Eves and Eyes


Holy Moly, do we ever live in one giant-but-not-so-giant-as-you-might-think closed system! Warm and dry thoughts for all of my east coast friends and family. You guys are throwing a great party over there. Yikes.

Istanbul, in a weak show of solidarity, is balmy as can be.

I'd like to wish those of you with a working internet connection a very happy Halloween. May you sustain nary a chiding belly ache.

[Audience looks around] "What just happened?" "There must be some context we're missing."
Tomorrow I'll descend into NaNoWriMo* and may or may not emerge again until December - and I'd rather not be plagued with guilt over this temporary abandonment, so here's an itemized update for:

Graduate Applications (based on the late December/early January humanities deadline):
  • At this point, duh, have your list sorted and professors contacted -
  • and your writing sample done (or at least have a completed first draft under the eyes of a trusted editor friend).
  • If schools want official transcripts, order them. The bureaucracy around these things is such that it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to over a month to sort out and send off. Generally, though, schools will accept unofficial transcripts (you know, the ones that you've invalidated through mere contact, protracted or otherwise) as a scanned pdf.
  • Ditto GRE (and related) scores, if you failed to maintain the sense of existence in time and space necessary to order them after you completed that three-hour migraine...
In November, we'll be contacting professors about letters of recommendation and sending them updated resumes or recent papers, and writing statements of purpose.

On November's Bookshelf
  • Auerbach's Mimesis
  • Borges's Collected Fictions
  • G. Lewis's translation of the Dede Korkut stories
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold and The Autumn of the Patriarch
  • Marshall Berman's All That is Solid Melts into Air
  • and Julian Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot
So! The house is scary professional clean, the laundry is all done and drying, the fridge is stocked, and that's what's in the stew pot.

Cheerio, friends.

*For those of you who've had trouble donating to their awesome program, this should help. And! in the kickstarter spirit, I'm offering a super awesome postal surprise to the first 5 people who donate 10 USD+. So come support a worthy cause and administer that solid kick in the pants you know you've dying to lay on me ever since I was a little jerk-hole in middle school! WIN.


Election Season is Fast Upon Us!

Fall is great for so many things. Soups, sweaters, gourds, new vacuum cleaners. Doing your civic duty. Celebrating my favorite candy-laced holiday...

One day I'll be celebrating Halloween in a temperate locale, where one's costume choice isn't entirely dictated by the thinness of one's blood. Just you wait and see. Although I've managed alright in the past. Boris was a clever choice, 'cause you get to wear a fedora and a trench coat.

Best Chilly-weather Costume Ever
And who's to say Professor Trelawney doesn't wear great big baggy sweaters and scarves upon scarves upon scarves. (Hey whaddaya know! I spelled her name right...)

What else means Fall? Oh, that's right: (inter)National Novel Writing Month!

Who's in? You may not say it much, but I know how much you miss the fevered, adrenaline-soaked madness of exam week.  Those late nights at the library, the bitter anguish of an evening's work lost - just because your computer weakly refuses to condone your impiously motivated mortification of the flesh? Impious my ass! What better way to justify your existence than to make it miserable? The Pope knows what I'm talking about.

Well, it's Bayram, so Husbee will be home and we're looking forward to a quiet week of finishing writing samples, small flurries of translation, stocking up on coffee, and trying to get ahead of other commitments - 'cause November is going to Rock.

If you're not quite up for reliving a month's worth of that last week of thesis writing, but still want to feel involved and glowey - sponsor me! The money raised goes towards the school programs NaNoWriMo organizes, and of course adds fuel to the fire of shame that'll make sure I finish what I start.

Shame-fire is invisible! But effective!

Oh man. And here all I wanted to do was gloat about having sent in my absentee ballot...

Rock on, civic pride. In case you're not sure which way to vote, you can read my review of 'Why America Needs a Left' here.

Let's hear it for Fall!



Well shpedoinkle. I broke the vacuum cleaner yesterday and the Dorian-the-cat promptly upended a struggling houseplant behind the sofa.

In other news, having cleaned up the prodigious mess with a dust pan, the day is already feeling ever so productive.



When in Rome

Ah, Comrades! It's going to be a truly lovely year. What did I do this weekend? Why, I endured an epically uncomfortable seat for the pleasure of watching Tannhauser "just like the Ancients!"

It was amazing. You could see stars. (Of course, when I'm not in New Hampshire, 70% of the constellations I see are 'Orion's Belt', but never mind that).

The conductor was delightful. Let's hear it for the Ankara Devlet orchestra.

There was a minstrel singing battle. To the death, guys. To. The. Death. And please note: they all twirled their capes like they were to the manner born. Or perhaps, to the manor born. I've always wondered about that. In this case, both work. It was way regal ... she said with just the faintest touch of irony.

