OK, Look; or, My Ramblings on the BBC Interview Interruption

I'm writing this post on a Friday night because I have a deadline looming ahead this coming Tuesday, and I know that this weekend is going to be unpleasant. And because I only posted once in February and I'm thinking that it's going to be a similar situation in March, I'm just going to take this moment to bust out something for the month and also procrastinate at the same time. I never did dislike killing two birds with one stone.

So, this morning my alarm goes off at 6:50 AM, like it does every day (which, may I remind you, is still 10 minutes earlier than in the song "Skid Row"). I'm snoozing it and tossing and turning because my neck and shoulders have continued to hurt since the night before. Before the alarm goes off a second time, I receive a link to a BBC story about how a BBC interview with a Korea specialist was interrupted because the interviewee's kids walked into the interview room.

I've clearly got nothing better than do (except, perhaps, to actually get myself out of bed), so I click on the link and watch the video in bed. And, I don't know about you, but it horrified me in a very strange way.

Today I had meetings back-to-back and then was hounded by my impending doom/deadline, so I haven't had a chance to read/see what others have said about the video clip. But, to me there are just so many things wrong that happen in the clip.

So, you're an academic and have spent years writing and teaching about a certain topic. Then the country that happens to be your research site has a political scandal, and you're tapped by the BBC for an interview on the topic. (I'm not sure if this is the case for our BBC interviewee, but I speculate.) Hey, if that happened to me, I'd just figured I'd made it and drop the mike right then and there.

But gosh darn it, your kids have to walk into the room and screw it all up.

But, but. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't try to push the kid out of sight, skillfully looking only at my computer screen, which captures both my BBC interviewer's image and my own (and my room that also now includes my child/children). I'm also pretty sure I wouldn't be sitting in a room that had books laid out in strategic locations, because my books like to live very crampedly in my actual bookshelves, where I believe books belong.

I'm pretty sure that if my kid walked into the room, I would give myself an immediate face palm, laugh bitterly, apologize to the BBC interviewer, and, seething, ask my five-year-old to go back to the kitchen and continue to color her freakin' coloring book, as I had instructed her to do about seven times that morning at breakfast.

I'm pretty sure that if my partner frantically burst into the room, crawling on all fours to collect our little tykes, I'd at least thank her (albeit ironically) for handling the situation for me. As in, I would at least acknowledge her existence.

I think. I'm pretty sure.

And you know what? If I were being interviewed by the BBC and my kid walked into the room and I shoved the kid to get her out of my built-in FaceTime's sight, I would probably get called a bad mother. A horrible mother. An inhuman(e) mother. And I'd also probably get called a bad academic, because I'm not professional enough and I can't get my shit (i.e., my family/kids) together.

I wonder what others have said about the clip so far. I imagine there are others who feel similarly. I imagine I'm not the only one who doesn't find humor in that clip. It's just too bad I don't have time this weekend to be reading up on this here trending topic.


This Politicized Life

While I was at my parents' for the break my niece showed me her new Beanie Baby, which reminded me that, hey, I have a Beanie Baby too! Of course I'd taken the tag off (like I always do—I can't stand wrappings and boxes between me and the material object), which means it has no resale value... though I suppose I wasn't going to resell my little Seaweed guy anyway.

I'd been meaning to write about said otter because this Beanie Baby question—the tags, the BB craze a few decades ago, my niece's yearning for a real dog, rediscovering objects from my childhood, etc.—managed to stay in the back of my mind since the holidays (and one of my New Year's resolutions has been to make time for low-stakes writing on the blog). But then with the combination of the start of the semester and the political happenings in the country, I was kind of like: screw it, I don't have time to be writing about no freakin' otter.

Sorry, Seaweed. I love you, even if I haven't politicized you...


Happy New Year 2017! / あけおめでござる。

Happy new year!—to those of you whose new year begins on January 1. I hope everyone's coming year is full of all sorts of joy and happiness.


For year 2017 I've made all sorts of interesting resolutions. For the first time in, like, 20 years, I'm not resolving to stop swearing (or even swear less). I've found that I just can't fucking do it, and besides, swear words are mere social constructions...


In Japan we have what's called a hatsuyume—or, the first dream of the year. It's typically the dream we have on the night of the 1st or the 2nd. Our hatsuyume is supposed to be a form of fortune-telling—if it's a good dream we savor it, and if it's a bad dream we find ways to dispel the bad fortune. For me, my hatsuyume was born out of all the planning I'd done a few days prior to make sure I'd be able to achieve several different goals during the year 2017.








After the Election

I think I'm ready to talk about the election now. Or, rather, about what will happen now that the election has ended, and ended the way it did. Or, rather, about what is happening, or what has been happening, since the primaries months and months ago.

But before that, I'm going to talk about my students. At the end of October, a couple of weeks before the election, my students from the Anime Club hosted a maid café. I'd never been to a maid café, even while I was living in Japan, so I was a bit tickled to be losing my maid café virginity here in California.

This maid café was a lot of fun, and very, very souped up. And get this—the students gave me an Attack on Titan scarf!! OK, supposedly I won it in a raffle, because paying for your entrance got you a raffle ticket (or two, I have no idea). But the raffle was rigged, I tell you—RIGGED!!! In fact, it was very Japanese of them to make it so that the club advisor won the raffle on the first go... kind of embarrassing, but very cute.


Cooking School / 料理教室

We've been watching Food Network's Worst Cooks in America on Netflix, and I'm starting to think that I should take my lack of cooking skills more seriously. With all the cookbooks in my house, I must be able to find explanations of basic cooking skills—cutting, boiling, baking, braising.

But what is so appealing about Worst Cooks is the presence of Chefs Anne and Bobby (at least in the seasons we've been watching)—entertaining people who are also really great chefs. The show gives me hope that, even for someone like me, a teacher may actually do the trick of teaching me to cook properly.


AAA #2: More Thoughts for the Application Stage of the Academic Job Search

It's...been over two months since I last wrote a post?! Well, I suppose I can pretend like I'd been actually "working" that whole time...

As we get closer to the early-ish deadlines for humanities jobs, I realized that I hadn't written about two specific documents that are (often) a part of the application packet submitted for job calls: the cover letter and the teaching statement.

These are, as always, my personal opinions—so do disregard what seems inappropriate for you or the jobs for which you are applying. I'll have more thoughts later about phone interviews and campus visits—which you will be offered if you do your due diligence, present yourself as fitting the position, and also have a heavy sprinkle of luck!