Your friend LP

How the class was

Although it feels like a month ago because it’s one of those weeks in which everything you’ve been waiting months for happens at the same time because The Powers that Be woke up from hibernation apparently, it has been less than a week since I taught my class.

So, how was it? Well, quite a lot of people showed up. “24 people and me” according to The Big Kahuna, who is a wizard when it comes to counting the amount of people within a group in one go. Though some people had to leave earlier, nobody walked out unexpectedly. And most importantly: nobody threw things at me and I didn’t have to throw stuff at people, so I think we can say it was a success! But seriously, things went well. Of course I did beat myself up for hours afterwards for not remembering ONE F#@CKING WORD, because apparently becoming less of a neurotic special snowflake is a process with ups and downs. But now that I’m a bit further removed from it, I am okay with it all.

At first, I was afraid (I was petrified…) that I didn’t have enough material for a two hour class, but I ended up having to cut some examples due to time constraints. Thankfully, they weren’t really needed anyway, because everybody understood what they were supposed to do. I think that was the hardest part of the preparation: since the sessions are on a drop in basis and everybody is welcome, you never quite know how much explanation is needed. Though there were a couple of new visitors, none of them were absolute beginners, so the group was at quite a level, uh, level.

People were very receptive and some intense writing and rewriting was done, which was the point of the session, and I even got a couple of ladies to read out loud, so yay. Also, I might at some point have done a very toned down version of the Snoopy dance when somebody Got It. But let’s keep that between ourselves, okay?

So, in short: class done, people happy, f*ck yeah.
And now on to the next challenge: I have been cast (well, actually I cast myself, but that sounds way more Orson Welles than I’m comfortable with) as Witch #1 in Macbeth. Yes, I will be acting… I’m quite sure it’s going to be… interesting.

The What and the How of that Linguistics survey

So, remember that survey for actual trufax science I did in January, for my linguistics class? I seem to remember promising to give more details on The What and The How as soon as the complete results for that class were posted. This still hasn’t happened because of Reasons, and by the time it does happen, if ever, no1curr about this thing at all anymore. So I thought “Whatever, I’m just going to post this thing and get it over with”. But then I remembered this:

Students who make a completed assignment, exam or other piece of assessment available to other students without reason, are considered to be plagarising. The faculty sees this activity as undermining the education provided, and will confront the student concerning his/her responsibility for the quality of the study programme. The student will also need to consider that his/her work may be plagiarised by others. In cases of plagiarism, the Examinations Board will investigate whether the author of the source material was an accessory to the fraud. Students who grant access to their assignments, etc. online therefore run the risk of becoming involved in a plagiarism case.

I now wonder if I will get into trouble for posting this quote. *yells “Come for me!” because she watched way too many RuPaul episodes back to back earlier today* But yeah, this is (a part of) the departments “rules” regarding plagiarism. And on the other hand they’re complaining about students never working together. Gee, I wonder why. So I’ll just go for a short and non-specific explanation of what it was all about:

My hypothesis was that the ability to perceive the constitutive sounds of a word is affected by the pronunciation of that word in the native language of a test subject. And since in Dutch words starting with “ps” are pronounced as two separate sounds, I had expected the native Dutch speakers to pronounce English words starting with “ps” the same way, despite the “p” being silent. This would then mean that native Dutch speakers would more often give a higher (= incorrect) amount of sounds for a word starting with “ps” than the native English speakers.

I then compiled a list of 20 test items, 10 starting with an ‘s’ and 10 starting with ‘ps’, both pronounced as ‘s’ in English. And to deflect from what I was actually testing, I added 40 filler words and made sure all words were medical terminology. I set up my survey, found 10 native Dutch speakers (who of course also spoke English) and 10 native English speakers and away we went.

After studying the results, I realised that the way I had set up my experiment was unsound and that the results didn’t prove or disprove my hypothesis. Which is unfortunate, but not a huge issue, since a failed experiment is also an experiment and can be written about. I was even able to figure out solutions to all the issues that surfaced during this experiment, so it all worked out in the end. *all together now: “Yay!”*

Bio writing is hard, yo! (spoiler: I’m teaching a creative writing class!)

Hi, my name is LP and I had to write a biographical blurb about myself and it was An Ordeal. How I got myself into this pickle? Let’s start at the beginning: a group of students started a creative writing group guild, where once a month a person teaches a class. They also have critique sessions, but since I haven’t written anything other than rambly blogposts since this summer, I haven’t participated in them yet. I have heard only good things about them though. So when I came back from the Berk, I offered to share my knowledge acquired and teach a class. What I hadn’t counted on, was the need for a head shot and a bio. Oops.

