138 thoughts on “Open Thread”

  1. Aw cool! Random talktimes with the Shapelings! Hi everyone!

    Hmm, well, let’s see, I got into a rambling last night on my LJ about life without words (click my name if you’re curious), and Nuckingfutz offered a truly touching and fascinating perspective on her child who actually does live without words. It’s worth a read (well, what she said is, I dunno if I’m confident enough about my ramblings to give them that high of praise. Heh).

    But I wonder what others think. If not only you, but NOBODY could speak, how would things change? We would need to find new ways to communicate, of course, but also to deal with our emotions, to entertain, to instruct, to express, and to create.

    I am, of course, decidedly word-oriented, or I wouldn’t have the love I do for languages, writing, and stories. Wouldn’t have the degree I do, either. But, I’m also very touch-oriented. I wonder what it would be to just feel things? To simply touch? If I couldn’t yell at my boyfriend when I’m angry with him, and I didn’t want to hurt him (which means no hitting), what would I do? Would I cry? Would I push him to the ground and sit on him? Would I stop getting angry altogether? After all, if he couldn’t talk either, he’d stop saying things that push my buttons. Maybe we’d just cuddle a lot.

    No cheating with sign language. Life without words. Contemplate. Go! :D

  2. SL: I would go crazy without language! I’m a big vocabulary/etymology buff. Could I play instruments or sing?

    Has anyone read any good fiction books lately? I’ve been reading lots of nonfiction and am sort of burnt out.

    Also, I bought a used bike the other day on Craigslist, and I love it. I finally got my asthma properly treated and no longer associate physical activity with weight-loss related anxiety, so I’m having a blast! I got a little basket and a thumb bell. I highly recommend it!

  3. I’d love to blogwhore the new FA 101 blog, but it’s still very much a work in progress, and there’s not nearly as much information there as i’d like. Still, if anyone’s interested in what’s already there, and what we’ve got planned, feel free to do so.

  4. Carleigh- I read a horribly depressing book that my Mom left me when she helped me move to my new house a couple of weeks ago. It’s called “Fall on Your Knees”, and not without good reason. She hated it and stopped reading halfway through, but I finished it and couldn’t put it down.

    In other news, today is my first day as a new assistant professor (well, first day lecturing, anyway). I am kind of nervous. Hopefully it won’t be too bad, since I sincerely believe that the first day of class should only last long enough to explain course policies. I know when I was an undergrad I hated it when professors actually tried to teach me something on day 1.

  5. I’m still laughing at loud (at work, damn you!) at your journal entry, Danielle. HAHAH! Thanks for brightening what feels like a cruddy Monday. :)

    P.S. Hehehehe @ “free balling floozy.” You’re killing me!!!

  6. Hi! *waves* I’m a new reader and usually a lurker!

    I, too, have no idea what I’d do without language. I’d probably resort to music. Perhaps the piano could speak for me.

  7. Hi fellow shapelings!

    I’m doing a tandem skydive on Thursday to raise money for the charity which I work for – woohoo! It’s my first, and as I’m buttock-clenchingly afraid of heights it’s going to be a challange.

    So I’m somewhere between terrified and excited, which isn’t a bad place to be.

    @ Kristin – love ‘Fall on your knees’ btw – religion or sex?

  8. Hmmm well I’ve been working on trying to write something about this article but haven’t gotten too far. It is as though after the long weekend my brain is still on holiday…or I have a case of the dumb. Either way; anyone else have thoughts on the article?

    The section I found to be one of the most intriguing:

    But strange as it may seem, bad times can also be good for health. Forget individual health for a minute. This is about the macro picture, the health of entire societies. And there statistics show that as economics worsen, traffic accidents go down, as do industrial accidents, obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking. Population-wide, even deaths from heart disease go down during recessions.

    The article speaks of Obesity as an action, as a behavior. The adjective “Obesity” has become…a VERB! To obese or not to obese… Anyone else up for going out to Obese tonight? *eyeroll*

    On SugarLeigh’s topic; I don’t know what I’d do without words. Are we counting both oral AND written? I am VERY touch oriented so perhaps that would, after a time (along with a greater understanding of the nuances of body language) come to express enough, perhaps even MORE than words. Don’t “they” usually say A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words? How many words would a 3-d, textured picture be worth? Interesting topic!

  9. Damn typos! I meant challenge, obv.

    And Kristin, I first read the book title as ‘fat on your knees’, so I now have an image of dimply knees in my head.

  10. SugarLeigh: How absolute are you making this if there is no sign language? What about pictograms? Pretty soon we’re back at language, even via dance and fine art. I think non-verbal communication, in humans, pretty quickly becomes some form of sign or some form of writing.

    And it needs to, since the vast amount of information it takes to be living in society as a human is non instinctive. It’s one thing to be a non-communicator in a society of communicators – the human web of information is there – but with no communication, we’d see a lot more of our chimpanzee selves. (In abnormal psych, which granted was a long time ago, we examined a lack of incoming language in children: the results generally appear painful.)

    Kristin — Congrats and good luck!

  11. I moved to Florida about a year ago for a job. I have now lost that job. Rather than wrangle with my landlord — my year’s lease is up at the end of September, and I don’t think I’m allowed to go month-to-month — and run around frantically trying to find a new job that will allow me to keep the apartment for another year, I’m packing up to move back to Minnesota, where I will run around trying to find a new job that will allow me to get a new apartment.

    I have mixed feelings about this: I liked the job, but it wasn’t my OMG PASSION, and I always got the feeling that I was an overwhelming disappointment for the guy who hired me. I’m thinking at this point about doing what I always secretly wanted to do, which is go to graduate school for English, but I’ve always been taught that graduate English = instant unemployment. Still, I tried what I thought I should be doing, and well. I’m packing.

    Sigh. Back to it.

  12. Sorry…the Noun Obesity; the adjective Obese….gah. I’m banking now on the case of the dumb over here O.o

  13. Inspired by Kate’s exploration into new forms of physical activity, I have decided to take a round of classes outisde the normal sphere of gym/Pilates/walking.

    Two weeks ago I took a Tai Chi class, this week I am taking a go-go dance lesson, next week I will try the Bar Method, and the week after belly dancing.

    I quite liked Tai Chi. The slow, beautiful movements make me feel graceful and feminine, and I can see how it has a very powerful effect on quieting one’s mind.

    It’s been very enjoyable to give my old bones new things to so and enjoy.

    What’s everyone else doing these days? Any recommendations or feedback?


  14. kristin, Fall on Your Knees is one of my most favorite novels ever. It’s heartbreaking but beautiful but disgusting but compelling but… Yeah, love it.

  15. I’ve always been taught that graduate English = instant unemployment.

    I can vouch that graduate Sociology = instant unemployment.

    I can’t be a social worker because I’m not an MSW. I have no experience grant writing (or any experience, really, besides grad school stuff like grading papers and SPSS).

    Right now I can’t work because I’m waiting for my work permit from Canada, but when I got out of grad school and looked, the best thing I could find was a part time receptionist gig at a music school, which hired me not because of my degree, but because I have lots and lots of musical background. I looked for months.

    Not to be depressing, but um..yeah.

  16. I’ve been looking into new/old forms of physical activity. I find myself most drawn to stuff I did as a kid, but stopped when I decided I got too fat for them: horseback riding and dancing. I’m still not convinced that I’m not too fat for horseback riding, though; any fat riders out there? Tips? I worry that I’d be too heavy for the horse(s), though my mother reminded me quite reasonably that there are large, not-fat men out there who weigh as much as me and ride horses.

    For my mental and physical health, I really really need a physical hobby, (and there’s no physical reason why I can’t take one up), so this is my big project for the fall.

    Oh, and my boyfriend is teaching me martial arts, so I can fend off scary people in the dark. Or at least kick in doors. I’m pretty sure I can kick in a door now.

  17. @everstar “I’ve always been taught that graduate English = instant unemployment.”

    I have a Master’s in English, got part way through a PhD program and quit because it turned out I didn’t want to be a professor after all.

    I work as a fundraiser at a Research I (e.g. really big) university. A lot of folks who work at the university have master’s degrees in humanities or social science. I woudn’t say it equals instant unemployment, though I was massively over-qualified for my first job after quitting grad school. The hardest part would be that in a humanities-area Master’s program your profs are probably assuming you want to be an academic and will gear what they’re teaching you toward that.

    In every job I’ve had since grad school my MA has been helpful. Employers have absolutely no doubt that you can write and edit, almost to a fault. If you really dream of it, do it. Though I’d suggest trying to keep the loans and debt as low as possible because you’re doing it for love, not to get a high-paying gig at the end.

