A Question to All London Fans

So if people travel to London in May, what part of the city should they stay in? Something that is not too touristy but still close to where people are (coffee-shops, small stores, restaurants, etc.).

It would also be nice if it’s an area with some form of public transportation.

And a question from a paranoid fellow traveler: isĀ public transportation in London dangerous?

Why Does Everybody Want to Be in St. Louis?

I’m trying to make reservations in St. Louis for my birthday weekend, and all hotels are already booked full. Why does everybody want to be in St. Louis all of a sudden?

I wonder if this means that I will finally see some people in the streets of St. Louis. I call it “The Empty City” because nobody is ever there.

Leadership Styles

When I was doing my MA in Hispanic Studies, my thesis adviser would come to my office looking royally peeved and say, “So, Clarissa, you are not doing anything, right? You aren’t doing any research at all, right? You are just sitting here, doing nothing?”

“Professor,” I’d reply, “I’m teaching two courses, taking three courses, writing my dissertation, preparing for two conferences, and writing a SSHRC grant proposal.”

“Yes, exactly!” he would respond. “As I said, you are doing nothing. You need to be publishing. Here is a novel. Read it and write an article. I expect the first draft in two months.”

Then he would leave the office, muttering about “those useless people who just sit there doing nothing.”

That was a leadership style I loved. I was never as productive academically as I had been during those two years in the MA program.

I really appreciate it that the administrators at my current university love and praise me. And it’s nice to go up for review and hear how amazing I am and how everything I do is great. On a personal level, it’s very gratifying.

On a professional level, though, it’s not extremely helpful. Hearing how I’m doing everything just right doesn’t really do anything for me. It isn’t like I’m getting published in the PMLA or churning out books by the year, so obviously there is vast room for improvement.

Instead of hearing, “You got 3 articles accepted for publication, that’s wonderful!”, I’d like to hear, “Three articles, that’s very good. However, one of the journals where you got accepted is not very good. Why are you even submitting to such journals? Are you applying for any grants? Why on Earth not? Why is your goal to submit just 2 articles for publication this year? Can’t you do better? Are you sure this is the best you can do?”

Yes, I am aware that this probably makes me some sort of a masochist but I need for somebody to push me and drive me through negative motivation. I have this very annoying tendency to “like myself the way I am”, and that is very self-defeating.

Whose Kitchen?

There is a sale on these magnetic note-holders for the refrigerator at our university bookstore. I wanted to buy one when I noticed that every single one of them had a female name on it: “Caroline’s kitchen,” “Debras kitchen,” “Susan’s kitchen”, etc. There is a huge box of them behind the ones on display. I rummaged in it for 15 minutes and didn’t find a single male name.

Apparently, men don’t have kitchens in the Midwest.

I didn’t know such things even existed any more. Seeing these magnets was like traveling to the 1950s. And that was not a pleasant journey.

Children of Broken Families

Expressions that really bug me are “children of broken families” or “children from broken homes.”

These expressions are always used by really officious stupid jerks who have a huge stick shoved up their asses and who feel the need to judge others in order to relieve the misery their pathetic personal lives bring them.

In the warped minds of these idiots, “a child of a broken family” is not the miserable kid whose parents only pretend to tolerate each other for the sake of appearances and who, in the meanwhile, saddle the child with an intolerable guilt s/he will carry for life. For such officious prudes, “a child of a broken home” is a person whose parents have terminated anĀ unfulfilling relationship and have found happiness away from each other.