Things I’m average at no. 763: Being Academic

(I wrote this after assignment time around two months ago and was unable to finish due to shame induced blog amnesia so it’s a little out of date now. Here it is.)


I’m having essay regret. Not the regret that comes around every assessment time shaking its head saying “what the frick are you studying for anyway, you should have stayed stupid”, although I get that too, this regret is the regret that comes from handing in a piece of work you know is shoddy, you know is under researched, you know is basically a ramble of thoughts and words so loosely related to a topic they may as well have just brushed past it in the shops. I’ve handed in a pile of Arial fonted shite.

Oh God Oh God Oh God. Why.

Every time I think about this essay my mouth does this thing. It goes into a line, a thin tight line that pulls a little to the left. Like a wee little stroke of shame. My mouth is trying say “oh god oh god I can’t believe I handed that up oh god” but all that  is appropriate for most social occasions is the slight twitch.

Also, I liked my tutor. I don’t want him to think I’m a git. We had drinks together, he listened when I spoke, and now, inevetably he’ll read my essay and think “why in the hell is that seemingly intelligent girl handing in what is essentially a tenth grade book report?” Oh man.

You need skills to be good at this study thing, I guess. Time management and all that shit, but also, the ability to do it. To put down the remote, or the novel, or the table tennis bat (I don’t know) and turn to What You Need To Do and friggin DO IT. I have a very limited grasp of this skill. Even now, I’m on holidays and I’m not doing that right. I have books I want to read and stuff I want to write and I’m watching a shit load of Greys Anatomy because I am so crap at telling myself to fucking DO IT.

I honestly believe I have some undiscovered form of learning disability that manifests in a squirrels attention span, a large lump of brain play-dough that sits in front of a concept I need to grasp making it nigh on impossible and a near complete inability to express thoughts that I do understand.

And the thing is, is I did understand this. I listened to my tutor and read the books and got it but when it came time to get down.. holy shit. Everything broke and I submitted the academic equivalent of Twilight.

Oh God oh God.

Anyway, sorry to whinge. It’s not so bad. Luckily for me this grossly malformed learning gene hasn’t stopped me from memorising copious pop-song lyrics, hundreds of movie references and the way to the toilet. I’ll be fine.



Also, has anyone else realised that Gran Torino is a Western?

I’ve been doing some reading about genre, right, for two essays that I should be writing at this very moment, that will pop round and soundly kick my ass later in the week.

Firstly, genre is a fairly fluid thing. I mention this only because after reading so much I don’t want to give the nerdly overlords of the interwebs the idea that I think genre is really easily summupable. Early genre theorists would have us believe that there is a like, five or six definite genres, and the lines between them are clear and the point of them is either to help audiences clarify their expectations, help advertisers and such promote shows and films appropriately or to help establish the quality of a certain text, as compared to others of its genre. But the idea of genre is reasonably complicated.

That isn’t exactly what I wanted to talk about, but reading this article about how genre can be obvious from any number of things, setting, characterisation, casting, plot etc gave me an idea. It mentioned the hero in the Western. He (sorry for the gender crap, but that’s how it goes) is traditionally removed from the society he unwillingly exists in, but at some point fights to save this society, then rides off into the sunset* because he is forever at odds with the man, or the establishment. Or prairie living or some such.

And I realised that Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino is EXACTLY THAT HERO. Which, I think, is a nice little remix on the traditional western.

*the article mentioned death as another possible scenario here, the main point being that the hero is removed from the scene.

how i suck at the sleeping, or things I’m average at no.87

Sleeping seems to be a sort of straight forward, normal person thing to do, along with breathing in and out, not falling off the earth and eating through your face. Generally at the end of the day people lay on a sort of comfortable soft version of the ground, with a squooshy softer thing under their heads and fall asleep, adding or subtracting ingredients like foot out of blanket, cuddable bear/unicorn/Jesus/partner.

The following is an account of how I do things.

V1. Scene: I am in bed, having felt very tired. I read till I can’t keep my eyes open any more.

Enter brain:

Brain: You are tired.

Me: Yup.

Brain: You should sleep now.

Me: Well, yes. Ha ha. That’s the idea. So…uh… G’night!

Brain: Night! … … Doo doo doo..

Me: Um. Is there something wrong?