  18. Eve – – kicking down doors sounds awesome. Brava!

    KH — Here is a description of the Bar Method: After a simple warm-up to get the heart rate going and the muscles warm, students work the upper body with free weights or push-ups. Next comes intense exercises performed while holding onto a bar, chair or ledge. This challenging standing section works the thighs, seat and hamstrings by isolating these muscles, then contracting or stretching them in controlled moves performed to music. The Bar Method’s workout continues with floor exercises for the abdominals and gluteals and concludes with a relaxing series of back and leg stretches.

    It sounds like a really good compliment to Pilates, which is more corrective and restorative. This sounds like a real asskicking without jumping or pounding, two things I cannot and will not do.

    ACHTUNG: There’s a lot of weight loss mumbo-jumbo on their website, which I promptly ignored. Then I literally gave it the finger. Both of which are reasonable responses, IMHO. I will definitely keep you all updated about what the teacher says/does regarding (my) chub.

  19. Eve, I’m with you! I do think that there is a poster in the fatosphere who is shareboarding a half draft horse that she rides. I miss riding so much.

    My current physical activity levels have been upped on my return from Disney World, I dragged my ass around those parks for 5 days straight and I was so sore, but now I’m walking a mile with no real issues. My dog is very pleased.

    I am in a musical now though and that’s going to keep me from having as much free time for physical activity. Fortunately singing and dancing is not exactly being lazy. So we’ll see how that goes.

    I saw a photo of myself from my recent trip and am Not feeling too good about myself as a result. I don’t want to make an appointment to see my doctor because I don’t want to talk about how much weight I have gained.

  20. Has anyone else experienced the Wii Fit? While I find the games really fun and the right amount of movement I can handle w/ my disability, I am disturbed at the shaming going on. There is so much focus on the BMI. Am I reading too much into it?

    Anyway, thought I would delurk since it’s an open thread and all.

  21. I started a new blog on what it’s like to weigh 400lbs or thereabouts. So far I’ve just posted on what the blog’s about, built an about page, and a new post going up soon on how most Offishcilly Obese people are nowhere near my size.

    Next up is something about my mom. I’m planning to start a “day in the life” series tomorrow that is a bit like “Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream” in terms of the speed it moves through the day.

    Any suggestions folks want to make?

  22. Bar Method…hmm. It looks rather ballet-ish in parts–probably because of the bar. Imagine that.

    Speaking of, I’m a bit apprehensive this week in relation to exercise. I took a ballet class this summer and absolutely loved it; the students were size-diverse, the teacher never mentioned weight loss or calorie-burning or anything, and it helped me feel really good about what my body can do…including look cute in a leotard! The fall session is starting this week, though, with a different instructor and probably some different attendees. I really hope it stays awesome!

    Also, I discovered that one of the local community centers offers reaaaally cheap group exercise classes; I’m starting a strength training one tomorrow.
    *hides under her desk from new people and potential weight loss talk nervousness*

  23. Would it be wrong to blogwhore (verbing!) my beautiful 4 year old on his first day of school? I think he looks very scholarly, you know…for a Kindergartener.

  24. I started a blog so that I didn’t have to visit multiple blogs to laugh at multiple kinds of linguistic silliness. http://www.redpenbrigade.com But I’m too busy to often find things to post on it, and so it is not as good a blog as many of y’all’s.

    Actually, my workplace has a very strict blog policy, so I’m not sure I ever *could* have a blog as good as many of y’all’s. Do you all have very blog-lenient employers? Or are you all self-employed? Or are you all just braver than I?

  25. Welp, I just went 24 hours without power, slipped outside taking pictures of hurricane debris, and all but mangled my right foot. *shakes fist at Gustav*

    I want to get invovled in my school’s Rec Center because, seriously, I toured the place and it’s awesome. But I’m very self-conscious about working out alongside slim college students, many of them athletes. I also have no idea what to do there besides hit the treadmill (which I do enjoy), but Kate’s exercise posts are inspiring.

  26. This weekend, my roommate and I adopted a pair of wonderful kittycats! We got them through an online ad posting, which, strangely, used only headshots of them.
    Then, when they arrived, we found out why only the ‘headshots’ — they’re both fat! One is ordinary fat-cat kind of fat, and one is just HUGE. They’re amazing — sweet, loving, purring sacks full of love!
    I’m more than a little disturbed that people would perceive (rightly?) fat kitties to be un- (or less)adoptable. The funny thing is, my roommate and I (who are both fat) were actually originally looking to adopt fat cats, as we felt they’d fit in well with our fat, happy ‘family’!

  27. @ everstar: Is there any reason why you couldn’t go back to the field you’re in now, if you can’t find employment with your master’s in English?
    I returned to school (if part-time) to study what I love after attempting what I was *supposed* to do. My degree program keeps me sane in a job that isn’t my perfect fit, and I hope to enter a PhD program when I’m done.
    This summer I met an incredible artist who has an engineering degree. She does not currently work as an engineer; she got the degree because she thought it would be more useful. I’m so glad she’s not stuck in a cubicle somewhere where her talent would be hidden from the world.
    Good luck!

  28. I was in a hurry and I posted under my E-mail address above (sorry) could a moderator so kindly erase that post so that the e-mail doesn’t show to everyone?

    I spent a good portion of this weekend disgusted at the internet because so many people were commenting on old pictures of Palin’s daughter saying that she looked pregnant (this was before the news came out that she was, and the pics were verified as being from 2006). It pisses me off that so many people felt entitled to comment of another persons body. The stupid KOS article that spawned most of it said that belly fat was evenly distributed so thats how they knew it was more than just a normal belly. So apparently KOS only looks at fashion model types because they were unaware that female bellies are somewhat poochy and rounded. She is a minor for heavens sake, people need to keep their eyes and their opinions to themselves when it comes to anything body related.

    The other thing that made me angry (as seen on a newsvine discussion) are the people proclaiming to be pro-choice but then criticizing Palins reproductive choices, and trying to validate their own hypocrisy by saying that she would do it to them, so they can do it to her. Thats not the way pro-CHOICE goes, you have to respect other peoples choices even if they do not respect your own.

    Please excuse me while I go grumble in a corner.

  29. Vidya- That cats could be considered only worthy of headshots is so amusing! Did they totally have the looking-up-into-the-camera thing going on, so their chins didn’t show?

  30. Ouyang Dan, I don’t think you’re reading too much into it. I’m torn on the WiiFit myself, for the same reason. I haven’t used it and am hesitant to buy it because of the BMI crap, but at the same time, it sounds like fun. Grrrr.

  31. On the Wii Fit thing; my Mom, LOVES it. She is freaking adorable when she calls, all excited at how her balance is improving and she doesn’t realize that an hour goes by because she is having fun. She expressed the same dismay others have shown when entering her height/weight made her little Mii character get fat but that aside she really seems to be enjoying a fun game set that gets her moving. For that, I give it kudos. For that stupid little BMI based Mii bloating I give it a shake of the finger.

  32. Did they totally have the looking-up-into-the-camera thing going on, so their chins didn’t show?
    I think the photo of one of them was actually from long back, in his earlier adulthood. The other one was partially obscured behind the bedsheet she was lying on/in. It’s so funny and sad at the same time.

  33. Eve – As for horseback riding, don’t worry so much about the horses. Whatever stable you go to should be able to direct you to a horse that can carry you just fine (as opposed to, say, a pony or a really old horse). If you think you can handle the general bounciness of riding and the stiffness and soreness that usually occur whenever you ride if you haven’t been at it a lot, then go for it.

  34. I’m getting nervous at all this “English grad school = unemployment” stuff. I would imagine that that means that gender/media studies grad school = living in a box, right? Why couldn’t I have taken an interest in business classes instead?

  35. Is it possible to scam the wii fit by entering a fake height/weight, or will the scale portion always enter into effect?

  36. I hate that meme, harveypenguin, FWIW. I think you can find a job with any sort of degree if you’re halfway creative and can argue your assets to a prospective employer.

  37. My life is being run by my Lhasa Apso-Chihuahua mix. He is having trouble accepting me as the pack leader.

    Seriously, have you ever been pulled down the street by a puppy that weighs under 10 pounds?

  38. @living400lbs,

    “I’m planning to start a “day in the life” series tomorrow that is a bit like “Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream” in terms of the speed it moves through the day.”

    Do I get points for recognizing the King Crimson reference? Long-time fan I am, since nineteen-frickin’ eighty-two, when I was in high school.

    Looking forward to your blog. It’s amazing how differently people “wear” their weight (which is one of the reasons why “weight” and BMI are such useless modes of comparison). I’m 5’3 with a BMI of around 51-52 (possibly more, but not much more), but from that photo it looks like you’re not nearly as big as me. But it’s hard to tell from one photo, and the more time goes by, the harder it is to tell just how big I am. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think I look fat and pretty much ok, and sometimes it’s “Holy shit, do I not fit in that chair??”

