Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Settling into Life, Bringing the Old to the New

Thirty-two days until the wedding. I can hardly believe it. I'm excited and really can't wait until it happens. I do have to finish writing the ceremony, but that should be all that's left. I ordered my ring the other night, and that was about the last big thing on the list.

One thing I'm pretty happy about is the poem I wrote for the program. It's in Old English, so I'll post and gloss it.

Welige mid wynne æt wrætlicum brydhlope,
Se guma ongrataþ and his bryde singeþ,
Hiera sangdream macaþ micel myrgnesse, 
Hiera hleahtor niweþ wið heofones þanc
Þæt cyndelic diht of dreames mid geard.

Abound with joy at a wondrous wedding,
the groom smiles and his bride sings,
their music makes great melody,
their laughter renews against heavenly intent
that natural state of harmony with the earth.

I'm quite proud of it. It's only a little thing, but it represents a couple things for me. I love my partner and I just want to have a beautiful day of music and fun and love. The other thing it represents is my relationship as a writer to Old English as a language. I find occasions to use an alliterative pattern in my poems, I do entire poems in approximate Anglo-Saxon verse, I translate Old English, and I try, even in non-alliterative work, to work kennings into my poetry.

I feel a great connection with the language, and actually working within the language, writing small things in Old English, is how I feel best able to root my poetry in the history of the language. Working with Old English, both translating the language and generating the language, I am more productive. I write more and my writing is better. As a poet, Old English has expanded my repertoire.

Speaking of Old English, I begin work on translating the Riming Poem this week. Very excited about that.

Lastly, first dinner party since the move this Friday. We'll be having some of my partner's coworkers over, so I'll be making linguine. One of them is vegan and will be bringing her girlfriend, so I'll be cooking a separate vegan-friendly sauce for them. I've never made pasta sauce that didn't in any way involve meat, so I'll be interested in seeing how it works out. It's going to be a good week. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome to the Sinfest

I said that I wanted to talk about webcomic I enjoy. Tatsuya Ishida, the author and artist, recently began incorporating feminist themes in his work. This strip in particular appeals to me because its message is multifaceted and ultimately dependent on the reader's position and understanding of the larger issues of male gaze, male privilege, and feminism in general.

In discussion of the inclusion of feminism in the comic, some commenters have suggested that Tatsuya is demonizing sex in general - the inclusion of Demon Slick in panels 9-14 in this strip is one citation made in support of this point.

Now the origins of Demon Slick date back to his separation from Slick, which results from Slick's lust winning out over his ability to reason, his frankly creepy urge to throw himself sexually at any available woman via, as noted in the title of this strip the most recent to that point of his attempts, free hugs.

Demon Slick, quickly enters the world proper after eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge and then blowing wide the gates of Paradise, having consciously chosen to use his knowledge in the pursuit of evil. Slick begins his recovery as he recognizes that his behaviors have crippled his empathy and his ability to form meaningful relationships. And even while Slick has made efforts to better himself, his prior record is still working against him.

So Demon Slick's presence here follows very naturally from his being - Demon Slick is wanton lust personified, the dark side of sexual attraction. The whole concept of the Friendzone, originated by people like Demon Slick who cannot abide the idea of women being anything but sexual objects and who see all relationships with women as worthwhile only if they lead to sex, is being repurposed by feminists in the comic. Here the Friendzone is a safe space, where nobody is pressured regarding sex, where even romance can flourish based on mutual respect and friendship.

Our romantic example above is Criminy and Fuschia, who are looking through the telescope and painting, respectively. Fuschia protects Criminy and Criminy encourages her to grow as a person. They are in love, and it is good because it is founded in respect and friendship, not on stalking, or sexual harassment, or other unhealthy expressions of sexuality.

