blog are probably very familiar with a certain oft-repeated admission of mine: I am a multi-slacking, lazy, procrastinating hack. Sad, but true. This used to bother me quite a lot, but the older I get, the more accepting of my failings I become, mostly because I can’t be bothered to come up with half-decent excuses anymore. Isn’t that awesome? I’m too lazy to explain my own laziness. I should have been a hippie stoner, man. What the hell am I doing in grad school?

Oh well: my baffling life choices aside. Today, while pretending to be at least somewhat cultured and socially aware, I skimmed through The New York Times and came across this article. Oh shit, son, here comes the guilt trip and, boy, is he ever ready to whoop some ass. Even though I’ve become less ashamed of my own smothering indolence lately, I can still muster up enough self-respect to blush when I see stuff like this which reminds me that everyone in academia – everyone! – works harder than I do. These kids are simply revising for their university entrance exams and already they’ve put more time and effort into their studies than I’ve done throughout the entirety of my post secondary-school career. The first kid they interviewed apparently spends 14-16 hours A DAY studying. Holy cow. I don’t spend that much time on anything in a single day unless there is a guarantee of a nap, tasty snacks, and a hefty bundle of cash at the end of it. So, in summation: I don’t spend that much time on anything. Ever. Never have,  never, ever will, God willing.

As I’m reading this article, I’m all set to ride the guilt trip of my own comparative laziness through to its natural, soul-shattering, ass-kicking conclusion and return to my own revision (which is going just swimmingly, by the way: I’ve done absolutely nothing all week), but then I came across this, and all is right again in the World of Lazy Bums:

“In Sichuan Province in southwestern China, students studied in a hospital, hooked up to oxygen containers, in hopes of improving their concentration.”

Dear sweet Mother of Jesus and holy dog crap on a dipstick. That just transcends all your typical levels of hyperactive over-achievement bullshittery and heads straight into the Land of the Blubbering  Batshit Insane.  It gives me a raging case of the heebie-jeebies just thinking of it. Can you imagine the scene? Dozens of trembling, sweating, nauseated kiddies taking hits off an oxygen tank, pouring over books and pages and pages of scrawled, desperate notes, and their parents are probably standing only inches away, ready to smack them with rulers should their attention flag for just a second. And what the hell kind of hospital ward are these kids sitting in, anyway? Are there test prep ICUs in China? If so, I bet they’re right next to the morgue so the kids never forget what awaits them should they fail to get into university. Seriously. It baffles the addled and sluggish brain.

Well, that does it. Clearly these kids are working too damn hard not only for themselves but for me as well. Someone has to compensate, and the task has fallen on me. I shall take it up admirably. I will start with a long, drowsy nap. I will then read a trashy novel that has nothing to do with my exam. I will play video games for at least an hour. I will stare off into space for a good 45 minutes, thinking about nothing in particular. I will refuse to get out of my pajamas all day. I will not be hooked up to oxygen for any of this. I know. This is madness. This is almost suicidal. I’ve taken on a very difficult task and may very well cause myself serious bodily harm in completing it, but it must be done. For me and all those poor, oxygen-drunk kids in China. I’ve got your back, my friends. You just keep on studying for both of us, ok? My exam’s next Monday. And no, you can’t bring in the oxygen tank with you. Sorry.


Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Pointless Queries Guaranteed NOT To Be On My Exam

Let’s kick it, shall we? Yes. Put your safety gear on.

1) Anyone check out Garfield lately? No? *sigh* Slackers. Do I have to do everything around here? Fine. Let me provide a visual for you lazy bums:

Garfield June 8

Notice anything weird? Yeah! What’s up with the color scheme, Mr Davis? I’m happy he’s mixing things up a bit, but I’m not sure I’m liking this whole Garfield-on-an-acid-trip feel. It reminds me of the Pink Elephants scene in Dumbo, which is still one of the most terrifying montages in all film history, I think. Have you been re-watching Dumbo, Mr Davis?  I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Still, good work, as always. Carry on.