    I am neither apple- nor pear-shaped– more of a super-stocky, muscular hour-glass shape. Wide, low to the ground, fat just about everywhere except from the elbows to the fingertips and knees to toes.

  39. I’ve been talking about fat/body acceptance on my own blog and to friends, and because of that I’ve become more forward with guys, too.

    As a result a friend of mine commented with “wow, you must have found some really really desperate guys” and when I reacted pissed off to that (something along the lines of “you mean I can’t get anyone better ’cause I am fat?) he responds with something even more headdesk-worthy, referring to the body acceptance thing as “fat girl bs”.

    By then I didn’t even know how to respond any more. I tried explaining that he as a normal-weight guy can’t imagine what a fat girl might feel like, and he argued that being fat and ridiculed wasn’t any different than having glasses or pimples and being ridiculed. Also things like “you think you had it bad, I’ve been beaten up”.

    I’ve just no idea how to deal with people like that: people who think that if I get attention from guys those guys MUST be desperate (even if I was the first one to mention fat, not him) and then call the whole fat/body acceptance idea “fat girl bullshit”. Now I’ve known this guy for a while and I know he isn’t stupid, but I can’t get it through his freaking head.

    I feel like grabbing my Clue Katana ™ and whopping him over the head with it till he gets a freaking clue.

  40. @Danielle,

    Are you sure he isn’t stupid, just in his own special stupid place?

    What is really braintwisty are the guys who assume all fat chicks are desperate for attention, so they hit on the fat chicks. Badly, of course, because they have no wit, less verve, and only bad humor. Then – and this is the funniest part – they GET UPSET when they find the fat chick is not interested!

    One guy at a Vegas BBW Bash COULD NOT get through his head that my prior plans with friends and my husband really did outweigh his offer to meet me for drinks and “maybe (significant stare at my rack) something after”. How dare I have plans! How dare I have a life partner! How dare I not immediately strip and drop to my knees because he deigned to show me interest!

    Poor darlin, he just didn’t get it.

  41. My mom just sent me this picture (http://bp2.blogger.com/_uExTzMIDd1Y/R2O5nKq9_tI/AAAAAAAAATE/At2bb_K_3ao/s1600-h/Sarah-Palin-Vogue.jpg) to complain about Sarah Palin. Now, ignoring all the problems I have with this as a feminist: is my mom an idiot? Her hed is pasted on yey. Obviously. OBVIOUSLY. My mom is much too smart a lady to fall for that. I should draw a picture of John McCain having sex with a goat in MSPaint and send it to her as breaking news of a sex scandal.

  42. Oh dear, that link didn’t seem to work. It’s the same Sarah Palin photoshopped Vogue cover that’s been going around.

  43. Wow, disappear for a few hours to look up information about grad schools and the JET program… ;)

    Well, okay, I’m rethinking applying to University of Hawaii if English MA means no jobs for Sugar. I’m having a hard enough time with that with my English/Writing BA!

    I want to study folklore, and am thinking after that, a job as a teacher at the college level (maybe work on a doctorate while teaching) or a research position at a museum or similar might be options available, and of course I’m open to other things, just don’t know what other opportunities there may be!

    But boy, oh boy, it’s like being in college again trying to get into college again! I just spent all day looking up how to apply to the JET program and a mere three schools. If I get into JET it means I get to teach English in Japan for a year (neato!) and that will help my chances of studying Japanese ghost and monster folklore (did I mention that ghost and monster folklore is my especial area of interest? cuz it is). ^_^

    And, WOWZA, the flippin’ GRE is SCARY! I don’t remember sweating the ACT’s like this. I have a book by Kaplan that’s supposed to help me prepare. Wish me luck!

    I just hope I can manage to get everything done and in on time! I hope at least one of them lets me in! I hope this helps me get a “real” job/ life/ whatever! I hope the experiences are super-awesome! I hope I don’t shrivel up in fright!

    Growing up is pretty hardcore. The older I get, the smaller I seem to feel. Which is funny considering the size of me now in comparison to the rest of my life. HA HA HARRRR.

    Hey, yeah. Why the heck does it take so long to “grow up” anymore? I’m 26 and not even done with school, and still trying to learn about myself and how the world works. 50 years ago I’d be married with kids and halfway to dead. DO NOT GET.

    Am I done rambling yet? I think I’m done.

    See, I loves the wordings too. ;)

  44. I’ve been walking 4-5 miles a day for a few months now around Los Angeles. The only thing I don’t totally love about it is having insults yelled at me almost every day, often multiple incidents. I’ve made major strides in the self-esteem area in the last few years, but still….when I’m all rocking out to my iPod and getting into a groove and enjoying my body and some asshole leans out his car window to scream “FATASS!” at me, it’s a buzzkill to say the least. It’s like being reduced from this happy all-encompassing being to a small turd on someone’s shoe in an instant. I know it’s ridiculous, but it hurts, and sometimes, I’m ashamed to say, it keeps me from going on my walks at all.

    Fellow shapelings, how have you dealt with this issue, and does it get better?


    Here, for your viewing pleasure, is one of my favorite photos of my dog Eppy:

    My dog does the dishes. Lassie, eat your heart out!

  46. Meg, there’s nothing wrong or shaming with the fact that such things have an effect on you… of course they do! The very intention of those asses is to be a “buzzkill,” because they can’t stand to see somebody enjoying themselves and they want to assert their “dominance” over you because it makes them feel like they’re so great (they’re not).

    It’s annoying, it’s embarrassing, it’s frustrating, it’s depressing, and it can even be threatening/ scary. It’s totally okay that you have normal reactions to something unpleasant.

    If you feel bold enough, I recommend wiggling your fabulous booty in the direction of such naysayers, winking over your shoulder, and smacking it. If you have enough time, flip the bird too. The obvious message? “Kiss it, loser… you wish!” What can they do? They can’t retaliate or have the last word. They’re in a car, heading in the opposite direction. You will have the last laugh and assert your amazingness (to yourself more importantly than them, they’re probably too stupid to get it anyhow) in the process. Continue to rock. Swagger a bit. You’re worth it. ;)

    If I was a real sass I’d say moon ’em but eh, that’s something frat boys do. Besides, they’d like it too much.

  47. Meg – you can actually walk in LA? I always found it to be next to impossible, because the sidewalks would stop inexplicably, or you’d have to cross a crazy large road or a freeway off ramp. Walking from the bus stop on National to my apartment meant I was taking my life in my hands!

  48. *hugs for harveypenguin* Sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out. It’s just… the trope, you know? “You’re majoring in English? You know what English majors say after graduation, right? ‘You want fries with that?’ Ha ha.”

    I know I should have kept my loans low: I have two Bachelor’s degrees right now. (English/Psychology and Physics.) I think I don’t want to be a professor; I think I’d like to be an editor or something like that, although the idea of arguing over books and writing papers sounds like fun too. I’m actually thinking of writing my thesis on the beginning of British empiricism/the scientific method and how that influenced the zeitgeist; specifically how it manifested in literature. So I’m late Elizabethan/early Stuart.

    I’m seriously ridiculously excited about this idea, although I’m a little intimidated because I’m going to have to write a writing sample outlining this idea for some of the schools I want to apply to. (And I’m going to have to take French again. I’ve missed taking French. Eeeee.)

    I keep thinking I can get a job technical writing, but so far, no luck. Back to work.

  49. I wasn’t trying to be a shithead about the grad school thing. I’m sure my M.A. in sociology will be useful for something, someday. For learning’s sake, I really, really enjoyed filling my head with knowledge and meeting other awesome sociological people, but the degree hasn’t paid off in the capitalist sense yet.

  50. Carleigh, have you looked into the research divisions of government? That’s the degree my boss has, and she finds it quite useful in our field. :)

  51. Unsolicited advice from the Dr.:

    Grad programs, especially in the humanities or liberal arts, are not a guarantee of employment. Neither is law school. If you are thinking of going back because of a nebulous idea that it’ll make your life better or fix something (unless you know that your field really requires a degree in X and you want to get it for that reason), don’t go. It’s a little like the FoBT – the degree will not make you into a whole other person. It’ll affect your qualifications and knowledge but not your preferences or inclinations, most likely.

    The best way to approach any grad program, either masters or PhD, is to ask yourself “Will I enjoy this? Do I just want to know all this stuff for the sake of knowing it, no matter what the professional outcome may be?” If you can answer yes honestly, then go for it.