Now, this strip focuses ultimately on the devil girl in the first panel - her job is to play herself up to the male gaze. Her pay is garnished to support the system that supports her exploitation, she is harassed on the streets, and the revelation of the Friendzone here is eyeopening. What could be better than a space of respect, where harassment doesn't happen? This repurposed Friendzone is good for everybody.

So so far, Mr. Ishida, you're doing great. Keep up the good work and fighting the good fight. Your comic is to the benefit of humankind.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The First Week(-ish)

Would have gotten to this earlier this week, but I had a bit of stuff to take care of.

So I've begun my semester. I'm reading up about Ælfric in preparation for putting together a bibliography of recent scholarship for my faculty mentor. I'm reacquainting myself with Old English grammar in class and working on more translation outside of class - current project being the Fonthill letter. I'll go into more detail about that when I've finished translating it.

My other courses are going well too. Theory is always good, and my Victorian literature class is quite a time. We start our first novel for Thursday, and the readings have run all over the place already. Wilde's fables and parables are quite interesting, and Arthur Morrison's "Lizerunt" is depressing and really reminiscent of the Marquis de Sade.

I do, unfortunately, have quite long hours. It works out in the amount of homework I can get done at school, but it becomes wearisome.

And as the Republican party grows ever weirder, ever more disgusting (Legitimate Rape, "methods of conception", every dog whistle they can blow to say "don't vote for the black guy"), I wonder what in the world happened, and why I've signed on to stick around for the next six years. Here's hoping we don't go full on to crazy town.

I see that I get a handful of pageviews here. Most of them go to that post about Super-Aryan Hitler. But there are some of you who read more recent posts. I'd be quite happy if you said hello, maybe told me what kind of content I put here that made you interested in reading my disjointed ramblings at all. Doesn't have to be anything fancy or personal. I'm just curious, really. This weekend I promise a fun post about a webcomic I read. No idea if that'll draw any more pageviews, but it might be worth a shot.

Until next time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Mixed First Day

Well, my first day of Graduate School is behind me. I have water boiling to make the celebratory pasta dinner, and a few thoughts on the day. Overall, it's been a positive day.

I had my entrance meeting with the Director of Graduate Studies, where my path to quals and onward to comps was outlined. I also arranged a meeting on Wednesday with my faculty mentor to discuss how I will perform the necessary mentored research function of my fellowship.

Before my only class of the day, I checked my email to find that a small poetry magazine I sent some work to about a week and a half ago has decided they would like to make me their featured poet in their upcoming issue. A good pick-me-up if there ever was one.

The first day of Elementary Old English was largely concerned with letting us know about the class and finding out where we all stand on the front of language acquisition. I don't have much reading left for Wednesday's meeting, which is nice. I turned in my health and dental care paperwork, so I can have insurance again, and then walked home after class.

Not ten minutes after I get home do I receive an email telling me that one of my classes, which would have started tomorrow, has been canceled for the semester. So now I have to pick a different class, get a sheet signed by my faculty mentor and the instructor of the course, and then turn it in. Preferably tomorrow, to ensure that it is filed properly by Friday, so I can avoid getting charged $12 for registering for a class late. 

Unfortunately, this makes Tuesdays and Thursdays pretty lame for me, as it means I get to see my partner briefly before going to class again, if I come home during the interim time. So two days a week our dinners will likely not be together. I might be able to figure out a system where I cook dinner, eat some, leave some in the fridge to heat up for my partner, and take the car back to campus for my late class.

Eh, something had to go wrong, didn't it?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

And so It Begins

Monday is the day that I begin Grad school. The day should be pretty light. I'll be meeting with the Grad program director to work out a prospective course of action leading up to quals at the end of my second year and doing one class: Introductory Old English. I am going to love that class.
After class I'll be meeting with the professor, my faculty mentor, to discuss my joining the Old English reading group this semester. It's something I'd like to get started with right away to help build familiarity and facility with the language, but I can understand why it might not be so good to start right off.
Other news of the weekend. The apartment is nearly completely unpacked and sorted, with only a small mess in the living room yet to be cleared up. I now have a provisional paper driver's license that's good until my little brother's birthday while the state makes and mails me my permanent license.
I will likely have many more posts as I get started with school. This will be something of a log of my journey through the PhD for the next six years, so I shan't be long in coming to my next update.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Olympic Women's Epee semifinal

between Shin A Lam of South Korea and Britta Heidemann of Germany ended in scandal.

