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vincentk. so there. i’m doing it too. i actually started a list of 25 things a few weeks ago after creampuff put out a blanket tag to all her bloggy friends (which was obviously only directed at me and my rack – you’re shameless roro!) but i hated them all so i am starting fresh. here goes!

1. when i was 6 i wanted to be a stripper. mostly for the costumes.

2. when people dress overly ironically (e.g., cat-eye glasses with little diamonds in them, horseshoe-patterned old man sweaters, etc.) i want to hurt them a little. you know, like shove-hurt not kick-in-the-junk-hurt.

3. i can smell everything. always.

4. i always want to help tourists. i don’t know if this has to do with my background in tourist industry or my uncontrollable desire to tell everyone what to do.

5. i am disproportionately afraid of farting in yoga class.

6. i love french fries and would eat them every meal of everyday if i could. i secretly wish i was one of those people who was all like “deep-fried stuff – disgusting!” but instead i want to kick-in-the-junk-hurt them.

7. i should always be doing one of two things: i) writing my dissertation, and/or 2) marking/prepping/reading. what i am always doing: watching some kind of former child star have a breakdown on much more music. congrats to those who got that reality show reference.

8. as t-bone always tells me, i have weird celebrity crushes. case in point: vincent d’onofrio (see post pic above). and not when he was thin. (and yes, criminal intent is on in the background. but rest assured. i am using both hands for this post).

9. i was born without a filter (see above). or else it’s broke.

10. i imagine that i have an incredible palate (maybe because of the smelling-everything thing – see above) and that i would make an excellent food critic. so, if anyone’s hiring, me and my beaknose are available.

11. my first kiss – when i was 11 – was ritz-flavoured. and with a boy nicknamed sasquatch.

12. i can touch my tongue to my nose (see beaknose above).

13. i am almost 30 years old and i hate getting in trouble. especially if it is for something trivial like peeing in public places or stealing. (k – for the record the only thing i ever stole was a rubber band from an office when i was young. and i actually think i only had the intent. that’s right. the criminal intent. see above).

14. both hands are still in use.

15. on the keyboard.

16. i believe in true wuv. like princess bride kind.

17. i love standing in front of a classroom. truly.

18. i learned my best dance moves from the dutch.

19. when i was 11, i plagiarized a line from the book – not the movie – arachnophobia and it was the only part the teacher made special mention of.

20. i once poked the eye out of a fish, wrapped it nicely and gave it to my mom as a gift. and then encouraged my cousin to do the same.

21. there is nothing funnier in the world to me than poop jokes. the word poop in fact might be the funniest in the english language.

22. there can never been enough: beer, food, asian-inspired decorations, cats, or potpourri. ever.

23. i turned two months on nude beach into a master’s thesis.

24. i have eaten alpaca. yeah, that’s right. i’m the devil.

25. i think i am a much better cook than i am. and also, i watch the food network endlessly only to have t-bone repeatedly point out that i never, ever write down a recipe or cook anything i learn how to make from watching the channel. he doesn’t understand food porn. poor t-bone.

and i shall tag: dr.beth because she often throws a little tag love my way (and she has a shiny new blog – go look!), chaos because she must blog again!, and lucas because i think he’ll think it’s fun.

k. tagging over. jacks out.

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alrighty. so back to the problem at hand. you see, i have this dissertation thingy to write. and it’s a lotta words. lemmie tell ya. what i have accomplished so far (while not entirely true) feels like what my blog post pic illustrates. a whole lotta nuttin’. i mean sure. it is kinda like writing the great american (canadian?) novel. it’s big. it has to start somewhere. and it feels like it is never gonna end. i don’t want this to be a bitch and moan session – oh pobre me – i have the entire summer to write a draft of a dissertation that like, four people total, will probably end up reading. i know, i know. woe is me. rather, i would like to either shame myself into it (a particular strategy that i excel at) or at least come up with a productive means of, you know, doing something, um, productive. as a side note, last time i visited the dentist, i asked the dental hygienist to shame me into flossing more (even though she didn’t notice that i floss, um, sporadically – and i’ll try to stop saying um now) and she thought that was 1) self destructive in some way and 2) kinky. i have since changed dentists. i mean, if you can’t productively shame me into action, what good are you?