    Also, don’t plan on teaching unless you actually like teaching. I cannot tell you how many people I know who got a grad degree thinking they would “just teach” only to learn they hate teaching and don’t want to do it for the rest of their lives. I’m the prime example of this.

    I got my PhD two years ago. I have nearly been unemployed twice so far. Even though I’m just starting at a tenure track job, I’m becoming more and more convinced that teaching just isn’t my thing. I’m never going to be comfortable doing it and it’s never going to be really enjoyable. I was close to going back for a second masters (MLIS – archiving or preservation, both things I’m really interested in) before I got this job and I imagine I’ll be making that change sometime in the next two years.

    Danielle Oh God I so feel your pain. It’s way more complicated and painful “coming out” about this subject to friends because you don’t expect the kind of blind, hurtful prejudice from people who like and care about you, so when it comes it’s much worse than random assholes on the street.

    I posted some links to Adiposivity last night and this one girl I know came back with “Oh God, I can’t believe you linked to that site they’re just fetishizing people who are doing something totally unhealthy with their bodies!” She also compared Adiposivity with Italian models because both of them are “doing” such terrible things to their bodies. (Because fat is a choice, etc.) I wanted to cry.

    Argh. People.


  52. DRST: Yeah, I’m not going back for a job. I already did that; that’s how I got the physics degree. At this point, the English degree… it’s like, seriously, if I can talk about books and write papers and babble at people about textual interpretations and so forth, oh my god, I will be SO HAPPY. Even if I have to build a shelter out of thesis drafts to live in, I’ll be totally happy. I always felt a little stupid with Physics, but I never ever feel stupid with English. And while I always told myself I don’t want to teach, I’ve been sort of enjoying the idea of doing it with undergrads. So… yeah. I don’t know. It’s very exciting. At this point, I’m mostly fretting about finding three English teachers from my past who will recommend me.

    It’s not that I think it’s going to improve me or make me better. It’s that I think this is who I actually am and going for the degree is accepting that. Does that make sense?

    Wait, were you even talking to me? XD

  53. I agree with DRST that it’s a bad idea to go to grad school just because you aren’t sure what else to do. I think those people have the roughest time because there’s no long-term reason for them to continue to let themselves suffer so much! Grad school is killer hard and it really helps to have a good reason to be there.

    But if you absolutely love the subject and think you really want to go into academia, for serious (especially if you like/don’t hate teaching – though for anyone else out there in the sciences, if you hate teaching you can go to a lab with a graduate degree), or like DRST said, you want a job that requires a higher degree, then it’s easier. That said, a lot of people do go to grad school unsure why they are going, and some of them decide it’s right for them later and stick it out and like the career options afterwards. It just seems harder for them, and the fewer of them stay for a full PhD.

    Also, the job market is awful right now in academia. There are jobs but they are hard to get. I keep hoping that will get better, though…

  54. Apropos of nothing (since this IS an open thread, right?), I had my wedding shower this weekend and got seven cutting boards, two rolling pins, and thirteen (or so) wooden spoons.

    Yeah. No doubles of anything else, though. The registry website only messed up a little.

    Oddly enough, I’ll be keeping about four of the cutting boards.

  55. The Wii Fit is totally fun. The games are really fun and you don’t realize how much time is going by or that you are actually exercising. The emphasis on BMI is ridiculous. As I noted here on that alone it was worth the purchase (I had store credit since Warhammer online isn’t being released for Mac). But any game that tells me my six year old daughter is overweight at 4’2″ is fucked up. The BMI is a crock, and I just don’t see the need for labels like that. We love the games, but I wonder if it was worth it. Isn’t enough that we are enjoying exercise that can be done in amounts I can handle?

  56. SugarLeigh:
    The GRE is scary, but you can do it. Just remember, unlike the ACT, they really are trying to trick you.

    I just started my MLIS, Monday, it’s going pretty well so far. I always think, if grad school and librarianship don’t work out, at least I have 15 years of work experience to fall back on. :) I am incredibly interested in conservation and preservation, but the field is soooo tiny.

    I just picked up a book that you might enjoy: A Degree of Mastery, A Journey Through Book Arts Apprenticeship by Annie Tremmel Wilcox.

  57. A link to my new dress I’m going to wear this weekend when I go to see the Mamma Mia! Sing-a-Long ed. Tee hee!

    And this funny-to-me <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/pipapip/2819503517/”video of my bestie dancing.

  58. So, I said to myself, “well okay self, you’ve had enough academics and staring at a screen for one day, it’s time to take a break.” Then for whatever reason I decided to start reading through my GRE guidebook, because apparently my brain doesn’t understand the concept of “break” (or any of its roots or groupings?).

    Now I’m at the computer again (needed Dictionary.com), all excited because my book has NEW! words in it (I’m a geek about learning new words, I loooove it), and yet also enough of these words in the lists are familiar that I feel all smart… these people think “laud” is a fancy word… they never read Terhune, apparently. ;) I even know what a tonneau is thanks to him, does the GRE? Hee hee!

    As to grad school and why I imagine I should go: I just can’t stand not being in academia anymore. The only place I ever felt like I fit in, the place where I throve, the place that was “my world,” was college. I avoided the thought of grad school at first because I was so desperate to be in school after 8 months of a “rock-bottom of the abysmal-barrel” job and the realization that no career that I wanted wanted me, that I was afraid I was just trying to escape back to the familiar and happy. But after a time I came to see that, without further education, I’m probably not going to be qualified for the sorts of positions that would challenge and stimulate me. And I cannot, CANNOT, be content in a position that doesn’t require me to use my brain. I have to be intellectually stimulated or I feel as if my entire brain is atrophying.

    So, while I’m still not 100% sure of what, exactly exactly, I want to do with myself, I at least have a good idea and a general plan (and a backup plan if that fails), and I’m hoping I make it into JET so I can do that first, maybe it will clarify things for me (and I can get a taste of teaching and see if teaching college is what I really wanna do).

    If I could just get paid to run around learning things and researching things all day that’s what I’d do but I know that sort of job gets to be reality for like, one in every five bazillion people that try to or want to do it. So… yeah, won’t hold my breath or anything.

    Anyhow, thank you, thank you(!) to everyone with input on the subject. I actually feel better, between you dears and the writers at Kaplan (who did this GRE book) that I’m on the right track and actually probably have the mental aptitude to succeed too! Now there’s a bonus. ;)

    Though it seems I’ll probably not be getting the best score on the math portion, er, I guess it’s “quantitative reasoning” but whatever it’s NUMBERS. Apparently even if you get all 800 points you’re just in the 96th percentile… well JOY. I know I shan’t be scoring that high, I’m lucky I know how to divide by two!

    PS, new word of the day: opprobrium! Doesn’t it just roll off the tongue? How fun! OPPROBRIUM!
    Definition courtesy of Dictionary.com:
    the disgrace or the reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy.
    Example sentence courtesy me:
    Michael Vick will never recover from the opprobrium he’s earned among dog lovers!

  59. I don’t feel like blogwhoring today but, can someone pretty please tell me that no I really don’t need red glittery platform pumps? Please.

    Also HAY Sugar :D

    And does anyone else suffer from terrible want of super impractical things?

    I am having one of those days.

  60. Also, Sugar? I thought the GRE was easier than the SAT. *shrugs* Try FreeRice.com for vocabulary building in a fun and competitive-ish way.

    Shannon, every trip to DSW is a bout of terrible want of super-impractical things for me. :) Be strong!

  61. I don’t feel like blogwhoring today but, can someone pretty please tell me that no I really don’t need red glittery platform pumps?

    You don’t need them as long as you already have a pair and a spare at home.

  62. You guys are such enablers of my terrible shoe habit.

    Have you seen those at Torrid?

    Does it say anything weird about me that everything I want from Torrid right now comes from the costume section?

  63. The GRE is scary, but you can do it. Just remember, unlike the ACT, they really are trying to trick you.
    God, hearing about this stuff really makes me glad I’m in Canada (we don’t use these SAT/ACT/GRE tests, usually just course grades to determine university and grad-school admissions).

  64. I am a mere two days away from moving to LA for school. By myself. Bringing next to nothing with me.

    Can I tell you how excited I am?

    ((but right after I get there I’m going to have to take a math placement test, and it’s been well over three years since my last math class in school and I’m freaking myself out about it – what kind of math is on college math placement tests? As long as I pass I shouldn’t have to take any more math classes, as I’ve gotten all my credits…*worries*))


  65. Hi, Time-Machine — from what I remember, it’s mostly algebra with a little bit of geometry and trig. Sort of like SAT math. Yours might be different, though.