2) Do you think Pluto has gotten over the whole planet-demotion thing yet? Or do you think he’s just out there in the cold, dark, vacuum, slowly circling the distant Sun, and he could really use a hug right now? Do you think  he cries himself to sleep at night, his self-esteem in tatters? More importantly, do you think I should stop attributing deeply depressing and mildly disturbing human emotions to erstwhile planets? Me too.

3) How come the cord to my headphones is literally three feet long? It’s a nice feature in theory, I suppose, but it’s actually a giant pain-in-the-ass. The cord is constantly tangled and gets caught on everything. And I can never think of a scenario that would really require such a long cord anyway. I suppose it’s nice that I could conceivably listen to my iPod when it’s all the way across the room, but it never actually is. Who designed this? Why? And who’s it for, anyway? Giants? Am baffled and mildly annoyed.

4) Who was the first person who looked at a lobster and thought it would make a tasty delicacy you could dip in butter and charge fools an arm, leg, and spleen for the privilege of eating? That took some serious ingenuity and prescience and a level of insanity that borders on genius, man. Big ups to you, dude (or dudette, if that happens to be your preference). I want to shake your hand.

5) Why do I keep saying “big ups” so much lately? Where the hell did that come from? Must stop. It’s weird and annoying.

6) Did you know that the guy who created Pet Rocks is now a millionaire? Seriously. Apparently the things were only sold for about six months during 1975, too, and they cost an unbelievable $3.95. For a freaking rock. I wasn’t around in 1975, so I have to ask: what the hell were you people thinking? Weirdos.

7) Did you know that there have been over seventy million Tamagotchis sold since their debut in 1996? Seriously. Did you have a Tamagotchi back in its heyday? Or a Pet Rock for that matter? Do you feel a little ashamed of yourself because of that? You should.

8 ) How come every musician in the world has written a song using the same chord progression as Pachelbel’s Canon? Don’t believe me? Check this out:

It’s a beautiful piece of music, sure, and its accessibility is obvious. But aren’t song-writers just a little embarrassed by their unoriginality? Or is it unintentional? Or are they too busy cashing their multi-billion dollar checks to much care either way? Do I sound bitter? OK.

9) How come every humorist in the world has created a list of ten quasi-amusing random thoughts and thinks everyone will be ever-so-excited to read them? And how come these lists all make some sort of self-referential, self-deprecating slam against the author, as if anyone really believes that she is that modestly unaware of her own extraordinarily limited talents? Don’t you hate it when humorists do that and don’t you really think they should just get on with it already? Damn straight.

10) Did I really just do that? Lame. Moving on.


Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Subfusc

During my glorious post-dissertation celebrations (coma-like sleep, long, lazy strolls throughout the city, scratching my belly button, etc.), a few well-meaning friends and family members emailed me asking how it feels to be done with Master’s Degree Numero Dos. It was very sweet of them to do so, but the reality is, I’m not finished yet. I’ve still got an exam left, which is worth a hefty twenty percent of my overall degree. I think this is Oxford’s way of kicking all of us in our teeth after we’ve slopped through ten months of a giant piece of written brilliance (or, in my case, crap) and done so successfully and without going completely mental. “Ahahahaha! Not so fast, my pretty little things,” Oxford shrieks, “Time to don your fancy dress and spit out everything you’ve learned in your option papers (Remember those?! HAHAHAHA!) in three hours or less! And make sure you do so in comprehensive, elegant essay form as well!”

Cheeky git.

I actually don’t mind exams. They’re a quick punch in the gut, then you’re done. Kind of like tearing the Band-Aid off in one, merciless, bloody swoop. However, because we’re in Oxford, the Freak Show Capital of the World, we actually have to wear special clothes to take exams. They call it ‘subfusc.’ My mom calls it ‘the penguin suit.’ It consists of black trousers (or a skirt if you’re so inclined), a white dress shirt, a black jacket, a white bow tie for the gents, and a black ribbon for the ladies, black socks and shoes, and the Harry Potter gown and mortar board. It looks really, really stupid. Actually, that’s not entirely true: on men, it looks distinguished and handsome and elegant. Men look pretty damn hot in subfusc, let me tell you. If you’re not lucky enough to be a man, however, it looks really, really, really stupid. I’ve yet to see a girl, no matter how otherwise lovely, pull off subfusc without looking like a puritanical schoolmarm with a red-hot poker shoved so far up her bottom it’s now making conversation with her uvula. I would call this unfair and sexist and indicative of the horrific gender divide that still persists in elite universities, but because I have to revise for my exam, I just can’t be bothered to give a flying toss. Besides, I have to find my stupid ribbon.

Furthermore, I need to remind everyone that it’s June, and June in Oxford can occasionally mean boiling lava steaming hot, complete with no air conditioning. Not always, but it does sometimes happen that you end up taking your exams in rooms that would be more appropriately used as saunas, except there’s no sign of balding, potbellied men in towels discussing stock figures and football scores. Thankfully.  Also, you don’t have to keep your subfusc on fully throughout the exam, although this is occasionally even worse than the stupid-looking subfusc itself. Exams often become a bizarre game of striptease essay-writing as you trawl through your questions while sweating and cramping and groaning and removing as much of your clothes as you’re legally allowed, and everyone else around you is doing the exact same thing. It’s all very distracting and bothersome, especially at Oxford where you just know no one is getting any at all and this really isn’t the best time to be, well, inappropriately attired. Right? Right. Yeah. OK. Ahem.

Anyway! My exam is in two weeks. And in those two weeks, I think I’m going to devote much of my blog writing to bizarre bits of random observations that have nothing to do with my option paper.  Which is pretty much how my blog is set up already, but now I’m going to be a bit more honest and open about it. What’s that saying again? Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery? Or something? I’m not sure I have a problem or am in need of recovery, but it seems like a nice cheerful way to end an otherwise whiny post, so there you have it. Enjoy!


And SCENE.

I’ve been waiting to say this for seven months.

My dissertation is done. Finished. Complete. And hopefully good enough to pass unscathed under the hyper-critical, laser eyes of Oxford examiners, although, frankly, at this point, I don’t much care. Ding dong, the witch is dead. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Celebrate good times. Come on.

A few, brief, self-indulgent comments on the process:

Final word count: 27,654. Yes, I am crazy like a fox, and, yes, I stayed up all night manipulating this bitch up to that number. Don’t judge me.

Microsoft Word 2007 is not quite as crappy as I first thought it was. Clearly, it was designed by an insane person high on crack, but I originally thought it was designed by a barely animate doorknob. So, progress. Hooray.

My typing and spelling skills, never particularly good to begin with, become almost amusingly wretched after 4am when I am high on aspartame,  caffeine, and lack of sleep. Not only do I misspell every other word, but I often misspell the same word over and over again in exactly the same way. This suggests that I’m either stubborn or delusional, perhaps both.

When in panic-writing mode, I can produce over a thousand words an hour. I find that impressive. And the writing,while not  especially good, at least doesn’t suck eyeballs. Then again, I haven’t slept in a while, so we’ll see what I think of my writing after a few hours days of sleep.

Aw, who am I trying to kid? You couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to re-read this matted and rancid piece of horse hair. If I didn’t still have to submit it, I’d burn it, then spit in its cinders.

Still, it’s done. And I am a happy girl.

Off to print, bind, submit, and sleep. Better blog postings to come, I promise, once the sleep thing has been taken care of. Keep it real, homedawgs.


A Moment of Dissertation Panic

I tend to underwrite when it comes to academic work, because I usually can’t be bothered to bullshit more than I have to when making a point. This wasn’t a problem when I was an undergrad back in the States, and page limits were enforced rather than word counts. A little hint to any college students who read this blog and are having difficulty padding their papers to the required page-length minimum: Courier New, 12 point font. It’s your last hope and the Holy Grail. It looks (barely) professional and it’ll add about 25% more space to your papers than Times New Roman. Most professors are probably aware of  this cheap little padding trick but are probably too embittered to care. I got away with it more than I’d like to admit. It saved my ass on many, many occasions.

Sadly, I’m in grad school now, and I’m supposed to be too mature for these kinds of games. Yeah, right. Worse, though, my dissertation length is measured in words, not pages (damn those sneaky Oxford dons for screwing me out of my safety net!) , so Courier New, 12 point (God bless him) is no longer an option. Worst of all, my dissertation is supposed to be 30,000 words in length. Or so I thought.

I’ve got about 24,000 words right now. And I really, really don’t want to write anymore, partly because I’m lazy and sick of the whole damn topic, but mostly because I’m already starting to repeat myself, and when that happens, I panic. The last dissertation I had was a comparatively easy-peasy 15,000 word-er, but I freaked right the freak out the night before it was due and, literally, rewrote the entire thing in one caffeine-crazed, barking-at-the-moon sitting. I panicked because I made the colossal mistake of talking to my course mates about their work and listened to them bitch about how difficult it had been to get their dissertations completed under the word count. (15,000 is actually the worst length to write for, I think: it’s just enough space to say nothing at all.) My piece of crap, on the other hand, was already completed and pathetically repetitious and, even worse, it only clocked in at about 13,500 words. I quickly forgot all of my previous academic training and immediately decided,  the night before it was due, that it was way too short. THE NIGHT BEFORE IT WAS DUE. So I added crap. And erased it. And added more crap. And erased that, too. Finally, at about 9am, when I could no longer see straight and I was sweating like a pig and my bloodstream was flushed with 75% caffeine and my hands wouldn’t stop shaking, I gave up. The bitch was done. I must have managed to pad another 1500 words into the thing by then, and, hell, I didn’t even care anymore if it was legible, let alone good. So I finished up the bibliography, mopped the sweat and Diet Coke stains off my keyboard, and ran the word count.

13,475.

What. the. f*ck.

So to hell with adding more to my current dissertation. I won’t go through that crap again, especially when I know I’ll probably end up cutting anyway and making the final product even shittier than it was before I took my hacksaw to it.

But is 24,000 really justifiable when your limit is 30,000? Cue the panic. I know it’s just a word count and substance is far more important, but damn it, I’m the same person who obsessively checks her blog stats everyday for no other reason than to see the numbers. Numbers matter. Or they do to me, anyway. But what do I do? I’ll be damned if I talk to any of my course mates about their dissertation lengths, though, because I already know what their answers are going to be and what it will do to my fragile sense of sanity and self-control. So I emailed the most calm and easy-going person in the whole damn world who also happens to have passed this course last year with flying colors. He thinks I’m insane and is probably right, but when people think you’re insane, you can email them – without fear of punitive measures –  the following inanity:

“Word count: 24,598. Too short? Please don’t say it’s too short.”

His response:

“Read your student handbook: 30,000 is the LIMIT not the TARGET. It’s fine. Stop worrying and go have a beer.

Well, son of a bitch.

I’m not a beer person, but I may very well take that suggestion. Not ’til Friday, though. That’s when this bitch is due. Sheer morbid curiosity demands that I pluck away at the thing until then. I bet I can hit the 25,000 mark, easy. Damn it.

I really am insane.


Arising Like a Phoenix From My Inbox:

From: (deleted to protect the insane)
Sent: 22 May 2009 14:47:30
To: Weekly Shocks (weeklyshocks@hotmail.com)

Yo Weekly Shocks or whatever your name really is,

You ever planning on updating your blog? Seriously, what the [naughty curse word deleted), man?
Hurry up.

An Insane Fan

I have a fan! Yay!

Blog will be updated soon-ish. I think. “Soon-ish” means whenever the hell I feel like it, i.e., when I’m not being smothered in the oozing puddle of dog poo that my dissertation has become.

A million apologies for disappointing you, Insane Fan. I love you. I will give birth to dozens of your babies as recompense. Call me.

Love,

Weekly Shocks (not a man, has uterus to prove it)