In my notebook next to my pillow, where I scribble things while I’m mostly asleep, I found the following “Note to self: never again decide on anything within two weeks of returning from California. Make sure to let the oppressive mediocrity and hopeless despair of your Dutch existence saturate every fiber of your being before offering to do things that require bios and headshots.” Apparently I’m still a bitter bitch when I’m ¾ asleep.

But as Buckaroo Banzai says “No matter where you go, there you are” and well, here I was. Fortunately, the headshot was taken by a professional photographer who not only has mad photography skillz, but who’s also a magician apparently, making me look alive and well on a day that I felt like death warmed up. So that only left me with the bio writing. Oy vey.

First, there’s the strange referring-to-yourself-in-the-third-person thing. Second, I am 38 years old. I have lived an… unconventional life? A detoured life? A crazy beautiful life? Oh no, wait, that’s Kesha. Let’s just say that my life hasn’t followed the traditional school – study – job – marriage – kids path and that I’ve done a lot of different things in my life up to now. How was I to select the parts that are relevant, while also giving an (as) accurate (as possible) description of myself? And third: why wasn’t I taught this stuff at school? I went to Montessori, I learned a lot of strange stuff, a class on “How to write about yourself in the third person” wouldn’t have stood out AND would have been very useful! I’ve yet to put my awesome macramé skills to good use.

Frustrated, I wrote down a first attempt:

<Actual Trufax IRL Name> studies English at the University of Amsterdam. Most days she wishes she didn’t and had gone to art school instead. Not that she knows how to draw, but apparently she doesn’t know how to English either. She used to be awesome at ballet and figure skating about 20+ years ago and still hasn’t been able to top that. She also had an actual job once, one that made money. Well, a bit of money. She co-wrote a book that sold, but it’s out of print now. Despite calling herself a zinester and a (pronounce this really fast) shitstorywriter, she hasn’t written a zine in 1 1/2 years because she has been Eaten By Academia, but hey, who’s counting? She loves to write suffers from a compulsive need to write and has finally made her peace with it. Also, she was clearly manic when she agreed to teach this class.

I thought it was HI-LA-RI-OUS, mostly because it’s super bitter and kinda sad. Yes, I have a strange sense of humor, especially when it comes to myself. Of course I didn’t send this one out, because although in essence it’s true, it’s also the most unflattering way of rendering that truth. A bio should be realistic, but not too bitter. Lighthearted but not too quirky. It should mention past accomplishments, but not be too has-been-y (or worse, too never-was-y). It shouldn’t be too modest, but also not too braggy. And most of all, it shouldn’t be too inside joke-y. Clearly, my first attempt failed on all points, which I think is pretty impressive.

So, after rewrite 2 to 78, I ended up with 145 words and the amazing sentence “When she grows up, she wants to be Buckaroo Banzai, but in the meantime she’s trying to avoid having to move into a van down by the river”. Which I then had to cut when chopping it down to 100 words. :-(

So, with the bio done, it’s on to the good part: the preparation and eventually the teaching of the class itself, which I’m REALLY looking forward to! Peeps interested in attending my class on Short Story Editing (it’s in Amsterdam on the 9th of April from 18:00 to 20:00, all ages and levels welcome), can email me at LogPoes@gmail.com for deets.

The Sketchbook Project 2014 updates

Last Friday was the opening night of The Sketchbook Project 2014. I would have loved to be there, but while Breukelen might be semi next door to where I am (32 minutes by train, to be precise), Brooklyn is not, so I had to live vicariously through the photos posted. I was very exited to receive a notification telling me that somebody had checked out my sketchbook on the night itself. I take it as a sign that my book’s tour is off to a good start!

For those of you who do not live anywhere close to the tour stops, it is now also viewable online, either by going to the search page and entering ‘LogPoes’ or directly by clicking this link.

Today I also got an email telling me that the sign up for The Sketchbook 2015 has started (no, that is not a sponsored link), I for one am looking forward to doing the project again next year (well, technically it’s this year, but for next year), especially now that my craft supplies are all organised ‘n sh*t. Oh, and in case you’re new here and going “Que?” and/or if you want to read more on The Sketchbook Project, here is an article that explains a bit of the Why and the How.

Catvocado

This post was ready for posting last Sunday, but my internet connection has decided to bork on me for Reasons Unknown. These Reasons Unknown are apparently making it quite hard to fix, since it’s Wednesday now and I’m still disconnected, so I’m now posting this from a communal computer in the cheeriest building of them all, the PC Hoofthuis.

On Thursdays I have a linguistics class at 09:00 in the morning. I would like to have a word with the person who made that schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I DO enjoy the class (quite a lot even), but I do think that conversations about attachment ambiguities, constituent ordering and dative alternations should not take place before 11 am.