  66. I’m sorry to (maybe) bring down the mood on this thread, but Feministing just posted a piece on the AL law (without comment, natch). For some reason I read the comments, even though I know very well that posts like that always devolve into some nasty fat-hating on Feministing – and true to form, it has. There’s the predictable, “Of course those fatty fat fats should pay more – they cost more! It’s a lifestyle choice, you know!” But what really got me (and made me close the window and come here immediately) is this one commenter. He starts out cautioning us on claiming that genetics have a lot to do with our weight, cause of some slippery slope bs or something. He ends by comparing the genetic component to weight to having a rape or murder gene. As in, if you say your weight is caused by genetics, you better be willing to lock up anyone who has a rape/murder gene even if they haven’t done anything. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? DO YOU HEAR WHAT YOU ARE SAYING?!!? BEING FAT IS NOT THE SAME AS RAPING OR MURDERING SOMEONE!!

    Sorry for yelling. It really made me mad. It’s weird, too, because Feministing is the site that indirectly led me to FA. Before the yogurt ad thread on there, I had no idea that there might be something okay about being fat (and I wasn’t convinced, since the majority of commenters were adamant that there wasn’t anything okay about it), but the idea kept niggling at me. Finally, through some stroke of luck, a commenter or post linked here, and I was converted. But now that I am, I am sick at how the fat-hate is given free reign there. It’s upsetting.


  67. I forgot to say this before:

    *waves pom poms of encouragement to all the student Shapelings*

    everstar I was mostly babbling to anyone who will listen. ;)

    You may discover you like teaching once you’re doing it. That’s totally possible. It just wasn’t what happened to me. And you sound like you have a fabulous attitude about the degree! Go you! (Also your recommendations might not have to come from former teachers – if you’ve been out of school a while a letter from a boss will work as well.)

    bellacoker cool! Keep us (well, me) updated on how it goes! I’m interested in archival work the most, I think. *adds book to amazon shopping list*

    SugarLeigh btw, the practice book is totally the way to ace the GRE. Do some practice tests to get used to the format and it’ll help a lot. And I so get how you feel about academia. I’m not happy teaching and my career goals are basically a job where I can just read and research and organize things all day without having to do too much human interaction and I can wear jeans all the time. But I’m too much of a geek not to love the environment where EVERYONE is a geek and it’s normal. ;)


  68. If it’s an open thread, can I butt in and add a fashion category? (To link up to the workout line, one of my favorite yoga instructors has scored a gig doing both yoga and Pilates at my school, during work hours, during times I can actually make it. I am SO. EXCITED.)

    So, I saw an ad and coveted this dress from LB. Went to buy it b/c it would go great for a concert I’m going to this weekend, and I have nothing else to wear, so yeah, I’m a bit desperate. Got there, and they had only one left, three sizes too large for me. Boo. I went ahead and tried it on to see if I could tell if I wanted them to order it in the right size, and went “Oh, huh.” The too bigness seemed to work, somehow. The black empire waistband turned into a regular waistband, the above-knee turned into a below-knee, and the cap sleeves turned into half sleeves. The bust somehow was stretchy enough that it still looked ok and not too bunchy.
    The question is, am I insane? The couple of women just outslde the dressing room said it looked fine, and I went ahead and bought it. It is totally not what it’s supposed to look like, and I kind of worry that I’ve somehow frumpified it, but does it sound like that would work? Help!

  69. Today was my very first day of grad school classes. It was long and exciting and stressful and I wish I could have gone into it with an adequate amount of sleep.

    I did have another totally ridiculous and exciting thing happen. Since I’m in an informatics program and informatics people love crazy new technology, lots of my classmates and faculty have twitter accounts and I’ve started actually paying attention to the account I made in May. I started following the bitch phd ladies during their DNC stuff, and now Sybil Vane is following me back! I totally geeked out. So I guess now I’m going to twitterwhore:

    ok, I just went back and read over the discussions of grad school, and I have to say I just feel incredibly lucky that I am really passionate and excited about a field that is also really hot right now (human-computer interaction). By all accounts I am going to be highly employable once I graduate from my program, which is mostly focused on preparing us for industry jobs, though also with opportunities for research with faculty. I don’t honestly know whether I will be happy working in industry when I graduate, since I’ve never been out of school, but I am just itching to build things that people actually use, and I’m not sure I can do much of that in academia.

    Assuming I make it through, that is.

    For what it’s worth, in my own limited experience, how much I like teaching depends highly on how much I like the subject. If I had to teach a calculus class I think I would hate it, or English as a second language, particularly in a foreign country (I’m a total homebody and can have trouble dealing with change), but sharing my passion with people is always a wonderful experience, despite all the reasons I find teaching to be rather scary.

    So, Sugarleigh, even if you don’t get into JET or don’t like it, you’ll probably teach to some extent while in grad school (phd’s almost always do, with a master’s it varies by program), and it may be a very different experience.

  70. But now that I am, I am sick at how the fat-hate is given free reign there. It’s upsetting.

    Which is why Feministing is off my list, along with Pandagon, and Majikthise . Support fat hate? Go fuck yourself. This has freed up a lot of my time.

  71. Yeah, you know, I love Jessica, but I just thought about commenting over there and decided it’s not even fucking worth it. The ignorance is breathtaking, and I can’t believe comments saying that “the reality is” fat people “take up too much space” and that “most fat people are unattractive” are being allowed to stand on a feminist blog. That’s without even getting into the “But fat is unhealthy! And it can’t be genetic, because OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC!”

  72. I just thought about commenting over there and decided it’s not even fucking worth it

    Yeah. I’m not saying it’s never worth the time to make a point and maybe even ping a thought process in those who might be open to it, but… fuck it. I use up all my Sanity Points just getting through a normal day – why look for aggravation?

  73. Hi there,
    First time writer here……I love you all..you have made me think alot about my body issues. I have put more thought into the chains that weigh me down since I found you then in my entire life. I am a lovely 5’8 234 pound size 18 girl. I am proud of my body and who I am. I am trying to be ok with being plus sized…Here is a topic for you. About 2 years ago I lost 40 or so pounds with the assitance of WW’s. I needed to make some eating changes to make my life better. I was eating like crap and treating my body like crap. I did it for the wrong reasons, but you get the picture. After a year of losing weight pretty steadily I hit my lowest weight that I can remember, 217 pounds. I found myself being able for the first time in my life to start to enter the “normal size” of clothing. I got scared. I didn’t know how to be a normal size. I didn’t know where to shop. So much of my life has been about being a plus size woman and I guess until that day I didn’t see that. Maybe it was fear of being put in with all the other normals and not measuring up. Or maybe it was because I am in some way proud of who and what I am. Size included..the irony of this all is I have since gained weight 234 pounds…and I am panicking. I don’t wanna go back to the weight I was because frankly I was just unhealthy but I cannot seem to reconcile accepting who I am and that meaning that I will perhaps never been the 200 pounds I dream of. It is my own personal struggle and fight with acceptance that I have to figure out. A friend of mine told me I was crazy the other day. I am crazy because I am scared to lose weight and scared to gain weight…is that f’ed up or what? Might be an interesing topic..

  74. So freaking adorable :D

    My folks used to have a Papillon – so cute.

    I just figured out that my own dog has a BMI of nearly 40. She’s 14 inches tall at the head and weighs 11 pounds. You can see every one of her ribs which is completely normal for an IG.

  75. DRST: I’d feel more comfortable asking my former profs to recommend me than my recent bosses. Let’s just put it that way.

  76. I’m going to talk about middle school – specifically, my daughter starting middle school last week. Some of the discussions on here have terrified me that it was going to be a horrible, fat-hating, soul-crushing experience for her. I guess it still could be, but so far, so good. She’s made friends. Everyone has been nice (according to her). No bullying, no name-calling, no nastiness. The PE teacher is OK – strict, but OK. A visit to the PE teacher’s homepage (all the teachers at this school have them) lists her goals for teaching PE as, “1. To increase an awareness and appreciation in each child of the importance and benefit of movement in their everyday lives. 2. To increase knowledge about human movement in sports and fitness. 3. To increase the physical capacity for various types of movement. ” Those sound exactly like the sort of goals we’ve discussed here as being worthwhile, appropriate goals for movement and exercise, so I’m encouraged that maybe PE won’t be the fat kid’s nightmare for her that it has been for so many others. Fingers crossed, everybody.

  77. I’m considering just removing them from my reader. I hardly read the comments, but I was intrigued by the title they gave it “Alabama considers” charging obese people more. Considers? It’s happening. But awesome for making it seem hypothetical. Yeah, I think I’m done with them now.

    I can’t believe comments saying that “the reality is” fat people “take up too much space” … are being allowed to stand on a feminist blog.

    Especially given the feminist theoretical frameworks that so obviously falls into. Fat “people” (read: women) take up too much space and should disappear. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, pretty sure that kind of eliminationist rhetoric has long been used against women.