so i have this weird thing that i know i’ll finish, and i know i’ll finish in good time, but i need to fret about it. i need to be all like, “damn, i’m procrastinating, isn’t that bad?” or “i have a new deadline, poor me, huh?” maybe it is the exorbitant attention i need, OR maybe it is part of my process. this is a conclusion i came to perhaps a couple of years ago (or like, yesterday) and i have tried to go with the flow of it instead of resist it. a fellow blogger, author and artist recently remarked in her facebook status that faith means more than effort (you know who you are). i guess this is the resounding idea behind my “process” idea. i fret. i worry. but i always have faith that what must get done will get done. and it does. faith instead of effort. i should get it tattooed. another one of my dear sweet friends, J., frets for fun i’m sure. and it makes her a functional adult and academic. perhaps fretting makes us feel important. functional. or dysfunctionally productive. or somethin’.

so back to shame. i actually think shame operates as a motivator for me. doesn’t anyone else feel this way? i mean, you can be shamed by someone and their judgement can motivate or it can squash. which sounds better to you? perhaps it is highly dysfunctional, but i think the best kind of shame is personal shame. it is a motivator, a sidekick, a best friend. or maybe just mine. whatevs. my point is, that everyone’s process is unique, possibly dysfunctional, and ultimately productive, right? we all get stuff done. i mean obviously, we should all be less judgmental, to others and ourselves, but don’t we all live in a world that compels us to live up to the expectations of others in order to avoid their disappointment and our inevitable shame? perhaps it is just a matter of not taking responsibility of oneself. i mean, i have to assume that my supervisor cares about deadlines set, or dissertations written, otherwise why would i produce? i have to create a spiral of expectation and shame. otherwise nothing matters – right? i’m not a masochist okay? i’m just justifying why i am not doing stuff, why that is okay, and why it will all work out in the end. in an obviously tongue-in-cheek, non-creepy way. right? gulp.

as for productivity, here are some simple solutions to take my mind off actually doing work.

1) obviously, faith, not effort. perhaps my dissertation will be written on faith alone. does that mean i can take a vacation?

2) personal shame is the answer to all life’s roadblocks.

3) watch oprah when experiencing writer’s block.

4) assume my supervisor has more investment than i do in actually getting things done. that way, they will. come hell or highwater.

5) go outside and drink chai lattes (my new ingestive of choice) for inspiration.

6) instead of doing research, make phonecalls. long-distance ones to people you haven’t spoken to in a long time in order to maximize the call length and time-wastage.

7) make lists on your blog that mean nothing. to anybody. including yourself.

8) enjoy facebook’s new chat system.

9) consider ways to make my life more eco-friendly in acknowledgment of earth day. and/or get irritated by sandra bullock schlepping her soy-based candles after following #3 above.

10) consider other career opportunities that do not require a completed phd. suggestions?

any others to add? also, feel free to shame me now that i’ve fired my dental hygienist. and don’t go easy on me as this could happen to you.


i’m a bad blogger because i suck at sales. these may seem unrelated, but stay with me, i’ll make it worth your while. swears. up to this point, i have not been able to lure my non-blogging friends into commenting in the comment section. i think that i know that they are out there. somewhere. in the interwebnets universe. but they elude the comments section. they are not even anonymously reporting on how irrelevant my posts are. nuttin’. silence. anyone who knows me, knows that melikes attention. so essentially i am bad blogger because i am not selling my blog to those who don’t blog and thus not getting the attention i need. like one of my cats, i am an attention whore. and i am jonesin’ for a fix.

i like that blogs have the potential for dialogue. the comments section creates a space of/for discussion. now, maybe, you say, you don’t say anything relevant to the lives of others and therefore they are not compelled to comment. you might say, your blog sucks. and after i say, shut up, you suck, i will acknowledge that you might be on to something. so i have concocted a top ten list of reasons why people don’t comment. here goes:

1. no one actually reads my blog – this is no. 1 because it is the most likely. in that case, i am a bag blogger because no one reads my blog – save for the four people that i am sure of – and even they are not always compelled to comment.

2. no one can figure out what my blog is about.

3. as in life, i talk too much and only pretend to listen. (kidding. i do listen. if its about me).

4. no one likes me. (impossible).

5. my blog has bad breath.

6. commenters need to get drunk with me first. (i am available most days for intoxication, save the days i teach. you’d know that if you invited me somewhere in my comments section. jerks).

7. the comments section is too complicated.

8. people are afraid of openly acknowledging that they know me.

9. people want me to pick a topic and stick to it. (don’t fence me in. seriously).

10. lurking is more fun than writing. i get that.

the most common and probable reason, besides all of the above, is that people who don’t blog don’t feel it is their “place” somehow to comment. i felt this for a long time. i was internet-paranoid: not filling in my email address on any website, not giving any information unless it was to online bank, not commenting on compelling blogs, not participating in any social networking. at all. but now that we as a culture have ridden the wave of facebook’s rise (and some say, fall) from grace, we can be the master of our so-called internet domains, no? this bad blogger post will therefore attempt to empower those of you who, like me, are afraid of certain types of internet participation. for fear of spam or public humiliation. i am a bad blogger. so, too, can you be. or you can at least be a friggin’ blog commenter in the friggin’ comments section.

jeesh.

(don’t make me turn this into a blog about cats. cause i’ll do it. just watch me).


brace yourself for the randomest of random posts. i’m a little hopped up on coffee juice and i can’t seem to stop myself from typing. i did, in fact, get a haircut and i kinda cheated on my hairdresser. but we have an “open relationship” which means she told me which of her hairdresser friends i could cheat with while she is in india. so i did. my hair is a little “cute” now (hence the pic of the cat) and i’m trying to deal. with being cute. which kinda makes me wanna barf.

also, i have been thinking a little about flexibility lately. and not the kind one dabbles with in open relationships with their hairdresser. but rather the kind that life demands. the flexibility that requires patience. and well. being flexible. i don’t consider myself a person of rigidity but since discovering something called boundaries at a late stage in my life, i kinda dig them. life without them seems chaotic. but sometimes life within them feels stifling.

i still laugh at the time someone called me “easy-going.” i am not easy-going. i have truly only met two people in life that i actually think are easy-going. i am fairly certain that both were the result of a near-nervous breakdown. apparently breakdowns can be freeing. i’ll work on one to achieve the level of “easy-going-ness” i saw once glamourized in a jack nicholson movie. well. maybe not glamourized. but brain-damaged-ly peaceful anyhoo.

i think accepting your inflexibility is perhaps key to being flexible. pressing up against your own bounded boundaries and deciding they are too smooshy is perhaps therapeutic. not judging yourself for the limitations you place on yourself but being gently persuasive enough to realize that the walls you construct around you are mere facades. hollow of meaning. but securely holding you in place. straight-jackets of self preservation. useful. but too tight. like underwear.

cheating on my hairdresser made me realize that you can step out of your comfort zone.

but you might end up cute. which maybe isn’t so bad.

when i was doing my master’s degree, which as i have previously mentioned, was the ethnographic study of a nude beach, a wise old (to me at the time) phd student told me that like any topic, this topic too would grow tired. old. and i’d be over it. at the time a was taken back, aghast. no, i thought to myself, the novelty of nudity will NEVER wear off. never. that wise old phd student was right. one day and 150-something pages later, nudity got old. tired. boring. hard to believe, i know.

now that i am drowning in my data (40 transcribed interviews + 24 follow-up interviews = a crapload of words to analyze), i fear that online dating too might lose its glossy sheen of excitement. this is the excitement i see on people’s faces when i tell them my topic. after they politely ask what my topic is, cringingly awaiting my response that they fear will be boring enough to make them die on the spot, or at the very least, excuse themselves to use the washroom, i tell them “online dating” and the mood significantly changes (not quite so visibly as when i used to tell people i studied a nude beach, but still, a visibly relieved reaction nonetheless). they are excited. happy that i won’t bore them. pleased to get an inside peak into the seemingly (the hopefully) seedy underworld of online dating.

perhaps topics begin to bore us because when we translate them into academicese, they lose some of their lustre. their bang. and perhaps that is what has me caught in a holding pattern. how to analyze without dissecting? how to translate without something lost? how to be relevant, topical when nothing about online dating is easily decoded, outlined, expressed in simplistics such as: online dating works, online dating is bad, online dating isn’t real dating, etc. the position i have put myself in isn’t new. when you choose a topical topic, easy answers are demanded. yet i resist them. and maintain my holding pattern.