Looking at the tired faces of my fellow students, it seems that I’m not the only one who feels that way. Our teacher sometimes gets a bit desperate, being unsure if we’re just silently absorbing knowledge, if we just don’t have a single clue what he’s talking about, or if we’re bored to death. I try to let him know that, yes, I do understand, but it’s just too early for me to form any (let alone original) thought right now, by nodding encouragingly. Which probably makes me look, well, not so smart. I just hope he appreciates my effort. Suggestions for a different approach are welcome, as I can’t think of any except for thumbs-upping him, which would be highly inappropriate.

But anyway. It was early and we were all staring blankly at the teacher who was trying to explain why subordinate clauses exist. At some point he said “There is no single word to describe ‘all things <his name> likes’”, which was supposed to prove his point. And of all the wonderfully brilliant things I could have thought at that moment, the thing that popped up was “But wait! There IS a single word that describes everything I like: catvocado”.

After which I had to fake-cough to conceal the fact that I was laughing. Because while I thought (and still do think, actually) that that was both the most genius and most hilarious thing I have EVER come up with in class, especially at 10:23, I did have the presence of mind to realise that I was probably the only one to think so.

So instead of saying it out loud and watch the whole class including the teacher stare at me like I’m batshit, I’m just posting it here in hopes that there’s someone out there who can appreciate it too. *mumbles “Catvocado! Brilliant!” and wanders off to her writing class*

Hurdle: taken

Yesterday, I had a mid-term. I was unable to prepare this exam properly due to Reasons (read: sick again as usual) and knew beforehand that I would not pass. Worse even, I would probably not even get a high enough grade to be eligible for the resit and will probably have to take the class again next year, because absurd rules. It would also be my first sit down exam since the one in May 2013 when I walked out of a final. I know.

My “normal” way of dealing with this kind of pressure (or any sit down exam really) is to cry on the floor, yell to my mother over the phone all night, and tell myself, well, awful things. Not productive in any way and tiring to boot. In line with my debittering and my new mantra (and also because I have been and still am working on my exam terror-issues with a Professional Person), I decided to try a different approach: no crying, not floors nor anywhere else, no yelling at mothers, mine or other people’s, just prepare as much as I can and go. If I managed to do that, I’d be an amazing feat and a great success. And I couldn’t tell you why it worked this time, but it did. I didn’t cry, I slept, I studied some in the early morning, went to the exam, was on time, wrote down what I knew, handed it in and that was it.

And even later that day, I only worried a little about this whole situation. So yeah, it seems like I’m slowly but surely improving on the exam terror front. Which, and this might sound strange, at this time is more important than passing this class. I am really hoping that after 24+ years of blind panic before EACH AND EVERY sit down exam, yes, even the ones for which I was wonderfully prepared and for which I ended up getting amazing grades, this will turn out to be the beginning of a healthier way of dealing with, life basically. *breathes out*

Cleaning out my closet (literally)

I’m often in awe of people who seem to manage to keep up with it all: their studies, a job, a social life, the internet. I oftentimes can’t even keep up with one of them, let alone all of them. In the last year and a half or so, I find myself unplugging from the internet more and more, in favor of Alone Time (read: lots of sleep, mostly). And the longer I’m away from it, the harder it get to come back to it, like with anything in life really.

At least, that’s how things work for me: if I don’t force myself to do things and keep doing them on a regular basis, after an X amount of time even a simple thing like going to the supermarket will become this huge, almost impossible feat. Especially when it’s cold outside. Offers for jobs in warmer, constant climates are very welcome and can be sent to LogPoes@gmail.com.

But enough about my neuroses, let’s talk about creative stuff. As some of you might know, I tend to fancy myself a bit of an ~artiste~ enjoy glueing stuff to other stuff using Mod Podge. And as anyone who’s ever gone to kindergarten embarked on a creative project knows, if you don’t clean up immediately after using things, it will all turn into a huge mess. Which is what happened. The last time I sorted out my craft/art supplies, was, uh, never. Oops. Like I mentioned in my post on the Sketchbook Project, it got to a point that I couldn’t even find essentials like my cutting boards and my ruler. So, I reorganized my whole craft supplies closet.

After 3 hours of sorting and throwing away 5 boxes of unusable junk, this is the result (click to embiggen):

Rolling thing

and

Crafty stuff

Apart from the great feeling to (I’d almost say finally) have a grasp on something again, knowing exactly what I have and where it is, has ~awakened a creative fire in me~ given me ideas for future projects. Which, considering that I’ve been in a creative slump for (what feels like) eons, feels pretty great.