  78. Lalaroo, I don’t read Feministing anymore for that reason. I admire the authors and have nothing against the posts, but the comment sections are just… not safe. Not just when it comes to fatphobia either… they don’t moderate very heavily and it shows.

    Feministing is how I got here too (I think it might have been from Feministing to BFB to here. Same yogurt conversation). But Feministing for me was kind of a stepping stone on my journey to feminism. I can remember it fondly without having to still subject myself to its comment section.

  79. They ate so many of my SW points that I lost it and stayed up too late typing up a rant. I think the rant got me a few points back, though.

  80. Well, that felt good, and I think I’ll keep the points I got back by not giving a shit about their responses and going to bed! Night all!

  81. Meg: where do you live in the LA area? Because I live in Pasadena and don’t get that shit at all and I walk on the major streets. Every once in awhile I’ll get whistles from the mechanics, but no nastiness re: my weight.

    And ugh. . .my butt muscles hurt. Going to Sturtevant Falls with the dog this weekend and then doing things like my hula class today have me all kinds of sore. But folding paper cranes and having dinner with Joy Nash on Sunday was good.

  82. I start grad school in like a week. I…have not packed. I have not bought any of the things I need (though I did buy a headcrab hat. Y’know. In case I need a Halloween costume. Ohgodthishalflifeobsessionneedstostop). I have no idea how I’m going to drive there. I have lost my paperwork. I need a haircut. I…should stop procrastinating. Ahem.

    I’m glad I didn’t need to do a GRE or anything. I just wrote a letter to some nice people and then talked about a paper for a while, and for some unknown reason they decided to give me lots of money to come study there. To be honest, I live in fear that they will spend a week with me and realise they have made a terrible, terrible mistake.

    Disturbingly (I’ll be working in a hospital lab, and am therefore technically an employee of that NHS trust) they have asked me for my height and weight. I sense impending calculations of BMI…I really can’t see why they’d need to know that. It isn’t going to affect my pipetting skills. OR IS IT?

  83. agreed on feministing, which is too bad because it was one of my introductions to the feminist blogosphere, but I’ve hardly read their posts for months, they are so often disappointing. And I don’t even read the comments.

    Lynne, some of my friends call that “post and ditch” and I am totally a supporter. make your point and then don’t engage the hate. maybe you’ll get through to some open-minded lurkers, while the people who get pissed and argue are beyond seeing anything but their own righteousness anyway.

    so…basically, what kate said.

    on an unrelated note, hooray for shapeling twitter friends!

  84. I’ve got Internet issues, and a nice debate over what “wireless” Internet really is shaping up in my comments section, right… uh… here.

    My whoring here is done! Now I shall crack open my loooovely vodka and read through all these comments and new sites. ;)

  85. Hi, Lady Mercy!

    I don’t know if this is the right spot to say this, but oh, yes, you’re not alone at all. Any body changes start a whole new adventure in self-acceptance because change is scary – and sometimes it’s worse when we’re told a change is supposed to be nothing but positive and sunshine and ponies because then on top of all that unknown stuff we can feel bad because we’re not supposed to feel anything but overwhelming joy about it.

  86. Hi SugarLeigh!

    I’m not on JET, but I am an English teacher in Japan and several of my friends here are JETs , so my advice to you: GO FOR IT. Seriously, it is one of the most rewarding experiences you could possibly have. Seeing the kids’ English flourish under your tutelage gives me warm fuzzies. Seeing them start to like it is mindblowing.

    Also, Japan has a lot of issues (*cough*waistline regulations!*cough*), but at least that won’t apply to you. :)

    Good luck!

  87. I lurk pretty often, but I think I’ll speak up today. Tomorrow I am going to Tokyo Disneyland (hooray!). At some point soon I have to decide whether to stay where I am, which is a non-degree research student studying in Japan, or head back home for graduate studies. It’s great being here, apart from the times it does my head in, and I think good for academic resume, but I really want the degree as soon as I can get it: I’m planning to go on to a PhD after my Master’s, and I just feel like, “When is it going to start?” I think I have a case of my hamster-wheel head about it: keeps spinning, goes nowhere.

    Re: the GREs, when I took them a couple years ago they sent me a helpful study CD after I registered, so you may want to register early to get some extra, and free, study materials.

  88. I taught SAT and GRE prep classes for the Princeton Review for a couple of years, and boy, studying and practicing makes a HUGE difference. Practice, practice, practice. Get your hands on practice tests and go to town. Even if you just get a couple, do those over a few times each. It’s a weird thought pattern to be in, and if you’re in the groove and used to it, you do soooo much better.

  89. I got new hearing aids today. :D They are awesome. :D (For those interested, the hearing aids in question are Siemens Cielo SP, :D) Mostly I just want to squee about how cool they are, because the main hearing aids are BLACK and my left earmould is WHITE and the right earmould is PURPLE and it looks so snazzy. :D :D I had green earmoulds before with some boring brown hearing aids, and before moulds in this awesome blue, and before that clear ones with GOLD SPARKLIES in, and last month I decided to step it up and go for the whole effect since I was getting new ones anyway, and IT IS SO COOL. :D :D :D

    Also, I have the best audiologist ever. :D

  90. I’m a little late to the blogwhoring party, but if you want to read what a friend of mine (that leads to his music blog) called “a serialized approach to sex fiction” and what I call “little stories about people making out” (and, um, some R-rated stuff too), check out Slackerotic. (note: I realized that of the few stories that feature physical descriptions of the characters, they are all thin, so if that’ll bother you, don’t click, but DO know that I know this is my bad, and I am planning on rectifying that soon. I was gonna rectify it in this last one or its soon-to-come companion piece, but I didn’t want to play into the cliche of fat-girl-gets-gay-boy so I didn’t. but soon! In the meantime, there are still pretty stories of people making out).

    Also, if you love to rag on the NYTimes for their classism and the sheer horrifyingness of the things the people they interview said, check out my same friend’s tumblr dedicated to mocking the NYTimes: http://ohgraylady.tumblr.com/

    Also, what everyone said re: Feministing & Pgon, though the reasons are manifold. I feel you, interfacings, because they were my first forays into the world of internet feminism (e-feminism?) but… I can’t.

  91. Just checking – none of the posts I tried to make from home last night worked, so trying from work.

    For GREs – I taught for Princeton Review for a couple of years, and you’d be amazed at how much practicing helps. It’s a particular weird kind of way of thinking, and the more you’re used to it the better. Even if you just get one or two practice tests, go over them over and over and over. It really helps.

  92. All your talk about grad school and learning and everything…makes me wish I could go back to school RIGHT NOW! I never finished my B.A. because I couldn’t decide what to get a degree in (started with English, added Theater, changed to Theater/Psych, changed to Elementary Education, thought about Cultural Anthropology, ended up at Women’s Studies, then dropped out), and then never went back. I eventually went to vocational school for Massage Therapy and got my diploma for that, but I love learning so much and wish I could do it now! Some day I’ll be able to…I’d love to get a degree in Women’s Studies and then work towards teaching women how to believe in and empower themselves.

    Currently I am working at a job that is fantastic for someone like me who doesn’t have a degree because they don’t take that into consideration when moving people up (the CFO, wife of the CEO, doesn’t have a degree herself–complicated), so they only consider my actual skills, which are many! However, there have been a lot of changes lately, and I’m having to decide whether I can afford to move from Orlando to Tampa to stay with them, or try finding another job in this market. A job that will provide me with this much opportunity and won’t just have me answering phones all day. *sigh*…decisions, decisions.

  93. According to E! Online, Hilary Swank is gaining 20 to 30 pounds for an upcoming role in “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” Here’s a novel idea– hire a woman who already weighs 20 to 30 pounds more than Swank! There are so few roles for women above a size two in Hollywood as it is.

    And now we’re turning books about weight management into movies? Oh goody. What’s next, “The Dr. Atkins Story”?

  94. Oh God, that was the book that pretended to espouse an intuitive eating-type philosophy (albeit one as a road to weight loss) but was really about how you should spend the weekend eating nothing but leek broth, right?

  95. Sorry I had to leave last night, all… Mom needed the computer. ;)

    Haaaay, Shannon! *wave* :D

    RE: Eppy, my impossibly cute dog– Yes, she’s a Papillon. Of course I have zero bias in saying they’re unequivocally the most fabulous of the toy breeds. XD (Sniper, Italian Greyhounds are also adorable– and clever! clever as any Pappy… you shoulda heard the stories an IG breeder told me at Westminster 2001. It must be a thing among very awesome dogs to tattle on other household pets, since Eppy used to do that too!)
    She’s ten years old and I’ve had her since she was a pup. Time to shamelessly show off my geekhood: she’s got her own Dogster page, of course!