Here's what happened.

The match was tied at 5-5 with one second left on the clock in overtime. Per the rules, in overtime the first non-simultaneous touch wins. Should the score be tied at the end of overtime the winner of a coin toss (tossed before overtime and in this case Shin) would win the bout.

During the final second of overtime, two simultaneous hits were recorded, and Shin was seconds from victory. Then, the third attack occurred. Heidermann's attack was ruled a touch despite the timer malfunctioning by either starting late, not starting until after the point had registered, or somehow totaling longer than one second between the three attacks that had occurred in that second.

Allow me to explain the first of the many failures here.

When the timer was seen to be faulty, the correct action would be to have the fencers resume their en garde stance and try again, this time with the timer issue resolved. This was not done. Instead, Shin was made to wait on the piste for forty-five minutes while the judges evaluated her appeal, ultimately deciding that nothing was to change. While all this happened, an understandably emotional Shin cried on the piste.

This video shows that the total length of time covered by the final second amounted to roughly 1.57 seconds. (the 17 is frames at 32 fps

Ultimately, Heidemann was given the fractional time necessary to execute an attack that was declared a good touch, and the appeal went nowhere, sending Heidemann to the Gold medal match where she took Silver.

Very shortly after the appeal, Shin was made to appear in the Bronze medal match. Not being psychologically or physically prepared for the bout, having had much of her prep time eaten by sobbing on the piste with no idea what her last bout's final result would be, Shin lost, coming in fourth place in London.

None of this even begins to address the ways Heidemann tried to edge her way into advantage against Shin. For those, read prototoast's post below. Overall, the match will undoubtedly become one of those matches where it becomes well-known for all of the wrong reasons.

Whatever happened here, it is definitely the most bollocksed up situation of the 2012 Olympic Games thus far. I echo prototoast's opinion of the match. If you have never watched fencing before, I hope that this was not the day you chose to start.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Well, I no longer work in a warehouse. My last day was just under a week ago and it feels great to be done. I'm not up at what, to my nocturnal senses, feels like an unearthly early hour to go do unrewarding physical labor for a multibillion dollar corporation. Instead, I get to sleep and read, relax with my fiancee, and get ready for the upcoming move. Only three weeks to go and we'll be in a new state. I'm out of town this week housesitting for a friend of my fiancee's. We spent today getting the birds inside the house because of the heat and then taking a nap with the owl. Moving can't happen soon enough. I'm ready for the change.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Busy Busy

I don't like that during the summer I try to get back on this blogging thing and try to get into the habit of doing it regularly I manage to fail at it. I'm not sure exactly why I'm finding the time hard to get, but there you have it. In positive news, though, I have a reason for the past few days. I've been frantically working on finishing my story for submission to Coming Together: Arm in Arm in Arm, an anthology of tentacle erotica with proceeds going to ocean conservation. I initially took to the task of writing my entry for the challenge: I've never written anything remotely like what the call for submissions requests but I figured it would be worth a try. I don't quite know how I'll feel if my story winds up published. It's a bit weird. I'll try to get back to this more often.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Feminist Frequency: a Kickstarter Project I can get behind