Nails & thoughts (while waiting for the nails to dry)

It’s the first week of a new semester and like always, it feels like the calm before the storm. Well, the relative calm, because of course I am still waiting for results from last semester, half my books aren’t here yet, and I am waiting for Executive Decisions from The Powers That Be. But hey, I attended a screening of Shakespeare in Love last night, which was a lot funnier than I remembered, and went to a very entertaining poetry reading this afternoon, so yay. File under: debittering.

Also filed under debittering: I have apparently also reentered an ~I LOOOVE doing mah nailz~ phase. I really don’t know what triggers it, but I go for months without putting crap on my nails polishing my nails and then I get back into it hardcore. I’ve tried photographing today’s adventure (Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer in 43 Miami pINK, tipped off with Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer in 40 I’m Dynamite) but all pictures came out horrid. So you’ll have to use your imagination.

And because I’m quite sure that there’s nothing you like to know more than the things I think about while I do my nails, a short list of Things I Think About While Waiting for My Nail Polish to Dry:

- Why are California gurls undeniable? The song just states that they are, but gives no reason. And I also want proof, because I’m quite sure there must be California girls that get denied all sorts of stuff on a regular basis. Or is that because they aren’t gUrls? And also: how is that “we’ll melt your popsicle”-metaphor supposed to make any sense? And is there a link between that metaphor and having no clue how anatomy works because of the lack of sex ed in American schools?

- What is up with the whole “to be deleted” trend? I’ve been seeing it more and more recently, mostly on Tumblr, and I just don’t understand. Has “to be deleted”, like “to the left”, turned into an idiomatic expression meaning something along the lines of “this post contains really private and/or TMI information, reader beware” or do people actually mean that they’re going to be deleting their post? And if it’s the latter, why would you post something knowing that you’re going to delete it later? What is the point? *so confused*

- I know it’s a proverb and it shouldn’t be taken literally but people, can we for a moment discuss how the proverb “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king” is not only ablist as f*ck, but also just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever? I mean, if there was a land in which EVERYONE is completely blind, wouldn’t you think they’d arranged their society and public life in a way in which sight is of zero relevance, let alone importance?

I’m a right philosopher, I am. Sweater Dude ain’t got nothing on me. Answers, thoughts and/or pointers in a general direction are, as always, welcome. And now, on to printing a 40 page article on somekindoflinguisticphenomenon that has to be read before tomorrow morning, 9 am. I know.

The Sketchbook Project 2014

This time, I started really early: since gluing stuff onto other stuff using mod podge doesn’t require thinking skills, I managed to do the backgrounds sometime in October, when I was stuck at home with pneumonia. Since remembering to take pictures apparently does require brain activity, I didn’t take any pictures during my epic glue-a-thon. I forgot.

Fast forward to a week and a half ago: after having thought about what I wanted to do and drawing a terrifying blank for months, I was ready to give up on the whole thing. Since that would be 1) a shitty beginning of the new year and 2) a waste of all my fancy backgrounds, I worked my magic (read: I honestly have no clue what I did) and voilà: A Concept.

I decided to go for a selection of pictures taken in 2013, subdivided in 5 categories: adventures, animals, Clark Cat, street art, and pics because it happened. It took quite a while to narrow the themes and the pictures down, but once I did, I had a clear vision of what the book was going to look like. For some reason, a couple of the pictures were printed not quite as I had wanted them (edges were cut off), but since I had zero time to figure out why that was and/or get them reprinted, I went with my new mantra, which is “done is better than perfect”. Also, I figured that I know what the pictures are supposed to look like, other people don’t.

After pasting all the photo’s onto the pages, I wrote descriptions that I printed out. I then realised that I had NO CLUE where I’d left my special crafting cutting boards, since I’d put them away sometime in October, while having a fever. So, keeping with the “done is better than perfect” theme, I just grabbed one of the cutting boards from my kitchen and cut everything into shape freehand.

When everything was done, I first scanned all the pages, then took pictures of all the pages and only then bound the whole thing together. It turned out extremely thick and unfortunately also quite fragile: had I had more time, I would have figured out a way to actually rebind the whole thing with a back and such. Now I just stuffed it into an envelope, ran to the supermarket to post it and hoped for the best.

The sketchbook has already arrived in Brooklyn (in less than a week!) and will be scanned, I will of course post a link as soon as one is available. For now, a photo set of the process containing a sneak peek can be found here: click!

Yay! Data!

Dear YourfriendLP-readers,

Thank you for helping me out with my survey, you know, the one for actual trufax science! This weekend, I will be compiling the data and draw very scientific conclusions, that I will use in a presentation and an essay. A post about The Sketchbook Project 2014 (with pictures) is also in the works.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers