Things I want but can’t have until my children are older

To catch up in Big Bang Theory.

A full night’s sleep including sleeping in.  For a week or more!  (Two year molars, I shake my tiny fist at you.  COME IN FASTER.)

Expensive pretty breakable china.  Or at least moreso than Corelle.

Freshly painted walls that stay that way.

Clean carpets (that stay that way).

Unscuffed furniture.  Actually, scratch that one [see what I did there?].  We will still have cats.

Is there anything you can’t have until later, and why?

Egregious Shoe Post

Either an egregious post, or else a post about egregious boots.  Dedicated to our good friend, CPP.

I went looking for boots.  I wanted a chunky heel.  It turns out there is a very fine line between “chunky heel” and “cowboy boots”.  I wanted at least mid-calf but preferably knee-high, in leather or suede, and not boring.  No wedges, no stilettos, no flats.  Not your standard boots that I could get anywhere, but something with a little flair.  Beautiful colors a plus; not black unless really rockin’.

It turns out that these boots really do exist:

Gears... !


Here are some nice boots, probably my favorite on this page:

Also some other ones:

I like the heel on these:

Check these beauties out:

But I feel like these are trying too hard (though they look ok in black):

Look at the sweet sweet color on these:

It turns out I didn’t get any of these, but I got another pair that is insanely great.  I won’t show you though, because they are a little bit distinctive and I am sort of anonymous on here.

Don’t you like boots?


How much do I love steampunk

This month is my steampunk challenge!

“How much do you love steampunk?” you ask.  (Apparently enough to spend waaayyy too much time looking at pictures on the internet instead of finishing this post.)

Here. Let me show you.  Join me on a journey as I figure out what I like…

The comics!

The Graphic Novel! (Yes, there are others, but this online comic is the progenitor of them all…)

Lab Specs from Girl Genius. I covet them.


This is pretty cool, for a world in which I start to go for hot style wholeheartedly in public.

See that little link over on the left sidebar at the bottom?  The one that says steampunk?  Click it!

Oh, there are books.  So many books.  A giant favorite here at the blog is The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger (also sometimes called “mannerpunk”, which I love infinitely).

(We have squeed about it before. More on books coming up soon!) (for more on books, check out Books tagged Steampunk on LibraryThing)

Cherie Priest is queen of the steampunks.  I love her jewel-tones.  (No offense to Gail Carriger!)

The cakes! Sunday Sweets!

One thing that I kinda like is the culture of making-your-own, in other words, hacking your clothing.  io9 posits that the reason we, as a culture, embrace steampunk right now is because of a longing for machines that don’t suck. I plan to get the book they talk about there, once it comes out. In other news, it appears to have been Jess Nevins who said,”Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown.”

The trouble with corsetry is that it requires custom fitting & construction… otherwise, I would have some.  THIS CORSET on Etsy IS HOTT but sadly not my size.

The lack of real leather is what keeps me from loving the boots at Clockwork Couture, though I like some of their styles.  *ponder*  I am working my way towards my own personal steampunk aesthetic here, deciding what I like.

I kinda want some steampunky octopus jewelry, but I’m not sure what.
Owls: also good.  Ravens: maybe overdone.  Crocodiles: no.

NO NO NO to Angelina Jolie in Sky Captain.  Also no gas masks.  Top hats: very yes.

Funky old keys, gears: yes.  Feathers, fur: generally no.

Silk, cotton, leather: yes.  Pinstripes: good.  Trying to look like a fairy: bad.

Long coats: cool.  Edwardian rings: definitely so very yes.  (no pearls or art-deco-y stuff:  I’m talking filigree and micropavé [on the sides, too], delicate and nothing sticking out unconnected and not with the stone sticking waaayyy above the band [I would prefer the stone more integrated into the band, not just stuck on the top], probably a halo style, white metal of some sort, and a deep, dark red ruby which could be either perfectly round or that square-thing, whatever that’s called.  Cushion, maybe.  *Not* emerald-cut.  Maybe oval if it was cool.  Delicacy is key because I have small hands.  Oh dear!!!)