Brain: Oh, heavens no. Just thinking. You sleep. Go on!

Me: O… k, night..

Brain: Oooh. What are you doing tomorrow again?

Me: University. I have TV and Popular Culture.

Brain: Oh Yeeeah! You didn’t do the readings for that did you?

Me: … no.

Brain: oooh. Hope that’s not a problem.. no, you know what? It won’t even matter. You’ll hear the lecture, so.. yeah. You’ll be fine.

Me:… ok.

Brain: So, what are you going to wear tomorrow?

Me: Oh my Lord.

Brain: I think it’s going to be warmish, so maybe a dress? Your red dress? Although.. it’s tight across your boobs. So maybe your black one? Although.. that is very short. So maybe your green one? That is so cute. Although.. you should probably shave your legs first. So you need to make sure you get up in time to do that. Ok?

Me: Sure. Whatever.

Brain (presumably lying on its stomach, twisting its hair around its finger with one leg kicking back and forth by now): You know, tomorrow, you should really hit the library and get some books. Really get going on those assignments. You always leave them till the last minute.

Me (glaring at pitch black ceiling): yeah. I know. I will. Just shut up.

Brain: Ok, ok! Don’t need to tell me twice… Do do doooo… hmmm…

Me (I utter a sigh of frustration that comes from my very soul): What. Do you. Want now.

Brain: Hhmmm? Me? Oh nothing. Just thinking about how much time you wasted today. You wasted a lot of time. A lot. A lot lot lot lot lot. Yeeeerp. A lot.

Me: Dude. I know. I’m sorry. I’ll do stuff tomorrow.

Brain (sounding considerably brighter): yeah! Cos tomorrow is a new day! Yay! Although, to be fair, you said that yesterday as well.

Me (sounding like I’ve ground my teeth into oblivion): Yeah, but tomorrow will be different, ok?

Brain: Wait a minute. Oh man. You’re not going to be able to get up are you? You’re going to sleep through uni again aren’t you?!

Me: What? No! Of course I’m going, if I can ever get to fucking-SLEEP!!

Brain: Oh, right. Ok. Say no more. I’ll be quiet as a mouse. Ssshhh. You sleep now.

Me: Ok! Good night!!

Brain: …


Brain: Dude. Do you remember when you had that dream about the whirlwind of leaves that morphed into a faun and the faun had the upper torso of Ryan from the OC?! That shit was AWESOME!!

Me: … It was pretty cool.


V2. Scene: My bed, around four in the morning. I am suddenly Awake. I am more Awake than I’ve ever been ever before in my life. I am aware of all things and a part of all things.

Me: what.. the hell..

Brain: MORNING!!

Me: oh.. dude.. What time is it?

Brain: I don’t know, but hey, you’re up! Ready to go?!

Me: .. I.. I just.. (checks time)

Brain: That was a weird party you were at in your dream. There’s not usually rollercoasters at parties, right?


Brain: Hmm? Oh I don’t know. Maybe the rooster next door or something. Anyway, about that dream, who was that guy? He was nice. Did you make him up?

Me: … I hate that effing rooster.

Brain: Maybe you should just get up, yeah? Make use of the early morning? You could write! Or go for a run!

Me: Are you high? If I get up now in fifteen minutes I’ll feel like I’ve died and I’ll sleep all day and I’ll never wake up again. And run?! Who did you think you’re talking to?

Brain: Fine, we don’t have to run, you could just-


Brain: Ok, ok, geez. Calm down. No wonder you can never sleep properly. So uptight. … Hmmm… Do de doo…

Me: WHAT?!

Brain: Do you think it’s one rooster, or many roosters? What is a bunch of roosters called anyway? You should definately google that.

Me: I just.. I just hate you so much..


V3. Scene: My bed, I have just awoken, having presumably been in a sleep coma for several hundred years.

Me: buuugghhwwhh…


Me (attempting any sort of body movement at all): Ugh. Uuuuugh.

Brain (speaking through several dozen cotten balls): Mangh.. Muungh.. jjyyoush..

Me: I.. eeeiiuu.. I yaamm uppp …

Brain: Duuuude. What time. Is things. Oh DUUUDE.

Me: that air is loud and stingy.

Brain: I are too not sleep now.

Me: I am too not sleep now also.

Brain: I. I think we sleep through clesses.

Me: Shit.