Anita Sarkeesian has a Kickstarter Project going to raise money to fund the production of a large video series on sexism in video games. This is a discussion that needs to happen. Part of my reason for backing this project relates to a torrent of hate so large that it makes Noah's flood look like a leaky faucet. For daring to turn a critical eye toward their hobby, the community of gamers has cried foul in their foulest words. This response is all the proof the world needs that Anita is doing the right thing. The casual racism, homophobia, and sexism pervading the comments as well as the higher level harassment she has received all serve to demonstrate that the gaming community does have some very deeply rooted problems with those who are not straight white males. Anyone who is Other is an invader, an unwelcome presence, who must be shamed for daring to enter the hobby. This response demonstrates that the issues Anita will discuss in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games and those she has discussed in her other videos do make a difference. These issues help perpetuate a system in which women, gays, and minorities are put down and denigrated merely for existing. I don't really know right now how to put into words everything I feel about this. I can hardly fathom how anybody would find it acceptable to do what has been done to Anita here. I can't understand the people who make excuses for the people doing this. Anita has far surpassed her funding goal. She had far surpassed it by the time I found out about the project. That should not matter. Pledging should be a matter of principle at this point. So if you read this, please consider making a pledge to show your support of Anita's efforts to engage gamers in a rational and level-headed manner about a very important subject. The project concludes on Saturday Jun 16, 3:09 A.M. EDT.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

And I slip on the posting

Looks like I have slipped my schedule a bit. I have a good reason, though, I swear. I've finally settled in from spending much of the past month working on moving out of my place in my college town. We are now living with my fiancee's uncle until we can move down to my shiny new university. I don't have very much to report about this time. Other than moving, I've been working and doing my part in planning the wedding. We've got much of the planning set, which is good. Not so good is the having money part of things. Still need to work on that part. I've acquired a number of new coins which are making me very happy. I've also been mulling over thoughts about aspects of Dune, Foundation, and Don Quixote that mesh well together and might make for an interesting paper. I will leave you for now and return soon with something of actual substance.

Friday, May 11, 2012


In the wake of the Naomi Riley fiasco (original post, college misery with more on the issue), I've noticed the occasional blog commenter on other blogs saying something that I have seen before but never paid much time to. Indeed, it seems to me that I am seeing it more often, though that could just be confirmation bias. What I'm seeing are comments like this:
I have always thought that any discipline requiring "Studies" in its name isn't a discipline.
I find that an odd position. Logically, it falls apart when confronted with some basic facts, like the meaning of -(o)logy. Biology, Immunology, Virology, Archaeology, Zoology, Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, Geology, Toxicology, Theology, etc. All of those have -(o)logy in them and are serious disciplines. Okay, maybe not theology (I kid), but having -(o)logy in a discipline's name certainly doesn't lessen the discipline. -(o)logy means science or study of. Perhaps it's the Greek origins of the word. If only African-American Studies, Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, etc. were properly made into word chimeras. Then we could have Negrology, Cultrology, and Gynology. Except those don't sound so nice. Perhaps gussying things up in Greek or Latin dress doesn't result in an inherently superior name. The issue with Naomi Riley and those who see "Studies" as an indicator of a weak discipline does not lie in the view of "Studies" disciplines. The issue lies in their intellectual rigor. Those who deride "Studies" as above tend not to actually examine the scholarship. It is far more efficient to deride them for being Humanities rather than STEM or as focusing on what are seen trivialities. Naomi Riley shows similar skill in critical thinking in her post. Rather than attempt to engage with the dissertations on a meaningful level, Riley shows that all one needs to do to understand a discipline (and how silly it is) is to read silly dissertation titles. If the title sounds silly or contrary to privileged orthodoxy, then clearly the whole discipline is worthless. Let's have some biology dissertations and run them through what someone who knows nothing of biology might say in reaction to them: "Systematics and ecology of benthic salt marsh algae at Ipswich, Massachusetts" -- Algae? What do we need to study that for?" "Explorations in Protein Expression and Attempted Purification of the CBI Cannabinoid Receptor" -- Sounds like pro-pot nonsense. "Do Human Sex Pheromones Exist?" -- What's a pheromone? And why are you talking about sex, you depraved ivory tower intellectual? "The Importance of Dynein in the Fashioning of Left-Right Asymmetry in the African Clawed frog, Xenopus laevis" -- Clawed frog? Are frogs where the X-Men are going to come from? What do you know? It's very possible to take a serious discipline's work and make it sound silly if you don't actually take the time to engage with it. Titles are enough. Riley's approach of mockery without information betrays her. She is either incapable of deep rational thought or she finds shallow "analysis" to be a more worthwhile pursuit. She is either blind to privilege as she dismisses the scholarship that oftentimes confronts it head on, or she aims to hold onto her privilege at the expense of the disadvantaged, hoping that attacking the scholarship will mask her prejudice. No matter what it turns out she was thinking as she wrote her piece, it does not reflect well upon her. However, commenters like the one quoted above may find themselves comforted by shallow and small-minded attacks on the Humanities and on cultural studies in particular. I only hope the numbers of such people are small.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A week later -- Graduation, Poetry, and Coin Pictures