    RE: JET– Thanks much for the words of encouragement! I feel awesome about JET (if a bit petrified, I’ve NEVER been ANYWHERE by myself before… I have a protective family lol… don’t tell them I said it might be good for me to get away from them for a bit!) and I am hoping, hoping, hoping I make it in! I think this is a case where my degree in English will prove quite useful. ;) If I do make it in, and also get accepted into any of the schools I’m applying to, I’m going to explain about JET and beg them to defer my enrollment for a year. I’m hoping they’ll be amicable to it because a year studying abroad can only make me a more valuable grad student, especially since I’ll get teaching experience AND be in Japan, when what I want to study is Japanese folklore!

    RE: School in general– thank you so much everyone for the wonderful discussion and the kind words and the advice to everybody. I feel many times better and more confident that I’m doing the right thing for me and that this is going to be a positive experience that will help me get where I need to be in life to be happy.

    RE: Feminist stuff and websites full of hate– I’m still trying to learn to manage my “social issues rage,” which for me quickly turns into a sense of overwhelmed hopelessness and depression. So, I am learning to avoid looking at things that might use up all my Sanity Watchers points, because at this tender moment in my inner development I just don’t have any to spare. I am not going to do what I did before and just turn my back on social issues and ignore them (I feel that slowed my emotional growth as a citizen of the world, if I’d just been brave instead of trying so hard to fit in I coulda been at this point my second year of college). But I’m not going to go nuts trying to learn about everything that I can’t really fix by myself and then just spit into the wind over it, either.

  96. Hey SugarLeigh. I used to want to do JET (and I spent hours and hours researching it, surfing the forums at Big Daikon and I Think I’m Lost, etc), and it’s my understanding that you can not defer. Also, if you turn them down, you’re really unlikely to be accepted in the future. Also also, if you withdraw, I don’t think you can apply again. SO, all of this to say, JET is really strict with the rules, and you basically have to be 100% committed to going this time if you apply.

    See here for this information.

    Sorry to pontificate!

    And thanks everyone for the commiseration on Feministing. It’s pretty unfortunate. :(

  97. I’m just wondering if anyone has been to see “Fat Pig” which is on the theatre in London? What did you think of it? Any thoughts in general about the play? It is a play about Fat predjudice although I am unsure whether it is a constructive portrayal (which is why I’m asking).

    I’m considering going to see it but don’t want to plan a night out (babysitter, etc) and then have to leave half way through because it’s ridiculous.

  98. I am so late to this party. And I’m still reading all the great comments. I will get my blogwhore on by mentioning my new blog. I used to run My Happy Fat and am getting it going once again(click name). It is a baby blog right now. You are all fabulous. I mean that.

  99. Hi Lalaroo, Thanks for the info. But what I meant was, if I make it into JET, I will be asking any COLLEGES I might also make it into to defer enrollment to the COLLEGE for the year that I do JET. ;) Cuz let’s face it, I wanna get my butt to Japan! XD

  100. Cate, maybe your employers want to buy you a lab coat?

    Speaking of shoes, you know what I really hate? I really hate when someone says she likes shopping for shoes because “shoes always fit.” (I have seen this both in movies and in real life). It ain’t true, baby! My feet were always superwide, and now that I have some medication-related edema on top of that, I can barely find anything to go on my feet. I want a pair of black sandals for an upcoming bat mitzvah and I cannot find them! Yeah, Zappos can be great, but I’ve just rejected every pair they sent me as not wide enough. It’s frustrating, I tells ya.

  101. @Cate: Headcrab hat?! WHERE?! I MUST BUY ONE HOLYCRAPOMG.

    I was in the Liberty Parade (http://www.libertyparade2008.com/site/) on Sunday and it was an absolute blast. Marching with Anonymous was great, and I got to wear my pirate costume to boot. Yarr!

    On a more serious note, I’m starting to get a little nervous about my upcoming breast reduction. It’s scheduled for Oct 7th. The surgeon mentioned that reductions often jumpstart weight loss for women, but was very accepting of the fact that I have no intent to lose weight. Me, I’m just looking forward to not having back pain and being able to fit into clothes better and being able to breathe properly. Yay! And the insurance is paying for it! Double yay!

  102. To all the grad school-y types out there: I had (have?) total imposter syndrome. I think I am not smart, that I don’t belong anywhere with smart people, that I have somehow fooled everyone into thinking I am smart and they will find me out sooner or later. It hasn’t happened yet. Once I realized that other people feel this way (particularly high achieving women), I started to get over it. My first week as a prof, it has gone away a little bit.

    The GRE? I took it the day after I registered…granted, I got mediocre scores (600 quant, 580 verbal, 720 analytic) but they were good enough to get me into a R1 school. I imagine that studying just a bit would help a lot. Play freerice!

    Oh, and YAY! I just moved to Stevens Point, WI, and there is a yoga class for fat people here! Woohoo!

  103. Oh kristin, that’s a great thing to bring up. YES, any other grad students who feel like they aren’t good enough – EVERYONE FEELS THIS WAY. The reason it’s false is not that you know more than you think you do (though you probably do), but because you basically aren’t SUPPOSED to be good enough yet. There will always be the few rock star grad students who magically know everything right off the bat, but they’re far and away the exception. Most of the students you think are so much more accomplished and able just fake it really well and have all the doubts you do. And everyone starts out in school and in their first few jobs now knowing what the hell they’re doing.

    The trick really is acting confident even if you fuck up all the goddamn time. This doesn’t make you an imposter, because really truly, almost all the other students (and a lot of the young faculty) are doing this, too! I get “caught” making stupid mistakes all the time, and it’s always humiliating (most recent glaring example: I said that one of the isotopes I study had the wrong half-life. In a committee meeting. WHOA, LYNNE). But for some reason they are letting me [try to] finish up and someone even hired me for a real job. Apparently this the mistakes really are okay.

    So kristin, maybe you’ve fooled them all. But they’re all fooling you, too. :) And I saw that you said you just started a new faculty job – me too! How is it going? I’m overwhelmed!!

  104. Lynne- I love it, but I keep wanting to bring my work to someone to have it approved. Toward the end of my PhD program, my advisor never really had anything to say about what I did, but I still brought it to her for a final seal of approval. I think it will take some getting used to, all this being the boss of myself.

  105. Lynne, are you mostly research or teaching? I have a full time teaching appointment, which is really different having come from Purdue, which was so research focused you would think there weren’t undergrads there at all.

  106. Yeah, I’m full-time teaching, too! Which is extra hard since I can’t let the research fall by the wayside in case I want to find something tenure-track with research at a later date. Also because I still have to defend.

    But I love teaching, so it’s also super exciting. And I understand about wanting approval – I have to remind myself that my department chair is my supervisor but NOT an advisor!

  107. Muse of Ire: I think not – the question was on page three of an intimidatingly long questionnaire about my general health. There was stuff about how much I drink and smoke on there, and asking about which vaccinations I had and when.

    Zen: I got it from the Valve store!

    http://store.valvesoftware.com/ – scroll down to Accessories.

    They also sell plushie Vortigaunts with Santa hats, and I wish I could justify buying myself all the soft toys. Ah well. Maybe Christmas…

  108. MacNabb,

    Yes, it’s amazing how different folks wear their weight differently. If you’re wearing constricting clothing, that can have an affect too – my belly didn’t droop as much when I lived in jeans that fit tightly around my belly :)

    I’ve been told, many, many, many, many times that I don’t look my weight and that I “wear it well”. I think it’s a bunch of things:
    – I’m about 5’9″ in my usual sneakers
    – Shoulders and hips are proportionate
    – Boobs are proportionate to my shoulders and stand out from my belly
    – Curly hair makes my head fit the shoulders better
    – Decent posture (could be better)
    – I’m generally comfortable moving around, not stiff

    All that aside, I think the people who know me see me as a person they know, not “one of THOSE fatties”. And thus I must be “normal”.

  109. Lynne & Kristin I hate to break this to you but I’m not sure Imposter Syndrome ever goes away. Maybe after you’ve been a professor for a decade or so and have taught a whole range of classes. I’ve been teaching for years now and been done with my degree for over 2 and I still live in terror that the spotlights are suddenly going to find me and someone with a megaphone will go “Wait, who let YOU into the smart people area?!?”

    And I know tenured professors who still have those kinds of feelings.



  110. I’ve been told, many, many, many, many times that I don’t look my weight

    I wonder how much of that has to do with people just having no idea what 400 pounds looks like. The way you hear the number “400 pounds!” being thrown around, I think people imagine it as unfathomably huge rather than just… person sized.

