I’m having a totally unoriginal existential crisis because I’m a twenty-something humanities graduate student and I’ve finally realized that my research and work will benefit absolutely no one.

22 Jul

I'm having a totally unoriginal existential crisis because I'm a twenty-something humanities graduate student and I've finally realized that my research and work will benefit absolutely no one.

via PhD Comics:


Lunch today.

12 Jun


Fresh basil, roasted cherry tomatoes, chèvre, and balsamic vinaigrette on a wheat baguette. Paired with a salad of arugula, roasted peach, Roquefort, and more balsamic vinaigrette.

Important Readings: Faking It.

11 Jun

     As far as I can tell, everyone in my field must, at one time or another, sort of bend the truth about that one book that it seems everyone has read but you. By “bend the truth,” I don’t mean overtly lie and say that you’ve read something you have not. Rather, I mean to not admit that you haven’t found the time to tackle that work that it seems you really should have read several years ago but have not, for whatever reason. In my field (and I presume this is the case for many others), this is just a consequence of the intense reading load all graduate students grapple with. And I sort of hope that it gets easier over time, and that these missing pieces of your intellectual arsenal grow smaller in number as you attack each one eventually. But I suspect that is not the case.

     I’m not really talking about course reading here, but rather that really important and influential article that was published twenty years ago and oh-my-god-everyone-has-read-it-except-me. But course reading, to me, is an entirely different story. I once had a prof who explained that grad school should feel like dealing with a group of brush fires all at once – you determine which one you need to stamp out at the moment to prevent the whole place from burning down. “You just can’t do it all,” he would say to us, when referencing the syllabus that he had passed out during our first meeting. But I still struggle with not doing all of the reading, even when I’ve had advisors and profs who insist that one cannot do all of the reading required, and that this is part of navigating graduate school. But in the one or two instances (seriously, that’s it) that I’ve skimmed a text for class, rather than reading incisively and taking meticulous notes, I’ve felt that someone might call me out at any moment. I’ve had the peculiar and completely unfounded sensation that my classmates could see right through me. But it strikes me that this is a bit different from just not having read that book everyone in your field has read, at some point, owing to time constraints or whatnot.

     So there are a few dozen books that I find myself embarrassed to not have read at this point. And this summer, transitioning between one graduate program and the next, I’ve decided to fix that. So I’m slowly forging ahead, one at a time. It strikes me that I’ve put off reading several of them (and I mean really reading them, not just getting a grasp of their arguments, sources, etc.) because they are so darned difficult. I keep needing to resist the urge to just put them down and read the book reviews instead.

     I wonder how often some of my profs and fellow students fake familiarity with seminal texts. To what extent is this okay? I have difficulty maintaining my patience with that student in seminar who has clearly not done the reading but feels compelled to participate in discussion. I don’t want to be that guy. But to what extent is faking it with non-course materials and readings acceptable? I think my conscience is too frail to attempt this very often. Hence, I’ve got this pile of books staring at me from the corner of my desk, beckoning to me. We’ll see how far I get.


Lunch today

10 Jun


Roasted carrot soup, topped with sour cream and scallions. And Amélie. And then more reading.


Dinner tonight: Tomato & Basil Couscous

9 Jun

Dinner tonight: Tomato & Basil Couscous

Cooked in vegetable broth, with green onions, crushed red pepper, EVOO, vinegar, salt, & pepper. Using up some finds from the farmers’ market this morning. I’ve been working hard at eating mostly vegetarian lately — I just feel better and more in control of my life sans meat. Though I could never be a vegan, because I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like.
I’ve been corresponding with my advisor at my new program (where I start this fall), and I feel it’s ignited a fire under my rear. I’m ready to dive in, head first, to this pile of reading and research in front of me.
After I finish this plate, of course.


Today’s thrift store lovelies.

8 Jun


Procrastination in all its glory. Article? What article? I found this horse from the 1930s, damn it! That has to count for something. Obviously, the comic books are not mine. I had my partner in tow.

More good food.

31 May

On Thursdays, we hit up the farmers’ market in our neighborhood. I love just picking up some staples (produce, a few dairy products, and some herbs) throughout the week so that I can just walk into the kitchen and toss something together. Today, for lunch, we had

Sweet potato gnocchi in a brown sage butter sauce, sprinkled with brown sugar and grated parmesan.


Savory. Filling. Wonderful. Then we hit up the market and I tossed together a dinner for one tonight (since my partner is away tonight). I roasted some cherry tomatoes in the oven, after tossing them with some extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I added them to a bed of fresh spring greens and arugula, chèvre, and my balsamic vinaigrette. I tossed together a simple pasta of whole wheat penne, cooked al dente, and I reduced some olive oil, freshly chopped garlic, cream, and lemon juice, to make a lemon cream sauce. Delicious, especially sprinkled with a bit of freshly grated parmesan.



And finally, for dessert, some of the incredibly succulent strawberries I picked up today, drizzled with more of my balsamic vinaigrette.




All in all, a nice distraction from the crazy amount of work I’m attempting right now. Which I should move on to right about now…