This is going to be a bit longer of a post, with many pictures. In part this is to make up for disappearing for a week. I'm still no good at this blogging thing. It's also because I got some pictures of my UK proof sets done and I'd like to share them. I also bring news of graduation and what the hell I've been doing for the past week anyway.

 I'll save the coins for last, since they'll be the longest section.

 On graduation: I graduate again this Friday with my third BA (Spanish). I won't get to walk again because I already did last semester, so I just have to content myself with the fact that I managed to do three BA degrees in five years. With graduation comes summer, which this year means moving.

 Last time I posted I had just returned from a visit to my graduate school and signed a lease for the fall. My fiancee was happy and my mother and I relieved, so everything was good. I will have the 11th through 20th of May off from work this month to do some major work on the moving front. We have a lot of packing, moving of stuff down to the farm, moving of large items to the trailer for transport this July, and other things to do. I also have to help my brother move into his new place, and you can bet I'll extract my pound of flesh from him for that.

 On Poetry: I basically spent the last week working on my final project for my Contemporary Spanish Literature class. I wrote two poems, modelling surrealism under the Franco regime and surrealism in the new millennium, then wrote a short analysis of how my poems draw their essence from those specific movements. Let me tell you that, because I have previous experience in this matter, writing poetry in a non-native language is really hard. But when you figure it out, it becomes amazing. And now that I've made the attempt at writing surrealist poetry in Spanish, I have a new appreciation for the style. I also have a new way of thinking about surrealism, and that is that the surreal is "metaphor made not only real but literal." Groundbreaking, I know. But I now have a way of thinking about surreal literature that makes sense to me.

Finally, coins. I got loads of pictures of my UK proof sets. Next post I'll share a couple of my individual coins including the 1900 silver sixpence that will be residing in my bride's shoe at the wedding.
The 1970 proof set was actually put together and struck after Decimal Day and the official change to decimal currency in the UK. It contains the last examples of the classic £sd currency.
The obverse side of the last predecimal coins.
The reverse side of the last predecimal coins.
February 15, 1971 marked Decimal Day, the switch to decimal currency for the UK. Rather than have the old 1 pound = 20 shillings = 240 pence (and the various other oddities, such as the crown being five shillings, a guinea twenty-one shillings, etc.), Britain embraced common sense and defined the pound in terms of 100 new pence.
The obverse side of the new decimal currency. The five and ten pence coins were identical in size and composition to the one and two shilling coins, respectively, and carried the same value during the transition.
The reverse of the new decimal coins. The "New" on the reverse remained on every coin until 1981. 1982 saw the creation of the 20 pence coin and the replacement of "New" with the denomination.
The 1973 set includes text commemorating the formation (and British membership) in the European Economic Community, the precursor to the European Union. The 50p coin has a special reverse for the occasion.
The obverse side of the set. Note the coloration of the 2p coin.
The reverse side of the set. I like the reverse on the 50p coin.
A close up shot of the 2p coin. This sort of toning happens to brass coins sometimes if exposed to water damage. The set probably got some water spilled on it in the past and over the years the coin has discolored. I kind of like it, since it looks like a bimetallic coin.
The 1977 set commemorates the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal Mint reintroduced a commemorative One Crown coin (25p) for the occasion. Due to the coin's excessive size for its face value, Crown coins after 1990 have a valuation of £5 rather than 25p.
The obverse of the set. The Crown has a special obverse of the Queen on horseback in honor of her Silver Jubilee.
The reverse of the 1977 set.
This is the 1988 set case. It's the first UK proof set I purchased.
I love the frosty look of the portrait side in this set. The quality of the strikes is really there.
The reverse of the 1988 set doesn't dissappoint either.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A place to call Home

This has been a very eventful, very stressful weekend. I was nearly unable to register for classes because of a miscommunication between my department and the registrar, my mother fell in a sinkhole, most of the property management companies here are not open on weekends, and everything seemed to just fall apart. My mother, an army wife with nearly twenty moves under her belt, said that this was the most difficult time she's ever had trying to find a place to live. We did find a place, however. By the time this is posted it will be Monday, so yesterday afternoon we were driving around on the west end of town. About a mile and a half from my building we discovered an apartment complex and chanced a call. The landlady was shopping and was able to get a call in to a PhD student in Spanish who lives in the complex to see if he'd be okay with a very quick showing. Within an hour we were touring the complex and checking out the room. Thirty minutes later we were filling out a lease agreement and learning that come August we will be living directly across from the PhD student who showed us his apartment. The complex does not allow undergraduate residents, will allow us to have our cat, and gives my partner an extremely good feeling. We have a place. This trip just became so worth it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time to live in

I'll be in PhD University Town to find a place to live for the fall this weekend. My mother flew up to help us and so it'll be her and the fiancee's first time visiting where I'll be studying for the PhD.

Here's hoping the weekend goes well.

I promise to get those coin pictures up soon, along with the coins that should be arriving by mail to me this weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What I got at the coin show.

I'll update this with pictures later. This is a quick hit for now.

I got a 1949 Franklin half dollar in fairly good condition. After getting the price marked down for buying it with something else, I paid just over melt value for this one.

I got with it an 1853 silver three cent piece. I've always liked the odd denominations, like half-cents, two cents, three cents, and twenty cents. This is my first time getting one of those odd denominations and I'm very glad that it looks as good as it does.

I got 1980 and 1981 proof sets, finishing off my set of proof sets which include Susan B. Anthony dollars. I love the Susie B. and have just put in an order for one of the 1999 proof coins to round out my proof collection of them.

Lastly, and I think it's probably the neatest purchase of the day, I got a 1988 Royal Mint proof set. From what I've found of sales of the set online I paid a decent price for it. All the online sales I could find were listed in British pounds, around 22-24 pounds, and I paid $24. Not bad.

Now to another day at work. Hopefully I can kick my mind into poetic gear while I'm there.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Surrealism and Coins

Quick post today.

I'm going to a small coin expo today. Hopefully there's someone there to grade coins, because I'm interested in getting my fiancee's Cheerios Dollar and my 1921-D Morgan dollar graded. The Cheerios Dollar is in the original packaging, but I don't know what kind of grade to expect on it. The Morgan looks like it's around AU-55 or so.

Afterwards I'm going to get back to work on writing some surrealist poetry in Spanish for my final project of the semester. I'm using Vicente Aleixandre as my model. That's the idea, anyway. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Super Saiyans, Super Aryans

One of the things I've been doing more and more now that the semester is winding down is pleasure reading. I bought and read the entirety of Kirkman's The Walking Dead last weekend, began reading How Few Remain and Starship Troopers, and recently read what I could find of a manga called The Legend of Koizumi.

The picture accompanying this post, minus the faux-motivational poster touches, is from the manga.

It's one of those uniquely Japanese kinds of stories, like Hetalia: Axis Powers or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, in that the premise is rather ridiculous and the execution both revels in and dramatizes the ridiculosity of the situation.