  111. I wonder how much of that has to do with people just having no idea what 400 pounds looks like. The way you hear the number “400 pounds!” being thrown around, I think people imagine it as unfathomably huge rather than just… person sized.

    True that, @Becky. If they know me as a person, they assume I’m “normal” (whatever that means ;)

  112. SugarLeigh: I did JET for 2 years. I had an overall really good experience with the program. I have LJ entries from most of my 2 years there that you’re welcome to look at (I was there from August 2003-August 2005, but the entries start in mid-December in my LJ), and I’d definitely be willing to talk about JET if you want to. The jetjapan community on LJ is a great resource. And a warning if you check out BigDaikon — take a wheelbarrow of Sanity Watchers points. The fat hate on there is RAMPANT (or at least it was when I was on JET, I haven’t really read it since about 2005).

    Ah, grad school. I’m another one of the grad school people on here. I should be finishing my MA this term. I just have to finish my master’s paper.
    RE: The GRE — It’s really not that big a deal. I get the impression that schools really just look for a decent score and that it’s not generally a dealbreaker either way. I studied for a few hours and ended up doing pretty well. I am still kind of weirded out that I pulled off a 780 on the math after not taking any math for 4 years (I took it my senior year of undergrad just to get it out of the way), though the percentile for that was only in the 80s (lots of people get perfect or near perfect scores in the math).

    RE: Imposter Syndrome — AHHHHH! I’ve gotten better over the past two years of grad school, but it’s still a problem sometimes. I’ve begun to detach myself and do my own thing in regards to my own progress and my research, because if I don’t compare my accomplishments to those on a different trajectory (which really, in grad school, is everyone, because everyone is doing her own thing), I feel more confident about my work and seem to do better as well. I have a friend who has Impostor Syndrome FAR worse than I do, too, and I am so sad sometimes because she is brilliant and her professors tell her this, too, and she still has trouble seeing it.

    Also, I think it’s really interesting and telling that Impostor Syndrome is far more common among women than among men. I think that women are taught to downplay their accomplishments and devalue their own work and that this plays a huge role in the development of Impostor Syndrome. Anyone else have any thoughts regarding this?

  113. I wonder how much of that has to do with people just having no idea what 400 pounds looks like. The way you hear the number “400 pounds!” being thrown around, I think people imagine it as unfathomably huge rather than just… person sized.

    People don’t know what weight looks like, period. See the BMI Project and try to guess the weights without looking at the numbers. Hell, my own father, who is a physician, guessed my weight at 125; I weigh 152. That’s a big difference at 5’4″. There’s this whole culture of certain numbers of weight being “officially bad” and it’s ridiculous.

    And looking at living400lbs, I definitely wouldn’t have guessed you at 400lbs, like it sounds most people don’t. And it looks like a great blog — I’ll try to check back again!

  114. Thoughts on Imposter Syndrome?! Oh lordy, do I ever!!! Here comes a novel…

    Mine is pretty mild, but it’s totally there. For the most part I know I’m smart and feel like academia is HOME. But, I wonder if it’ll get worse in grad school, where I’ve always reckoned all the geniuses hang out. I don’t consider myself a genius. Above average, certainly, but not genius. I just like to learn. And talk about learning and knowledge and ideas and thinking. And write. And stuff. I mean, look at my conversational writing… mostly goony… maybe the Smart People are just more pedantic? Who knows.

    I have a pretty good general idea of how I got The Syndrome: people treating me like an idiot!!!! Even my own family are frequent culprits here. Now, not in the “brains” sense, in that they tend to overestimate me, they think I’m this super-genius brilliant person who knows everything in the world. But I had five or six years of being the baby before my lil’ sis came along, so everyone except the baby was used to treating me like the baby, and since my younger sister died a few short years ago they’ve been worse than ever at babying me, plus I lost the only one who looked up to me.

    I also had the “luck” of getting a particularly bad team of classmates in terms of their bullying and social backbiting, and since this was small-town USA, I graduated with the same kids I played in the sandbox with. I was (cough, am) an odd one, didn’t really fit into any norm, and as such I was a frequent target for torment, which often came in the form of nobody ever took a damn thing I said seriously. Except the teachers, but how often do you hear anything from them compared to how often you hear from the kids? Coupled with that I was a “smart kid” so it was a real shock when I got to college where everyone was as smart as me and quite a few were “smarter”… LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I AM NOT SPECIAL ANYMORE. STILL WEIRD, BUT NO LONGER SPECIAL. GROWING UP KIND OF SUCKS.

    With nobody to take me seriously, and a real problem I had with the disturbing trend of pessimists and naysayers who call themselves “realists” (consequently, I believe true realists never identify themselves as such, and I bet they’re few and far between too… optimists don’t live in the “real world,” remember that– only bad exists! Good isn’t “real!”)… well, heck, why the fuck be serious? I took to being pretty silly. It started as a defense mechanism, but when I found out it was also fun and felt a lot better than being all gothic poet-y (which I had a tendency to be sometimes… still do when I’m in the mood for it but now it doesn’t last for days usually), THE SILLINESS ENSUED.

    Now, when people don’t take me seriously when I’m talking to them, I start getting ridiculous and making with the jokes. And OH, MY GAWDS, does it ever piss them off. That’s satisfying to me in a sick way. I can be very passive-aggressive, because I’m a really passive person with a lot of anger! And one of the things I hate is being treated like I’m incompetent, or silly when I’m not being silly, or like I don’t know what I’m talking about concerning my own damn feelings and opinions, and I feel powerless against it… trust me, try to have a grown up conversation explaining why my views don’t need to be dismissed as completely idiotic, and I’LL just be dismissed as a fluffheaded kid, if it’s my family, or girl, if it’s my male friends, or sometimes even my boyfriend, who’s supposed to know better. And it’s funny how I keep ending up around people who treat me the same way my family does, and it makes me wonder if part of it is something I project or what, but come to think of it, all the friends I’ve had that weren’t my little core of awesomefriends treated me that way too… why does it take me so long to dump these people?! The thing that really cracks me up is that my family hates any time my boyfriends do that. HA HA THE IRONY.

    And of course, lately I feel dopier than ever. I’m going through another “mindshift period” (I had one near the end of high school too, so maybe it has to do with big life changes). When I start going into “student of the universe mode” I question everything, and of course people around me take it upon themselves to answer, so then I become the know-nothing again. But let’s face it, there are more questions than answers. Generally, I tend to feel a lot freer when I don’t feel like I know everything. But most others seem more comfortable when they’ve taken a solid position on something.

    Anyway, that got about as rambley as I figured. Imposter Syndrome, probable cause: Most of us here are WIMMINZ. Nobody takes us seriously. If we don’t say anything about our skills, nobody notices them. If we do, we’re bragging, pretentious, pedantic bitches. If we make a mistake, the world is there to rub our noses in it like people who still believe dinosaur wisdoms of dog training instead of modern behavioral theories. Surely, nothing we say has merit in the Smarty Pants world, because uteruses block the absorption of Stunning Logicks.

    BTW, I hate the word “logic.” Especially because it mostly doesn’t mean what people seem to think it means. “Logic” is shorthand for “I don’t want to explore why I’m so adamantly terrified of or pissed off or disgusted with whatever you just said, and I need a way to explain this so things are your fault, or so I otherwise come out on top, and also, an excuse not to listen to you.”

  115. And one of the things I hate is being treated like I’m incompetent, or silly when I’m not being silly, or like I don’t know what I’m talking about concerning my own damn feelings and opinions, and I feel powerless against it.

    OMG YES. And this has happened to me a ridiculous number of times. Because I’m female and short and young things I do are “cute” and sometimes people don’t take me seriously. This has been happening since early elementary school when I was the super-shy kid and teachers didn’t expect much out of me — then I would completely surprise them by getting the best scores in the classes on a regular basis. This isn’t such an issue in graduate school,as I do find that the professors in my department take me seriously (I’ve just had one incident where a fellow student didn’t, but I don’t have to deal with him on a regular basis, so it doesn’t concern me), but it sure as hell happens outside of academia. I’ve learned to adjust my language to counteract this to an extent, and when I can prove someone wrong it feels oh-so-good. It just shouldn’t be happening in the first place, because goddammit, I’m reasonably intelligent and competent and I respect the opinions and abilities of others.

    Surely, nothing we say has merit in the Smarty Pants world, because uteruses block the absorption of Stunning Logicks.

    That sentence is made of win. I’m sometimes stunned what people think of as logic. There are a lot of people who take their own opinions, place the label “logic” on them, and then skip over the whole “critical thinking” part. You know, the part that’s supposed to be such an important component of our education, and that every intelligent person should be able to do.

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