Random Thoughts from the Past Week

Published April 19, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Since I’m no longer posting my random stuff whenever I feel like it, due to April’s A-to-Z challenge, this week I’ve stored up a bunch of little things.  At the time I’m writing this section (mid-afternoon Wednesday) they are all, so far, positive.  Uh, except for the ants in the kitchen.  But that led to something positive, so it’s not so bad.

So, on Tuesday, when I went to the post office to mail in my taxes (yes, I know, I know, I shouldn’t have waited so long!) I was surprised by how few people were there.  In front of me in line were a couple of women, and there was another woman off to the side, using her phone to take a photograph of one of the other women, so I assumed the one off to the side was there with her.  The woman being photographed looked to be in her early thirties, and had two small children with her.  After she was done at the counter, as she was on her way out the door, I heard the other woman approaching her, at which time she said something along the lines of “I don’t want to seem like a stalker, but I’m a big fan of your online blog, and I just wanted to tell you that,” and then went on a little longer about how great the blog was, and how her daughter was also a fan, and so on.  I was just standing there going “what, seriously?”  This woman with her two small kids posts pictures of herself (and/or her kids) enough that this total stranger was able to recognize her.  Now, in this case, that was a totally fine thing:  the woman who recognized her was very nice, and a fan of her work, whatever her work is.  But what if she hadn’t been?  That’s the second major reason I would never post my photo online:  I’m too paranoid and misanthropic to trust people that far.  (The first reason, of course, is that then I would have to see my photo, and I don’t want that.  Ever.)  Overall, a very surreal experience, though it must have been even more surreal for the woman with the two little kids!

Anyway, so then there’s today.  I was about to go make my lunch when I found ants all over my kitchen counter.  I didn’t even want to deal with it, so I just left the house to buy lunch somewhere.  (Also to buy ant traps.)  On my way back from lunch, I finally stopped in at this little used bookstore near my house.  It’s near my house, you see, but it’s awkward to get into, because the parking lot is tiny and has almost no room to maneuver, and if I’m not on the way back to the house, then I have to make a left turn in, and it’s a big street where making a left turn is really tough.  The last time I managed to get myself in there, I was still studying archaeology, rather than history, so I was looking for utterly different books.  Now, they didn’t have the two books I most wanted to find, naturally (one of them is definitely highly obscure, and the other’s actually still pretty recent) but I did find a number of things to get.  In fact, I ended up spending $50.  But it averages to $10 a book, and since they’re all hardbacks, that’s a pretty sweet deal.  Plus I was supporting a local business, and that’s always a good thing.

One of them, appropriately enough, is a different translation of the Posthomerica of Quintus Smyrnaeus, so if I’d gone there before posting today’s Memnon quote, I could have used that one.  Though I don’t know if that particular section would be any better in this other translation.  The one I used for the quote is very recent, like 2013, as opposed to the most commonly available one, which is from about 1913.  The one I just bought is from the 1960s.  But it uses all the original Greek names!  I flipped through it, and it’s in prose–which I like, because the translation can actually be more literal if they’re not trying to re-versify it while they’re translating–and I saw it mention Aias instead of “Ajax”!  That alone was reason enough to want to pick it up.  So, while I’m not a big fan of Quintus, I’m still looking forward to reading that version.  Though I guess I ought to read the one from 2013 in its entirety first, instead of just the bits and pieces I needed for that paper last semester…ahem….ack, that’s embarrassing…

The other books were a reference book on classical literature–not only with brief entries on mythical characters (for whom I have reference books aplenty) but also on place names (admittedly, I have a reference book for those, too, but only ones actually in Greece) and historical people and other important names like architectural styles and so on–a “social history” of ancient Greece and Rome, and a book about the journey of a particularly fabulous vase that was excavated/looted from a Roman tomb in the late 16th century.  Oh, and a book about the people of the Middle Ages, which I’ve wanted to read for a long time, but it was out of print (first written in 1924) and while it’s public domain now, the super cheap, taking-advantage-of-public-domain copy I got from Amazon (re-published through their CreateSpace program, by the look of its cover) had apparently been copy-pasted off a Web page, because instead of having nice, easy-to-read book formatting, it had Internet formatting, which always gives me a headache when it’s on paper.  (Sometimes it even gives me a headache on the computer screen, too.)  So finding a lovely hardback copy was nice.  Of the five of them, I suspect I’ll get the most use out of the reference book, of course, but you never know; there could be something good in the social history, or some interesting insight in the translator’s introduction to Quintus.