i truly believe that much of research is intuitive. it comes from somewhere unknown. within. deep, dark and hidden perhaps. it takes a formidable bearing to follow your gut into the seemingly unintuitive realm. against the grain of easy answers. and toward the itch that needs to be scratched. even though it elides the provocative and slips toward the academic. the jargon-filled. the abstract. it must be done.

so here goes nothing.


at this time of swirly-headed busy-ness, i thought i might take time out to berate myself after realizing the key ingredient that i am missing on this blog which made me realize again that i am a bad blogger. unlike every good movie, i have failed to sufficiently get you invested in the character of me and those in my life. failed to introduce you to my quirks, the lovely people i spend time with, and the rhythm of my everyday life. yes, my dear blog readers, this is an opportunity to talk more about me. and like smiling, me is my favourite. (extra bonus points for anyone who can name where that bastardized movie quote comes from).

my loved one and i usually agree on movies – mainly because he loves movies and is one of those strange people who must, against all odds, watch the crappy films to the end, just in case they miraculously get better. i, one the other hand, pretend to be discerning. but really am a sucker for good characters. characters i can relate to, become one with, and ultimately be invested in. i think that is why i love love stories so much – and i don’t mean hokey comedy/romance debacles starring the likes of matthew mcconaughey and j-lo. i mean the beautiful, epic love stories like bridges of madison county and brokeback mountain. gut-wrenching, make-you-cry-like-a-baby love stories with characters you adore, pity, and love yourself by the end. ANYHOO. my point is, characterization is important. and key to the success of well, everything. (oh my goodness, isn’t that just a key nugget from the world according to jacks).

another reason i am a bad blogger is because i have no idea how to effectively and efficiently carry out this characterization. i know what you are thinking: it comes with time, the evolution of who you are through an unsaid number of posts. but for those who know me, and know me well, know that i don’t like to leave anything up to chance. plus, that takes patience and time. a whole lotta patience and time. (even more super extra bonus points for anyone who can name the song those lyrics come from) and waiting is boring, no? so here is the deal. i will admit to three quirky bits of erratic jacks behaviour and hope that i get some doosies (from all ya’ll) in return. here’s to hoping!

i) when i was very young, i used to use the clothing racks at sears for unspeakable acts. unspeakable. (and my mother still brings this fact up to anyone who enters the doors of her home. yup. i’m a very lucky person).

ii) i love baby animals. i know this doesn’t sound unusual, but the fact that i want to take EVERY baby animal home is somewhat problematic. pigs, goats, caimans, rats, fish: EVERYTHING. is was virtually impossible to travel around south america without filling my backpack with baby things. (and no matter what my loved one says/thinks, i never did. at least that is the story i am sticking to).

iii) every time i get a smidge-y tipsy, i think i can speak spanish. si. jacks + borracho = hablo. mucho hablo.

i don’t think this makes me any more endearing but it was a sufficient waste of time that allowed me to talk about my favourite subject. 😉

in other sad (for me, happy for them) news, my lovely friends M. and C. are off to galavant for 6 months and sit on beaches, get tans, and generally have a wonderful freakin’ time. while i am happy for their adventure, i am desperately jealous and sad for me. here is to much skiing in their absence to make up for my losses.

alrighty folks, now i want to hear about the quirky characters that read this blog. whether you like it or not, we are in this together.

and p.s. – matthew macconaughey is a douche.



i am currently reading a fabulous poetic book called how the blessed live by this fellow vancouverite writer/blogger here. the main character has this lovely habit of writing deliciously rich lists that are chalk-full of meaningful life lessons, reflections and paradoxical states-of-mind. i have decided to make my own list of pet peeves which will be reflective of nothing mentioned above but will please me on a listless friday afternoon when, of course, i should be working…

i) when stores are obviously closed and they leave their blinking open signs on. i always think, “oh, they’re open late” and then am crushed when i cannot, in fact, get my keys cut in an hour at midnight.

ii) amateur porn. really? must you? stop it.

iii) cat fur tumbleweeds in my apartment that even a swiffer can’t wrangle.

iv) being sweaty and cold at the same time (this happens less since moving to the westcoast but it happened in o-town all the time. it’s the second coldest capital after moscow, don’t-cha-know?).

v) that you can’t eat poutine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without adverse health affects.

vi) sickness of any kind. after two flus, one pukey and one not last winter, i am officially a germaphobe.

vii) roman numerals.

viii) boring research.

viiii) people that don’t like christmas. this, my friends, is virtually unimaginable.

x) not having a cellphone for the two times a year i need it.

xi) wearing tights. it’s a faulty crotch thing. i seriously believe it can’t be helped. or they would fix it, no?

xii) high heels. wanna love ’em and wear ’em. can’t. or won’t. you choose.

xiii) anything with eggplant. the word moussaka makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

xiv) any movie with nicole kidman (save for moulin rouge but that is ONLY because ewan macgregor saves the day).

xv) roman numerals – really, what is up with these?

xvi) plane travel. i always get stuck in the middle seat.

xvii) how i can never go to the theatre and smell popcorn and not eat it.

xviii) being late. which i’m gonna be if i don’t stop blogging!

thanks for indulging me. i feel better now.


the impossible dreariness of today compels me to write on my beloved blog. i have been thinking lately about the function of procrastination and i believe graduate students excel at the art of procrastination like no other (what else is graduate school if not the procrastination of many of the socially proscribed compulsions of life – partnering, procreation, post post-secondary life in general – or at least this is how i imagine my grandmother sees it). today i want to comment on my other love, that is, television. an aside: i have a friend, S., who i have known a long time. whenever i call S. and ask what she is doing, she says, “watching television.” never t.v., never ‘the tube,’ never anything but that lovely word: television. i love calling television television because it harks back to a fictional time when television was an art, an alternate way of seeing, a transporter to other lives, loves, maybe even lurid, sordid, and unspoken yearnings. anyhoo. my televisual eyes were not fully opened until i discovered, and fell desperately, consumingly, all-encompassingly in love with reality television. when i was thirteen or so i discovered the real world but that was just the beginning. i think my reality television love really began with the onset of the survivor era. when EVERYTHING became fodder for the lens of the reality phenomenon. what i love most about reality television is that it actually provokes discussion about what is “real” and what is not. in effect it exposes the lie that we are not always already mediated by that which surrounds us. frames us. alters us. for me, reality television cannot be about reality but must be. that is its central paradox. why it cannot be ‘real’ is of course a matter of modern truth-making in a postmodern world. but why it must be is the more compelling concern. when i see discussions about the ethics or problematics of how to correctly capture the ‘real’ and properly package it for television, i listen intently. for example, the recent kafuffle about the new american series kid nation provides an interesting example. cries of child labour, exploitation, enslavement and the like. as though relatively well-off children having the opportunity to demonstrate that children are in fact capable, able, and not desperately in need of suffocating ‘protection’ for cameras (and the entertainment of the masses) is damaging. as though putting children in a former ghost-town with bunches of rules and no adults is somehow real. or is it not? isn’t the problem that actual child exploitation is a little too much to bear? a little discomfiting on a wednesday night at 8pm when we’d rather watch t.v.? isn’t a show like kid nation a distraction, a simulation of what passes as ‘normal’ childhood these days in the face of child poverty and such? this post is far too cerebral. it was intended as a meditation on my favourite reality television shows. so before i list them with accompanying witty commentary, i will just say that reality television is my favourite because it upends the notion of the real by rubbing in your face the constructions (simulations? fantasies? de/i/llusions?) of everyday life.

* big brother – the quintessential reality show for the consummate addict. one day i will 1) stop claiming that this is the summer that i will resist it and, 2) stop being too cheap to pay for the live feed.

* the real world – this show NEVER gets old. how could it? egomaniacal americans in their late teens and early twenties in close quarters. please. this shit is genius.

* america’s next top model – pick what is not to like about this show: beautiful women, drama, clothes, make-up, and did i mention drama?

* everything on mtv – mtv is the mother of all reality shows. those of us obsessed with anything from the hills to a shot a love with tila tequila should petition to give this channel a medal. or a nobel peace prize. or SOMETHING!

* beauty and the geek – two of my favourite things.

* daytime talk shows – from oprah to rachael ray – it’s gold people. gold. (don’t judge me dammit!).

* the food network – reality food shows – what can i say? i’m in heaven, i’m in heaven…

jacks out.


i have been effectively blogging for over a month now (such a huge commitment i’ve made to the internets, i must say) and recently realized that i haven’t actually said what it is that i am studying that makes this blog necessary in its: a) capacity to familiarize me with the exciting world of web 2.0 and, b) to offer me a place of solace, of peace, of genuine procrastinate-y goodness. drum-roll: i study online dating. now at parties, this makes me unbelievably popular. similar to my master’s work when i did an “intensive” two month stint on a nude beach and got: 1) the best tan of my life, and 2) a master’s degree out of the ethnographic account of it i gave in my thesis, this project is of widespread interest because of the amount that is not known about such an everyday activity. like nude beaches, online dating sites are places people might have stumbled upon or clandestinely ventured into for a “sneak a peak.” but the folks i am interested in are the ones who stay and bask a while in what can become a lifestyle. online dating, as i am compelled to understand and research it, can become a lifestyle as well – or more pointedly, can alter the course of one’s lifestyle if indulged in seriously. and i gotta say folks – people are serious about online dating. and why shouldn’t they be. it is a wonder that popular culture references online dating as though it is for the desperate, defective, or depraved. my research, perhaps unsurprisingly, demonstrates that online daters are really just people that are committed, diligent individuals trying to meet people in a city that is infamous for its inhospitality to singles. online dating of course has a sexy side, a fetish side, a dissenting side, and a niche market side but what interests me most are those people simply and unabashedly looking for love. i mean theoretically i am interested in all of the online daters many-faceted motivations, expectations, and struggles to (be)come and show who they “really are.” i have always been fascinated, since i was a child, with difference and what difference means in a world of the similar. online dating in some ways demands to be seen as a “different” way to meet people. but what is more fascinating is what that difference means to the lives of online daters and the ways that they understand themselves in the world. not only can you life, location, and love-life change, but your understandings of yourself and the effect you have on the other can also change. not that i am suggesting that engaging in online dating necessarily evokes change and wonderment at oneself. but it does offer a opportunity to reflect, on oneself and one’s desires and thus a fertile valley of publicly accessible and vastly engaging accounts of the self. we must make ourselves intelligible in this world if we are to attract (an)other(s). being compelled to seriously look for those others in a forum such as online dating is interesting in its difference but also in its sameness. to oneself intelligible, one sometimes has to put themselves into boxes that don’t quite fit, shade in areas of alien importance, and deign to answer those requests, behests, of those just not quite “right.” i will have more to say about areas of the intelligible but for now i enjoy having intriguing dinner party talk and a memory of a summer on a hot canadian beach.

i know what you are thinking. hate is such a strong word. therefore we need some clarity in this endeavour. i don’t actually HATE this blog but i’ll let you in on a little secret: i hated my last blog. it was painful and “professional” and horrible. i needed to get rid of it. so i dumped it for this sweet new glossy one. all pretty and easy to use. so hate is a misnomer. so there. on my last blog i felt compelled to be confessional, professional, and…well, that was just boring. but this is a whole new story. as someone who has always loved to write and who now studies new media technologies, i decided that i NEEDED a blog. what makes me so needful of a blog? i guess the advice of another recently morphed phd student come doctor who recommended a blog for procrastination purposes (find her fabulous blog here). and a conference where another phd student tracks the pedagogical importance of blogging for other phd students (find her personal blog here – it links to her phd research blog). so i’m putting a lot of eggs in this basket. i am hoping for catharsis for sure. so maybe hate isn’t really a misnomer. i hate the compulsion to narcissistically write about oneself. but hate stills sounds so harsh. i also hate the compulsion i feel to outline the uses and abuses of my blogging. like an outline for an essay, i feel i need a plan. i have been watching way too much of the Showtime series Dexter and feel that this prefatory blog entry is inspired by the painful articulation of his innermost thoughts which acts as the narration of the show. maybe that is what this blog will be: a narration of my writing-up “process.” a friend recently encouraged me to join his ten-year plan for the (un)completion of his phd process. wittily, he explained that people immediately stop listening as soon as you tell them that you are writing your dissertation. he has been effectively hedging people off and doing his phd swimmingly for ten years now. as envious of his procrastination as i am, i still want to be finished in a year. so while the time starts ticking, the hate stops here. until, of course, i begin to hate my dissertation which is TOTALLY gonna happen. fer sure. it’s coming. wait for it…