Landing the Plane

The bottom line is, you've been flying for a while now, and your only job is to get the plane on the ground.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I only blame you because I love you

Just when I get a good lather going, I see something like this, and get the warm fuzzies. Look at that set! Look at those cheesy jokes! Look at those young, irreverant musicians!

Look at the generation that made music that "meant something" and then corporatized the music industry to such a ridiculous extent that we are supposed to be grateful for Coldplay!

Okay, there's my righteous indignation back where it belongs. Phew! Enjoy this hilarious 1975 footage of John Lennon and Paul Simon presenting a grammy award.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I blame the baby boomers (apologies to twisty)



Am I the only one who looks forward to a lifetime of nostalgic media about baby boomer experiences and wants to retch?

I mean really, individual beloved baby boomers in all of our lives aside, has there ever been a more annoying generation, when considered en masse? Sanctimoniously asserting that all groups to follow theirs are less free-thinking, more apathetic, and less radical while simultaneously selling out everthing they supposedly fought for is certainly pretty annoying...am I alone here?

Did they not inherit a nation at the peak of its economic and cultural power, and then basically run it in to the ground, leaving us with more hoops to jump through in order to merely have the chance to fight over fewer jobs? Did they not stand behind reproductive choice until the moment they themselves became too old to conceive, and then abandon ship? Did they not legislate all meaning out of protest, and then persist in complaining that no one stands up for anything any more? Their parents begin to die out, and they advocate to abolish the estate tax.

I could go on and on, and I will.

Friends have called me jealous and petty (they aren't wrong here, but more on that later...) and they have told me that this obsession with the shortcomings of the baby boom generation is unbecoming and tedious. Turns out, I don't care. I am a woman obsessed.

I hereby present the inaugural post in an ongoing sporadic series dedicated to proving my thesis that baby boomers are to blame. This is a departure from landing the plane, but certainly it is a worthy one.

Mentors Fresh and Full of Life

Yesterday I met with a mentor of mine who has graciously agreed to read my dissertation drafts and offer feedback. We had lunch together w/her youngest baby in tow and she had some really good comments. I feel lucky to have her in my life, even if as a role model she is a bit complicated: In short, she encouraged me to apply to grad school, promised me anything was possible if I worked hard enough and got a little lucky, but then a few years ago she left her own tenure-track position because it was incompatible with child-raising. For a long time, secretly, I felt a little betrayed. Sure, she had done what was right for her, something I applaud in the abstract, I guess, but if she can't do it, and she is seriously one of the three smartest people I have ever met, why in the hell should I think I could? And what about all of us other young, partnered women who go on the job market and face the whole "well, she's just going to get pregnant and leave..." barrier. I spent a lot of time wondering, doesn't her decision hurt people like me?

Meh, that is all largely in the past though (for me, it is very much her present.) Now, when we meet, either socially or to discuss work, I mostly focus on all of the things I value about our relationship. Like for one, she is an amazing, generous reader and editor, and I think finding a mentor like this who is not officially on my committee is just an incredibly lucky strike. One of the best things about talking with her is that while I sit in my office and whine to myself about how this dissertation will never get finished, she is always thinking one or two steps ahead, and talks out loud about them. "After the book comes out, reviews will be able to say that...." and "This way, your second book can build on themes you outline but don't exhaust in this first one." These things are said with such vibrance, such confidence, that it's impossible not to believe her.

She helped me come up with a renewed plan of attack, one that I feel confident will be successful if I execute it correctly because, as I said, she is just so incredibly talented when it comes to issues of writing and analysis.

(wo)Man makes plans, God(dess) laughs

So, a month ago I cockily embarked upon the 100 days plan. And, considering everything, it hasn't been that bad in terms of progress. BUT, of course my hard drive and other computer parts decided it was time to crash and break. AND, of course the computer help I turned to was snarky, expensive and not that helpful. And one pesky familial entitity decided to let her proverbial hard drive crash, so there was also that to deal with.

Blah blah blah, long boring story, the point is NOW I have my computer back and operational, and thank goodness I didn't lose any dissertation, only teaching files and email caches (hence no post for so long, I couldn't find my login and password to save my life!) and I guess I shall have to RENEW my hundred days plan, only this time, I won't make any grand announcements. That's sure to jinx me. I should have known.