I’d have liked to find a good book or two towards my eventual thesis, but it’s hard to know what to look for; there aren’t a lot of books about the re-interpretation of myths across time after they cease to be part of the dominant culture.  (Of course, if there were, then I wouldn’t be able to write my thesis on it anyway, ’cause you’re not supposed to cover terrain that’s been covered before!)  And I didn’t see a gender studies department.  (LOL, like a used bookstore in a relatively conservative section of the Midwest would have a section for gender studies!)

I need to find the other used book store and see what they’ve got.  They used to be pretty near my house in the other direction (but still positioned in such a way that I had to be on my way home or it’d be a left turn) but then they had to move, and I know where their new location is, but have no idea where to park for it.  I should look and see if they have a web site or something…


So, it’s Thursday morning now.  Last night, due to there still being ants on my kitchen counter (though I did put out the ant traps, so hopefully that’ll get rid of them soon) I didn’t want to make dinner at home, either, so I grabbed what I was planning to cook and went over to use my brother’s kitchen at his condo, rather than eating out for a second meal in a row.  Two things of interest happened on the way over there.  First of all, it was Wednesday the 15th of April, right?  Which means, for anyone who happens not to be from the US and doesn’t read a lot of complaining American blogs, that it was Tax Day, the day on which our tax forms have to be postmarked.  So there’s a tax preparation office on the major street that comprises most of the drive between my place and my brother’s, and from January to mid-April, they hire some poor soul to stand by the side of the road in a doofy costume and hold a sign to try and convince people to come in and pay to have their taxes prepared there.  For the last week, the sign had included the number of days remaining to file the taxes.  So last night, the guy is still standing there holding a sign saying “FILE TODAY!” at 6:30 at night.  When the post office is already closed.  (Unless they were open late due to it being the day taxes were due.  Which actually seems fairly unlikely, really.)  Now, admittedly, one can e-file these days.  (In fact, I e-filed my federal taxes.  But I still mailed the state taxes, ’cause e-filing them would have cost $25, while mailing them was more like $1.20.)  So it’s not impossible that some astonishingly late person might have rushed into that office at 7 p.m. saying “Help me, I don’t have my taxes ready!”  But I find it highly unlikely.  Actually, I kind of want to go in there and ask them “Did you actually have customers after 6:00 on Wednesday, or was that poor man wasting his time standing out there by the side of the road?”  I don’t have the courage to actually do so, mind you, but I’d love to know the answer.

The other interesting thing was that I saw a tow truck with two wrecked cars.  One was horribly totaled, and was resting on the truck’s bed, while the other only had a smashed-up front, and was being pulled behind the truck.  What caught my eye–after my first shudder of horror of “could the driver have survived that?” on seeing the one on the truck’s bed–was the fact that these two cars clearly had not been in the same accident, not unless there were a number of other cars involved.  Plus they were being towed through quiet residential streets, with no repair shops anywhere nearby, and it didn’t seem plausible that they had been wrecked that spectacularly on those streets.  The truck turned the same direction I was going, and soon came to a stop in front of the local high school.  I thought that was odd, to say the least, but didn’t put too much thought into it, especially since I got distracted on arriving at my brother’s place, since he suggested we watch the first episode of “Daredevil,” which turned out to be pretty intense.  Anyway, as I was going home again, I saw that the two cars had been positioned in the high school’s parking lot to look like they’d been in a head-on collision there.  And according to the sign in front of the high school, their prom is this Friday.  So, is that utter lack of subtlety in a warning on the part of the administration, or does their prom have some kind of really freaky theme?  Presumably the former, but it’d be pretty neat if it was the latter, and their prom’s theme was “post-apocalyptic” or “zombie outbreak” or something.  Not terribly romantic, of course, but proms aren’t actually very romantic for the majority of the students involved.

Okay, so now it’s actually Sunday.  Yesterday, I–no, actually, I should talk about Friday first.  Right now, we’re supposed to be preparing and conducting our second interviews for my oral history class.  This time, we have to provide our own interviewees, right?  So I was going to do something nice and simple, about the challenges faced by women in the medical profession, and how the situation has or hasn’t changed over the last 40 years, because I was going to interview my physician, who’s been practicing for at least 40 years.