Steampunk Princess Leia costume: No.  (well ok, maybe.)

Have I inspired?

Things we want (or want to think about) after tenure

So we have a lot of things we want, but we can’t really think about now so we say, hey, maybe after tenure.   Some stuff, like buying a house or renovating the kitchen aren’t going to be worthwhile if we find out we’ll have to move (which we would have to do without tenure).  Some stuff we’d like a little more academic freedom to not stress over (like not inflating grades, or telling obnoxious students to buzz off…).   Some things are just going to take more time than the tenure clock allows, like top journal pubs (not that we haven’t tried!  but we’re getting too close to really take those risks on new things that might not pan out right now).

Anyway, here’s our list:

  • an entirely new kitchen
  • a raise
  • developing an online course
  • a vacation that doesn’t correspond with a conference
  • a top tier journal publication
  • lower tier journal publications that are just fun even if not actually important from a theoretical or practical standpoint
  • a raise
  • a sabbatical
  • another cat
  • a house
  • boots
  • freedom to tell students to step off
  • fair grading
  • more time with partner
  • publishing fiction?  at least writing more of it
  • hair dyed a cool color
  • a different research culture
  • a wider driveway
  • a raise
  • the ability to wear something other than suits to teach in
  • figure out whether to do laser or electrolysis and do it

Are we foolish or savvy for waiting on these things?  Do you think we’ll get to them after tenure?

Academics and former academics:  What are your tenure goals if you’re one of us and if you have tenure, did anything come to fruition?

A totally shallow post about consumerism and pettiness

Well, I did warn you in the title.

Readers, my mother is visiting.  For 10 days.  I love my mother a lot (the one with the silly IM conversations).  Within 6 hours of her arrival I was annoyed at her.  My own fault, really.

It’s cold and it’s winter and that makes me crave fancy beds that would, psychologically, help keep me warm.  Like, an old-fashioned bed 4-poster with heavy curtains to keep in the heat.  Or this, I WANT THIS BED:

Cognac (color), with footboard. Cozy!

(of course, we’ll need some hefty donations to make this work… oh well.  Any beneficent blog reader donors out there?)

I don’t even need the $14000 version!  In fact, I think I like the $3k version better.

I would also like these beautiful flower hair thingies. (ETA: the Etsy listing went poof. Perhaps someone bought them. How about this instead?)

My mother makes me want to whine in ways that I realize are irrational.  Fortunately for sanity, she goes to bed very early.  Also, she thinks that sitting around reading books is a great vacation.  Hooray!  A trip to the used book store is planned.

Must.  Breathe.  And drown sorrows in food!  Happy season of overconsumption, all.

Would you like to win a book?

Sometimes I come across random contests on other people’s blogs where one can enter to win books.

Example: this one at The Daily Monocle for The Hunger Games.

Would it be cool or annoying if I posted these here on a regular basis?  Do our readers want to enter contests?  What if we did a contest here?

Mmmmm, books.

#2 here:  Donna Freedman also does give aways, but I think her blog is popular because she’s awesome, not because she gives stuff away.  :)

Fantasy Vacation

A while back, the two of us on this blog had planned out a comprehensive European vacation involving Italy, staying at Lake Como with day trips to Milan.  We would come in via Spain (for the art museums) and leave via Vienna (I think this is what we decided; it could have been a couple of cities in Germany, but it was around there).

But now I really, really, REALLY want to go to Wales.  I recently discovered that a friend from college, who is now teaching in Wales, actually lives within driving distance of Hay-on-Wye, which I think would be an excellent honeymoon spot.

I wonder how far in advance you have to book (haha) accommodations for the annual book festival at the beginning of June? Or perhaps I should keep to the off-season to avoid 80,000 other visitors?