And poor Venus was a demon, with ghoulish minion nymphs capering about all excessively limber.

 Spoiler alert: Chaste Elisabeth dies at the end. Her soul leaked out with all the fervent prayer. Some of those pilgrims may or may not be horribly, blasphemously, jealous.

And on that note, a small burst of vaguely impotent moral indignation from the editor's corner. Get your compassion hats on!

This happens a lot: an author asks me a reasonably thoughtful question about my methods and I respond in kind with a note about the balance required in order to edit both for the author and for the reader, what I've found works best for the kind of writing the author is doing.

Aaand the answer, always, is a variation on a theme: "I had no idea how tricky editing could be!" and then something, always, about how it seems like every author should have an editor each for internal integrity, stylistic coherence, readability, and every conceivable audience.

Perhaps, you generously say, the author thinks this is a compliment. But do you know what this says to your editor? "Editing is not a profession; it's certainly not something that requires any particular skill or talent. I have no idea what you get paid to do, but I certainly had no idea that you earned it."

And all the effort that I put into trying to make sure that my simmering rage isn't dumped in your lap gives me an ulcer.

Please don't do that. Basic etiquette: pass it on. Teach your children. Imagine a new world, a better world.


Krikes Amighty, What a Summer

I hope everyone had a fabulous summer, completely devoid of melanoma, heat-stroke, and mosquitoes. By those (and other) criteria, mine was a proper blast. Let's hear it for my parents and for all those summer birthdays that make the whole season a veritable parade of cakes!

Ah, but now we're back and that giant calendar I patchworked to the bedroom wall reminds me that December (and its deadlines) is Just Around The Corner. It's cool - I didn't slack off or anything. Finished a promised paper, been doing some reviews, for funsies, and chugging away at the translation of Alanna. And of course, the resettling period is always nice for all those little domestic chores that suddenly present themselves after you've been away. I just now reinforced the hangin' holes in our shower curtain - and yes I did wound myself in the process, thank you. 

Oh no! Alert the authorities! TETANUS!

One last weekend away for a Wagnerian opera at a remarkably well-preserved amphitheater with Husbee's family (and yes, we've got our cushions packed - just like those crazy cushion-toting Ancients) before kicking ourselves back into high gear for the new academic year.

And guys, this is important. Who wants to learn English by hypnosis? 

Happy Fall!


And Meanwhile, on the Application Front

We're in that funny transition period between active school life and "what teachers do in the summer." And guys, it's not what you may have imagined, watching my middle and high school teachers pack up the classroom at the end of the year. We Are Not On Vacation.

Which is fine and all, but does require a sliiight adjustment.

Oh well.

No way man! 'Slight adjustments' means that I get to make new and improved schedules! To-Do lists! Guys, this is MY FAVORITE.

We've implemented bi-weekly "boot camps" (to ensure regular attention is paid to our personal projects) and among those projects is pinpointing departments to which we'd like to apply, and possible sources of funding. We've given ourselves until June 30th to research departments, professors we're interested in working with, and those elusive individuals and groups interested in sponsoring our endeavors.

This ought to leave plenty of time for department-specific research, getting in touch with relevant faculty, and writing stunningly crafted statements of purpose before the Fall Term whisks us back into the fray.

Go get 'em!


Webly Roundup

Husbee and I had a lovely week with Ms. Finn Senseney and her Mister, exploring the various architectural and culinary wonders of Istanbul (pictured here: the aptly named "wet burger" and the external east-facing wall of the crown prince's apartments in the Topkapı harem). While we recover from their visit, you all can glory in some of the webly things that have been making me joyous.

Want to make or break a habit? Like charts? Have I got a present for you!

A classically trained opera singer and her orchestra: Srsly Cannot Go Wrong. They're My Brightest Diamond, and Husbee hasn't yet complained that they're playing 24/7. If you're going to be in Amsterdam, they're performing on the 17th.

Are you a writer in need of a organization system for all your sundry submissions? Try Duotrope: a free submission-managing service complete with easily searchable listings for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. And just when you thought there wasn't enough type-A in your life!

If the summer's superhero blockbusters have re-lit a fire they just can't quench, check out my suggested reading list, in which complex principles of math and physics are explored through the always engaging Marvel Universe.

My friend Wendy's excellent article "The Islam in Islamic Art History" can be found here, along with what looks like a great selection of other art historiography research. Mayhaps in that group y'all will come across another academic writer who has learned how to get a point across!

In honor of my new obsession with Amazon's Mechanical Turk program (I'm hoping I can make enough to cover application fees!), here is an article on the program's name-sake: the chess-playing automaton!

Have a great rest of your week.