Friday, February 22, 2013

A Change of Scenery

Friends, let me pour you a delicious glass of w(h)ine.

I took this really, really awesome editing job last spring, and simultaneously more or less threw the towel on full-time PhD devotion. I was feeling, at the time, that while my research was interesting to me (and maybe to my supervisor -- though surely out of charitable soupcon of affection toward yours truly), I didn't really envision a career in academia, which really seems to require one to be at least Mildly Extroverted (which I am not). So I scuttled away from full-time education, and started this gig -- which seemed tailor-made for a nose-in-book dork like me -- on a deliriously high note.

The job is good. It pays well, okayyyy, and I have spectacular colleagues. But the physical environment of my office is KILLING me. We work in 5-foot-high-walled "pods," with four workstations to a pod. For most of the day, I have my back turned to my three podmates. Our pod (and my workstation, in particular) faces the main artery of traffic on the floor, so people are constantly walking by. Or stopping in. The floor that I work on contains four such pods, so 16 pod peeps all together, and on one side of our pod, there is another organization's lunch room. Yeah. Lunch. Room. Next to a pod full o' editors.

There is no privacy, and goddamn, it's noisy! Of course it is! We have 20-30 people prowling the same carpetless, high-ceilinged office space at any given time. People cough, sneeze, or enjoy their lunches, and I literally want to Punch Them in the Face.

And so all this Frazzling of my Delicate Nerves has me longing for the richly quiet solitude of my PhDery and my home office. Where I had the space, the time, the luxury of thinky-thoughts and privacy. Or of the on-campus office that I shared with four other colleagues. Granted, it was a small space, but it was ours. And we could close the door, and we could be collegial (mostly) and make jokes about undergrads who use words like "irregardless" (always) but we also respected the quiet time that each of us needed to do our work.

I know that chums (perhaps even some of those reading here) will want me to buck up, and maybe ask the powers that be (each of whom has a nice office with full-height walls and a real door that closes!) for a room of my own. I tried that, on the heels of reading Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, I thought that this was maybe a "thing" that semi-thinky people would respect. Nerrrp.

If it's too Controversial for me to have an office of my own, I asked, could I at least have some kind of "hush" room where I can work when the noise level is unbearable? (There are a gazillion empty offices in this building!) Fuggeddit. Or perhaps, in this, the twenty-first century, surely I could work from home, even once a week? Especially given the fact that I drive so very, very far to be here? Clearly, the strength of 2.5 university degrees and a part-time job that I do entirely from my home office demonstrate that I can capably telecommute? Nayyyy, sucka.

All of which leaves me feeling less like an educated, valued editor, and more like a monkey who must drown out the sounds of the other animals at the zoo in order to follow someone's skewed version of the rules of editing.

I thought, at the time, that coming here was the right decision. We are, in fact, moving closer to this-city-that-employs-me later this year, and I am still very much excited about the prospects. And I don't entirely regret the transition from academia to the worky-world... but surely, there is a place for a Quiet Nerd to Get Along? I'm looking forward to a change of scenery.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Oh, James! A Skyfall Critique

Warning, y'all: contains Skyfall spoilers!!

I love me some James Bond movies. About this time every winter, I'll drag out the collection and watch 'em all--well, most of 'em, because some are shite! (but let's not throw the tiny-swimsuit-clad Connery or Craig Bond out with the bath water!)

This is not to say, though, that they are flawless films, particularly from a quasi-feminist perspective. (I say quasi- because I think that feminist parlance is sometimes at odds with My Jerk Self).

There are some very distressing constructions of womanhood in Bond books and films. Some Bond ladies are positively irritating with their inability to do anything for themselves but shriek. (I'm lookin' at you, Tanya Roberts!) But one Bond dame I adore is M, Judi Dench.

And so it was with Exceedingly Heavy Heart that I watched her DIE (!!!) at the end of Skyfall! I expected M to smart-assedly dodge death, or to have Bond save her, and they bloody well killed her off! They pushed my beloved Dame J down a figurative flight of stairs to make way for he who shall not be named to take over the role!

The film makes it clear that all the officious parliamentary turdlets thinks that she's too old to do her job; that times have changed; that she should retire. So why did the writers deny her that dignity? I have no idea if Dench wanted out of the franchise, but from my quasi-feminist stoop, I can't help but think that if they were retiring a Man M for another Man M, he would have had a respectful send off with bagpipes and verklempt old dudes raising toasts to his good health. M's character was no more or less a dick than anyone else in the 007 spy biz, and she deserved better.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Keep Calm and Blog On

A couple of years ago, while I was still in grad school, I used to write a fun, bitchy blog, but gave it up when it appeared that I had Evidently Hurt the Feelings of Real Live Peoples in My School Program who were dumb and didn't know how to keep their fool mouths shut. I'm making a fresh start here, but I'm not gonna lie. I can be a bit of an asshole, so it could happen again. I'm hoping to limit my bitching to things like terrible movies and unsuccessful recipes and bad days at work. *Mostly.*

 A few things about me. I'm an editor, currently working for i) a think tank* and ii) an academic journal. I'm a mama and a PhD dropout (ABD, if that matters). I love wine, books--with an especial regard for eighteenth-century literature (which means I might say silly or lewd things, or Go Along Capitalizing Words For No Apparent Reason), funny movies, music (anything from 1940s big band and crooner tunes, to 1970s-era soul and funk to Deadmau5. Dubstep, however, makes me feel like pooping). I like to play noid games like Scrabble, Dungeons and Dragons, Warcraft and Torchlight II. I also love cooking (sometimes) and bitchin' (mostly).

Yeah, bitchin' is kinda my specialty. I like to use my Mastery of Bitch Arts (MBA? BAHAHA!) to make people laugh. So pop by once in a while. Unless you don't like laughing or bitching, in which case feck off, cup.

I'm also on The Twitters and The Pinterestinks.

* Do I *really* need to say that all opinions expressed here are my own?