To give enough background to work with, The Legend of Koizumi is a manga in which international disputes are settled by world leaders playing Mahjong. Former Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, is the hero of the story and he plays against such Mahjong powerhouses as George W. Bush, George H.W. "Papa" Bush, Vladimir Putin, Pope Benedict XVI, and Adolf Hitler.

You might be wondering about the inclusion of Hitler. As it turns out, the Nazis relocated to the Moon after World War II. They established the Fourth Reich and Hitler got to work on improving his Mahjong level. It is during the events of the story that the Fourth Reich determines to invade the Earth, and they set up a Mahjong tournament against the greatest world leaders for this purpose.

The manga had already begun making light references to Dragon Ball Z by this point, including scanners worn over the eye which could determine an individual's Mahjong level, but the third round of the tournament includes a reference that is both a clear and affectionate parody of a major plot element in Dragon Ball Z and also a line of criticism against said element. Hitler, battling against Pope Benedict XVI, transforms into the "Legendary Super Aryan" -- that is, his hair turns gold and stands up on end in a somewhat ridiculous manner.

Compare, if you will, the Super Saiyans Son Goku and Vegeta with the Super Aryans Adolf Hitler and Tristan Goebbels.

There are, of course, obvious similarities between the characters from DBZ and those from The Legend of Koizumi. The hair stands on end, changes to blond, and the transformation grants the commensurate increase in fighting strength.

The Super Aryans are clear enough parodies of the original Super Saiyans. The idea of the Super Aryans is to couple an increase in power with the traits of the Aryan Übermensch. Putting these traits on the villain allows for the villain to display overwhelming strength gained through persevering against the might of the protagonist, a direct inversion of the formula used in DBZ.

It is very likely that the creators of The Legend of Koizumi wanted to poke fun at the Super Saiyan design. In DBZ, the field of protagonists whittles down to those of Saiyan ancestry, ending each major story arc with a pure-blooded Saiyan responsible for saving the world (or universe). The only time where a protagonist who is not a pure-blooded Saiyan saves the world, it is Gohan, who is half-Saiyan and is only able to do so as a direct result of his father's sacrifice (his father being Son Goku, a pure-blooded Saiyan).

And as the manga and show progress their storylines, the Saiyan protagonists spend more and more time in their Super Saiyan forms. They are more aggressive in this form, more powerful, and importantly, homogenized. No matter their normal eye or hair color, becoming a Super Saiyan means blue-green eyes and blond hair.

That the good guys of the DBZ narrative should be the sort of aggressive, strong, racially pure and homogeneous group that the Nazi party aspired for the people of Germany to be is probably exactly why the concept is mapped back onto the Nazis in The Legend of Koizumi. The idea itself is silly, and the only way to fit the Nazis into the tone of the story is to make them silly by bringing them to equivalence with the Saiyans. I can't rightly say if the Saiyans as they are presented pose a problem with their similarity to certain aspects of Nazi myth and iconography, but I appreciate how The Legend of Koizumi has sparked my mind into thinking about it.

Publishing, Awards, Conferences: The Undergraduate Perspective

I'd like to think that at my current stage in life I'm doing pretty well on the publishing and scholarship front. I haven't published any scholarship yet, but I have presented my translation of an Old English elegy at an undergraduate conference hosted by my university.

I have gotten some creative work published, however. In 2007 I wrote a short essay for a scholarship contest. I didn't win the scholarship, but I did get the essay published. I'm always leery about including that one, though, because I've never been certain how legitimate the company really is.

In 2010 I published three poems in my school's literary journal and one poem in a regional anthology. I also got another essay published (for real published, no potential vanity publishing shenanigans this time) in a journal of undergraduate nonfiction as part of a contest. In a couple of weeks I will be receiving a few copies of this year's edition of my school's literary journal, in which two more of my poems will be appearing.

