Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cinco (or how to distract oneself from grad student-itis)

Ohhhhhhh.....
I've got the grad-student-at-the-end-of-the-semester-with-too-damned-much-to-do blues.

The things that are particularly grinding my gears at the moment?

-Group projects. My prof thinks its a good idea for us to focus on these at this stage in our education, as collaboration is a reality of the academic life. I want him to try to find a few matching hours to spare in the life of two massively busy people. As well as a way to not waste countless hours trying to make two completely different writing styles flow at all.

-A supervisor who has taken over 4 months to edit a manuscript I wrote, yet wants me to write an entire chapter in! the! next! month! or! so!

-Bosses who say one thing to reassure you, when the very opposite is true. Like we won't make you commute hours and hours a day when there is another person working the day before and the day after you with a car.
By the way... new boss, it isn't cool to ask me why I don't have a car. I've been a student for eight years now. I pay full-time tuition even when I'm working full-time at an unpaid practicum. Why do you think I don't have a car?

Anyways, for this, and multiple other reasons, I am going to have to put aside my few topical and thoughtful posts for the time being. As such, it looked to be the perfect time to pull out the meme that my fellow royalty, The Frog Princess tagged me to do.

In actuality, it is just the classic five weird facts about me meme. Since I am already plugging away at 100 facts about me, I figured I would do the whole two birds, one stone thing.

#41- This will probably exhibit my total Canadian-ness, but I was a huge fan of Mr. Dressup as a child. As such, my friend and I were thrilled when he was doing a live show in our city. My friend even made Casey, the fellow on the right, a doll (she was adamant that Casey was a girl, as she couldn't figure out how a boy would have such bright cheeks without the help of makeup).

So, went went to the show, and had a fabulous time. Once it had finished, my friend's father somehow managed to get in contact with one of Mr. Dressup's "people". This person apparently had the connections to get my friend backstage so she could give Casey the doll she made. However, apparently I, by virtue of my doll-less-ness, was not allowed to accompany her-- no matter how much I cried, pleaded, and begged.

I think the person who made that decision must have been jaded and hateful of children. Who else would let only one of a pair of seven year old girls backstage to meet a childhood idol?

#42- I had to wait a few years until around the age of 13 for my celebrity moment-- being an extra in a film.

An especially bad film, called "Gold Diggers: The Legend of Bear Mountain".
Don't you be misinterpreting that title- it's about treasure hunting!
It starred Christina Ricci pre-Indie films (and post "Adams Family") and the chick from "My Girl".

If you look very closely, you can see me walking up the street as Christina Ricci rides past me.

Altogether, it was a pretty un-glamourous job that mostly consisted of waiting in a large room for my supposed four scenes (of which I only actually got to be in one, due to time constraints). I totally got free catered lunch in the same room as Christina Ricci, though! *insert star-struck teenage squeal here*

#43- My parents never allowed us to have a video game system growing up, insisting that our time was better spent gallivanting outdoors. Outside of some initial glee at playing Duck Hunter at a friend's place, playing video games was never something I felt I had missed out of in childhood-- after all, a treehouse is way cooler, wouldn't you agree?

However, apparently a bit of my unconsciousness disagrees. As you may remember, I purchased a Wii for a certain fellow to celebrate his tolerating me for a whole year (I swear it wasn't a bribe!). As he basically lives at my house without technically having moved in, and he didn't feel like sharing with his roomies, he decided to set it up at my apartment. At first, I enjoyed dabbling around with the sports games, but was generally fairly indifferent.

Until Super Paper Mario came around.


And now I've turned into that 12 year old I never was. I used to roll my eyes at video game previews... but now I am seriously into this game. And not at a logical level- like an overstimulated adolescent. I gasp, swear, and make all sorts of random sound effects. You should have seen me freak out last night when a giant green spider came after me. Put a controller is my hand, and the adult apparently disappears.

#44- I am apparently an exceedingly fast speaker. It is something I'm not generally aware of- it's just my natural rate of speech, particularly when I am excited about something, and thus takes some extraordinary effort to deliberately slow down (and makes me feel like I am speaking in the most patronizing slowed tone ever).

The funny thing is that I don't recognize it in others. My brain follows along remarkably well, while everyone around me is struggling to keep up. I have a few friends with whom others cannot follow our conversations... it's like we play off each other and quickly cycle into hyperspeed.

Even more intriguing is people's interpretation of my reasons for speaking so quickly. My mother used to tell me it was because I thought so quickly, my mouth tried to keep up. Of course, I am fond of this interpretation, and others have at times attributed it to confidence. Others, however, instead place it within a more anxiety based framework, thinking that I am generally nervous, particularly when giving presentations. It is funny receiving course evaluations when I have TA'd saying the opposite things, which I attribute partially to them using whatever story about my fast paced speech that works within their view of me.

#45- My first full time job was a cashier at KFC... aka. the worst job ever. My friend was kind enough to refer to me as the Colonel's concubine as a result.

I could write an entire post about the sheer awfulness of this job. Be it the fact that I was vegetarian working in a greasy meat pit, the time I spilled insanely hot gravy on my hand and had to keep on working (with one hand!), the number just being in such a greasy location did to my otherwise clear skin, the minimum wage, the 16 days without a break, the split shifts, the incredibly passive aggressive manager, the fact that we were short-staffed by almost half the number of employees we were supposed to have because everyone kept on quitting, the neon green coleslaw we squeezed out of the end of a massive bag.... ugh.

The worst, however, was the customers. It is an odd thing how it has somehow become socially appropriate to take out your frustrations on me people who make less than what your meal cost an hour. I was yelled at for anything and everything, including prices, food we didn't serve, food the cook had made, restaurant policy, closing time, the fact that we had no fresh coffee on at 4pm (seriously, guy, no one drinks KFC coffee except the five elderly regulars who arrive at 9am- who, BTW, were totally my favourite), or the fact that I had to ring in an item rather than just take the cost of it out of her change.

I do get a little of a smug sense of satisfaction, though, knowing that most of the people who treated me so poorly were total elitists who had never worked a service job... and now, with me so close to my PhD, if I was to play their classist game, I would be far above them on the hierarchy.

I actually have this little fantasy whereby, once I am Dr. Pointful, I go back to KFC and work until the first asshat decides to yell at me for some reason... and which point I show him (it's usually a business man middle manager type in this fantasy) my ID, introduce myself as Dr. Pointful, Psychologist, and tell him that I would like to ask him a few questions, as I am writing a report on the association between abuse of service industry workers and overcompensation for small penis size. Ha!!!

***

So, there you go, five more royal factoids that ended up taking up just as much time to write as a "thinking" post. Oops.

I was going to tag, but I realized that most everyone I know has done this one at least once. I will put in my plug for it being a good filler post, though!

26 comments:

Yoda said...

Glad I've never had to work at a KFC! My first job was right after I finished college (before gradschool), and I was a software engineer. What a sheltered life I've lived :-)

KFC is so fucking obnoxious. I absolutely HATE the damn place!

Yoda said...

I've been contemplating getting the Wii, but have received threats that if I do get it, some people will permanently camp at my place :-)

Mrs4444 said...

While writing my thesis, I got paired with a woman who knew absolutely nothing about proper grammar or punctuation. We got graded for editing each other's work. It took me two hours to edit her "final" draft! I know we need to learn to work with others, but in the real world, isn't it more likely that you'll be able to choose the people with whom you collaborate? Good luck. I feel for you.

Beth said...

You are a fascinating woman - I love these royal factoids!
I suffer from a serious video game addiction myself (won't say what game) and for years held vicious thoughts of revenge after waitressing at a private country club. Bunch of nasty snobs. I have been kind and gracious to anyone who has served me since then.
And Mr. Dressup beat Mr. Rogers by a mile!

distracted spunk said...

Erf. Duck Hunter! And the Olympics. And the Disney nintendo game. Those were the only things I ever really wanted to play. Other than that, I didn't care so much.

Boo grad school. Also - why are you...what? A manuscript? I'm confused. Are you writing a book? Oh, and I am sorry about KFC. Not like I hired you, but still. You are so much stronger for having made it through that experience and being able to pass your wisdom down unto others.

eric1313 said...

You could always put "Achiever of Impossibilities" or just plain "Miracle Worker" for your occupation in your profile.

Christina Ricci is a goddess. Or at least she was a goddess. I haven't seen her in a while, so I can't know for sure. But in my memories, she'll always be a dark, dark, fantasy in the deepest dungeon of my heart.

The Colonel's Concubine... That just says it all. Great writing, Princess.

Airam said...

Don't even get me started on Mario Brothers. I love that little man. Love him with a passion.

And Christina Ricci is a bitch. I know this for a fact. My friend was in Italy boarding a flight and as she went through first class saw Ricci sitting down. She gasped because it's not everyday you see a star and Ricci's response was, "Ugh. Keep moving girls."

Airam said...

Oh and I can totally related to being partnered up to write. Worst thing ever. Especially when you're writing an academic paper!!

captain corky said...

I never new that you were a star! Can I get your autograph? I'm even more smitten now then I was before. ;)

brookem said...

ha, your last one cracked me up! well, not the unfortunateness that is those customers who are total asshats, but your imaginary response to them if you were to go back there one day and work, phd and all. that's cool you were an extra in a movie- ive always wanted to do that. not sure why really, but it seems fun. ha, never heard of mr. dressup, but it looks like something id dig!

Princess of the Universe said...

PLEASE do that study. You have no idea (or you probably do) how many times I look at a phenomenon (e.g. Facebook) and wish I was still in Psych and could do research on it...

Jamie said...

I love Mario games. LOVE THEM. I bought Super Paper Mario and I just don't like it :(

I'm going to download all the other Marios though online so I can play them on the Wii! I was just talking about that today.

the frog princess said...

Work-avoiding-grad-students Unite! (Can I just tell you how much work I brought home with me for the Thanksgiving holiday? ugh).

I too have worked thankless service-industry jobs--including 2 years in a VERY ghetto Applebee's. "Yo ma! There ain't no liquor in this strawberry daquiri!".... ugh...

And I also speak very quickly. I have a friend who used to grab my arm and shout "Breathe!" Because sometimes, you know, I forget...

brandy said...

You referenced Mr. Dress-Up. I like you. I'm a fan of the old Mr. Dress Up's with Casey and Finnigan. I remember babysitting and watching it later when he had all these 'new' friends and remember being really put off. A few of his new 'puppet' friends were punks who always threw tantrums. I wasn't impressed. And I agree, anyone who is willing to do that to a 7 year old must hate children. Oh, and group work? Not a fan. I have a friend who has one degree and is going back for another and she tells me nothing but horror stories relating to group work. I get that prof's like the idea of it, but often it's just not realistic- or a productive use of time.

zelda said...

ah! my first job was at KFC when I was 15. people were so obnoxious and always complaining about the prices. the manager said to us one day, "my job is more stressful than a brain surgeon's." whatever that means. i remember kids used to phone and ask if we had chicken breasts or chicken legs ... i'm sure you can guess the punchline.

good times.

QueenBee said...

Oh, P. I hope that you found that candy. You did, didn't you? ALL OF HUMANITY DEPENDED ON YOUR FINDING THE CANDY. Please, please tell me you did. :-) I know you all had it last month, but I was thinking last night about all the countries who DON'T get Thanksgiving. It's rather sad, to me. Hehe. I'm done here.

Psychgrad said...

Mr. Dressup is awesome. I was always amazed that he could make drawing look so easy. "Just a line here and here and now you have a perfect picture of a [insert some random farm animal here]"

I agree with mrs4444. Collaboration is crap when you're forced to work with someone. In "real" academic life, the choice to collaborate would be based on building some sort of common interest/trust between two people.

Ant said...

Super Mario is one of the most genius and addictive characters ever - there's a full billboard advert for that very game in our city centre and it is having a very bad effect of me wanting to buy a Wii...

Don't know what it was - the colours, the gameplay or maybe just the nostalgia, but it was brilliant!

Good luck with the collaborating - I've generally found that life throws you a bunch of goombas (see the Mario link there? :-) ) to work with and you just have to make the best of it. People that you like become your friends, everyone else must be tolerated...

benjibopper said...

that mr dressup story is utterly heartbreaking. how cruel can an adult be? it's so counter to the spirit of mr dressup, and his androgynous friends.

Michelle said...

oh the mario brothers. i miss them. sigh.

Ashley said...

So the Golddigger movie you were an extra in? I'm not going to lie, I for a second thought it was a porn movie title. I had to double check your age there for a second before realizing that no, a 13 year old would NOT be an extra in a porn movie. at least not legally. :-P

I never had video games as a kid but my friends had mario brothers and duck hunter both of which i loved.

Good luck on the finish of your thesis! We're almost there!!!!

Lisa said...

So THAT's Paper Mario! Sigh. I want a Wii.

t.b.f.love. said...

I think I may need to try Paper Mario to spark some kind of desire to play Wii...

btw, I tagged you for another meme!
http://tbflove.blogspot.com/2007/11/musical-meme-aka-caring-is-creepy.html

Miriam D said...

OMG! I am just like you with the Wii and mario. I used to think video games were SO pointless. Then the Wii came along. And now I own one, and about six games. I LOVE paper mario. But if you love paper mario, then you need to get Super Mario Galaxy. It is better and cooler and a hundreds times more fun.

Sheila said...

I too am a fast speaker and I'm never aware that I am doing it until someone mentions it. By the same token, I can keep up with fast talkers. When I was younger, my handwriting was really bad and my grandmother told me it was because my brain was faster than my hands. Now I have to remind myself to slow down so others can understand me or read my writing!

libby said...

extra in movie? and one that i remember being advertised? too cool. hahaha.

also, i looooooooooved mr. dressup. one of the best shows ever. i watched him way more than mr. rogers.