If I ever get a sabbatical, ha ha, I want to spend time writing at St. Deiniol’s, a residential library.  Yes.  You live there.  In the library.  DO WANT! Although the library doesn’t specialize in my subject area, it would be a great place to write a lot, and read, reflect, rest, nap, and rejuvenate.

photo from the Guardian by Christopher Thomond

And while I’m over there, oh, I would like to see Cardiff, possibly also Glasgow and Edinburgh. I could just progress northward; these things are all pretty much in a line.

Captain Jack in front of Wales Millenium Centre

John Barrowman is actually a Glaswegian, but has a house near Cardiff

I could fly into Cardiff, hang out, then stay in Hay-on-Wye a little bit, then drive just a few hours to St. Deiniol’s. Stay there a few weeks, maybe. Thence a slightly longer ride to Glasgow, hang out, and fly home from Edinburgh, which I hear is also nice. See, that’s such a good plan! Now all I need is thousands of dollars (though the rates at the library aren’t too bad, and also include dinner & breakfast!) and maybe a month or two of free time.  I’m sure I could find many simply smashing things to do in those places.  Hmmmm…

Do you dream of travel?  Have you been any of these places?  Where would you want to go?

ETA:  #2 says… we did?  I thought my fantasy vacation was just, “An eating tour of Italy.  Oh, and we can stop in Spain and eat there too– I’ve eaten good food in Spain, and I’d like to see the Alhambra again.”  I might have wanted to do the art museums at that time, but I finally did get to see the Prado.  (I LOVE CONFERENCES.  Don’t think I actually get to go to exotic locals for vacation… If only I had a bigger bursary…)  I don’t remember Germany being on the list.  German food is ok, but I’m not sure you have to go to Germany unless you’re really into beer.  Of course, Germany may be preferable to Wisconsin in other ways…  And I wouldn’t mind getting another street waffle in Luxemborg.  I will remember that experience for the rest of my life.  Bliss.

My two main joys in life are eating and reading novels.  Vacation should include both!  Preferably someplace with nice weather.

What do you think is most important in a vacation?

Octopus is the new black

The wonderful octopus might be my new favorite animal-of-the-moment.  According to podcast The Naked Scientists, octopodes may have a sense of humor.  One of them took a not-fresh-enough shrimp and stuffed it down a drain, while keeping eye contact with the keeper the whole time!

The Indonesian mimic octopus is absolutely stunning.

If you can find the issue of Smithsonian with the pictures, you should track it down. Apparently, octopi are also the first invertebrates known to use tools.

This is why an octopus is more awesome than your mom. The site points out that “octopuses, octopi, and octopodes are all acceptable ways to pluralize octopus.”

They make great jewelry, too. (Anyone who would like to send me one of these, let me know. Sadly, these don’t come in my size, and probably this one isn’t my size either. This is kind of cool but kind of ostentatious. Fans of the blog may also feel free to send me this (not an octopus).)

There’s Paul, the Psychic Octopus, who picked the World Cup winners.

Paul picking Germany

Paul picking Germany

There’s the octopus who baffled keepers by climbing out of its tank at night, slithering over to the food tank, and eating as many crustaceans as it wanted — ending up back in its own tank, the food source mysteriously depleted, when the keepers came in for the day.

There’s the weirdly cute Dumbo Octopus:

They are unequivocally smart. And often, very beautiful as well:

blue-ringed octopus

As anyone who has watched Octopussy probably remembers, they can also be deadly. What’s not to love?

Things I want to buy

1. All the books and music on my amazon wish list

2.  A new mattress

3.  A gas grill

4.  A piano

5.  Lots and lots of fruit trees

6.  A gas stovetop

7.  A new kitchen

8.  A xeriscaped lawn

9.  A driveway that fits 2 cars

10.  Time

Whaddya think?

I’m thinking 2, 3, and 4 are going to happen this year, and maybe 5… but we’ll see. #9 is really just a pipedream— a gas line will probably keep it from becoming reality. And 7 and 8 are definitely post-tenure.