I'm not doing terribly on the published pieces front, though one of my friends puts my efforts to shame in terms of quality and success in publishing with his poetry. That's why I bounce my ideas off him.

I've also gotten experience on the other side of publishing now. This semester is my second year as Co-Editor for poetry in my school's literary journal. Yes, I'm editor of poetry and I'm getting two poems published. I also completely abstained from voting on the inclusion of my poems and the voting process was blind to authors. I have ethics, which is more than I can say for one of the members of the poetry committee this year.

I also got a job as fiction editor for an online fiction magazine. It's been a real learning experience. I now know how true it is that editors do not have the time to bother with a story they find no interest in after the first paragraph. Indeed, I've gotten to the point where I've stopped feeling bad about it.

As I transition into graduate school, I will have increasing pressure to publish scholarly articles. Hopefully my experiences on both ends of the publishing world will help me navigate that process more easily. Likewise, my minimal conference experience should also be helpful.

Before I finish, I did mention awards in the title of this post and should probably say something about them, too. Receiving an award can feel almost as good as getting published. I don't know how I managed to get selected last semester as my department's Outstanding Graduating Student, but I do know it felt great when I found out.

I don't know if I'll be looking at any awards at the end of this semester. I think I stand a good chance of getting the Outstanding Graduating Student award from the Spanish sub-department this semester, but I'm not counting on it. I'm going to work over an essay I wrote a few years ago and put it out for publication, but again I won't count on success. If either of those do turn out well for me, though, I'll be entering my PhD program on a high note. And that's what I would like to do.

Friday, April 13, 2012

O Canada, with Glow-in-the-Dark Coins...

That right there is the reverse of a new commemorative quarter from the Royal Canadian Mint. The first in a four-coin series, this is the first coin to be minted with glow-in-the-dark technology. In light the coin shows a rendering of Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai. In the dark the dinosaur is viewable as in the image here: a skeleton.

I've been collecting coins for a substantial portion of my life. It's always disappointed me how the United States puts relatively little emphasis on science in its commemorative currency. Explorers are the most commonly celebrated on American coins. The Wright brothers, George Washington Carver, and Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, and Louis Braille make up almost the entirety of the recognition of scientific achievement in America.

Meanwhile, Canada not only has coins celebrating science like the new quarter. Several issues were made for the 100th anniversary of flight, the Giants of Prehistory series had five $4 coins over four years, each with a different dinosaur, a $5 coin was minted in honor of the first wireless transmission, and the $20 Land, Sea, and Rail Transportation series celebrated innovation in transportation technology. Those only scratch the surface of Canada's celebration of scientific achievement through currency. The $100 banknote in Canada depicts the discovery of insulin.

While a number of Canadian coins commemorate military excursions, the proportion of those coins relative to the total number of Canadian commemorative coins is much smaller than the same proportion among American commemoratives. Over here, we celebrate our military might above all else in our coinage. Canada takes its natural beauty and scientific achievement as the leading inspiration for commemorative coins.

I'm going to have to get these glow-in-the-dark quarters. For the science and the cool factor.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Okay... Is this thing on? An Academic in the making

Hello, nobody. I know nobody is out there right now, but that's okay. I'm going to try to get into this thing for real and actually make posts every few days.

"Why would you do that?" you might ask.

Because at the beginning of this Fall semester I will be a real academic. I am going to begin my PhD program in Literary Studies at an R1 university. So I will be chronicling this transition.

At the moment, I am still an undergraduate, technically. I graduated with BAs in Writing and a degree in Literature at the end of last Fall. I will be graduating again with a BA in Spanish at the end of this semester. After this summer, I'll be taking up the first year of my appointment in my fellowship and getting a start on what I hope to be a great career.

Also happening this Fall? I'm getting married. I've got a lot going on. Hopefully someday there will be somebody reading this, too. With or without you, phantom reader, I'll still be here.

Until next time.