Seemed perfect, right?  Only problem is, I called her office Friday morning, but even though it was only 8:30 in the morning, she was already too busy to come to the phone, and I had to leave a message with the receptionist who answered the phone, and I explained what I wanted and asked her to have the doctor call me on my cell phone–and I gave her the number–because I was about to leave the house.  So I leave my cell phone on all day while I’m at the museum, but it never rings.

When I finally get home, there’s a message on the machine, from the receptionist, saying that the doctor decided she didn’t have time for it.  I made it very clear that while the interview would take about an hour, I did want to use off-duty time, not during office hours.  I can’t be sure if that was communicated to the doctor or not, since the flippin’ receptionist ignored the number I asked her to call me at, and instead called the number out of my medical file.  Who does that?  Who gets a message saying “call me at this number” and then calls a different number instead?  It’s crazy!  Not to mention incredibly freakin’ annoying.

So here I am, with no way to complete my assignment.  Because–no matter what my clueless mother says–I can’t just keep pestering my doctor until I manage to talk to her in person and explain what the assignment is and how important it is.  That would be incredibly rude.  Plus it would require way more self-confidence and ability to speak to others than I possess.  That is, after all, the entire reason I wanted to interview my doctor for this project in the first place; I have serious social phobias that prevent me from being able to conduct an interview with a stranger.  My mother, who can chat to total strangers about absolutely anything/nothing for hours on end, can never understand.  Furthermore, she actively tries not to understand, as she refuses to believe that there is any reason I can’t just call up anyone at all at any time and ask them anything at all, just like she can.

The worst part is that it’s now too late to drop the class.  The late-drop date is tomorrow.  But in order to drop, I’d have to get the professor’s signature on a form, and get that form turned in.  I don’t know if he’ll be in his office tomorrow morning–probably not–and I have a two-hour dentist appointment starting at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  So even if I e-mailed him and said “y’know, I’ve decided to drop after all, can you please be in your office tomorrow morning to sign the form?” it would still turn into a freakin’ disaster.  Because even if he got the message, he’d probably be just late enough that I couldn’t make my appointment.

So what the heck am I supposed to do?  I have to find a person I’m capable of interviewing, who’s willing to let me interview them, and then find a way to tie that into studies other people have done, so I can write a fifteen page paper about it.

With less than a week’s notice, mind you.

Even for someone who had no social problems whatsoever, this would be extremely difficult.

For me, it’s literally impossible.

I should have dropped this class after the first meeting.  Now, because I didn’t, I’ve destroyed my entire graduate career.  Even if I somehow manage to pass, I’ll never get into a doctoral program with this stain on my transcript.

Though I guess I wasn’t going to be able to get into any doctoral programs anyway, considering I’m a complete idiot.


EDIT–Speaking of being an idiot, I started to talk about the weekend, and then got distracted and forgot to get back to the weekend.

So, yesterday, I went to an anime convention.  Which should have been awesome.  But it wasn’t.  After paying a pretty hefty fee to get in (I’m never sure if I’ll have time, so I never seem to pre-register anymore) I didn’t end up going to any of the events.  I just hit the dealers’ room a couple of times and then left.  I didn’t even buy that much, although I spent a lot of money.  (One of the few things I bought was very expensive.  But worth it, I think.  I’ll be posting a photo later this month on my other blog, since we haven’t gotten to that letter of the alphabet yet.)  Ironically, at one of the two artists I bought from in the Artists’ Alley section, what I bought wasn’t even anime-related:  I bought two fan-art prints related to the Marvel Studios movies.  (The stuff I got from the other artist was anime-related, though, so it evens out a bit.)

As to why I didn’t attend any of the events or panels or whatnot, well, to start with, they had zero guests of even the slightest interest.  Most of the few they had were dub actors.  And none of the stuff being screened in the various rooms showing anime appealed.  And I didn’t want to hang around for the cosplay contest because what with the thing with my arm, being in a crowded room for long periods of time was just not a good idea.  Plus, judging by the costumes I saw on people wandering the hallways, there were a lot of costumes that weren’t from anything I knew.

Of course, despite how little we did at the convention, I still felt drained and exhausted afterwards.  And then today has been an all-around lousy day, what with me starting to really freak out about my class being completely torpedoed.  I still don’t know what I’m going to do about that.

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