August 2011

I know, gasp!  Two posts in less than 24 hours!  I must be procrastinating!

Well, in all seriousness, I’m not.  Shocker, right?  I’m actually taking breaks between intense writing sessions, and I know that taking a nap would lead to me falling 100% asleep for 6-8 hours.

I’ve been tracking my progress through a series of status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter.  Twitter is better for this sort of thing, as [insert number here] only takes a handful of characters.  My word count over the past 36 hours has skyrocketed from about 9,500 to the current 12, 281, and I really don’t feel like updating my friends on every single step of my dissertation.  My followers and follow-ees (???) are mostly graduate students and other medieval institutions, so I feel like I can vent to the Twitterverse more readily as most of my “circle” are very familiar with the pain of things like #writeordie and #dissertation #roughdraft #writing.  I’ve pulled some insane all-nighters when writing up, but this time it’s painful.  Or, as my friend @NiFhuada has put it (in person!  Hooray for actual socializing once in a while!), “We’re in hell right now.”  Succinct.  Concise.  Brutally honest.  TRUE.

Anyway, in my writing up endeavors, seeing the Tumblr, WordPress, and linked-up posts has gotten me through.  There are people out there who have survived this and are voluntarily going through at least a second degree’s worth of “hell.”  (I must remember this, as I, too, will be joining them during my PhD at York in October…)  I thought I would share some of the more clever Twitter usernames (with the real or assumed-real names and taglines beside them) I’ve found in my quest for social media support.

  • @JediPhD, Jedi In Training, Chronicling the uncanny similarities between Star Wars and doctoral studies.
  • @GradnessMadness, Gradness Madness, A blog about staying sane in graduate school! Check it out at  (A blog which is wonderful.  Spot-on short posts and pictures.  Ohsogood.)
  • @thesiswhisperer, Dr Inger Mewburn, Research Fellow @RMIT University. Does research on research ( yes – really), writes for and edits the Thesis Whisperer blog and thinks about stuff.  (The article “How to Write 1,000 Words a Day and Not Go Batshit Crazy” has been my day-to-day Bible and is ohsogood.)
  • @WorstProfEver, Amanda Krauss, Taught. Published. Ran.
  • @ImAGradStudent, Grad Student, I’m a grad student! =(  (Clever due to its obvious nature and reference to The Simpsons.  If you aren’t familiar, watch the clip here.)
  • @ProfSnarky, Professor Snarky, Professor dispensing advice, tough love, and sarcasm from the other side of the podium to my wonderful college students.
  • @grumpyhistorian, Grumpy Historian, Most historians are grumpy.
  • @Mythosopher, Nick Harper, 2L @IowaLawSchool, Ancient Mythology & Cultures Enthusiast, @Gustavus Grad, Casual Philosopher. Tweets my own opinion only.  (Also a close college friend.  His Twitter username was inspired by his poli sci thesis which touched on his love of classical mythology.  Clever boy…)
  • @literarychica, Liana Silva, Dissertator, first-time parent, Managing Editor @soundingoutblog & Writing Specialist. One day I’ll write for The New Yorker. Meanwhile, I play with hashtags.  (Outstanding also for her combined interests of Latino American culture and literature and pure wit.)

Now I’ll go back to my 12-hours-plus #writeordie session and add to that 12,281 words of my #gradschool #dissertation #roughdraft.


“Our work is never over.”  Was Daft Punk formed during a master’s program?

Work it.
Make it.
Do it.
Makes us
More than
Work is

Work it harder, make it better,
Do it faster, makes us stronger.
More than ever hour after
Our work is never over.


Works cited: Gradness Madness

P.S.  I follow Gradness Madness on Twitter.  You can find the Gradness Madness Tumblr page here.  It’s awesome.

You’ve probably deduced from my periodic postings of awesome and inspirational pictures that I love art.  Photography, painting, sculpture, dance, theater, instrumental, film, fashion…  If it’s art (and is pleasing to look at in purpose–no Red Square or bodily fluids, here, guys, or found art, DuChamp), then chances are I’m a fan.  I know that according to philosophers of art I’m suppose to acquiesce to the artist and believe it’s art if it was intended to be art, but I believe that for me to consider it art, I must like to watch/listen/experience it.  That’s what I believed as a kid and what I believe in now.

Anyway, these works of art may not be Botticelli-like in their beauty, but they make me smile.  They are clever and fun, and while writing a dissertation that’s all I’m looking for, really.  No hidden agenda or meaning.  Yes.  Simple works right now, folks.

I found these on imgfave, and you can view all twelve famous deconstructed fairy tales here.

Robin Hood

Works Cited: Note: Not historically accurate, but way cuter!

The Frog Prince

Works Cited: This reminds me of "Fractured Fairy Tales" from "Rocky and Bullwinkle." Not familiar with that? Get thee to YouTube!

Snow White

Works Cited: I'm personally a fan of the deer and the mushroom. Do you think this one gave Snow White that dazed and confused expression?

This is a post for my friend, Hannah, an amazingly gifted artist.  I happen to have several pieces of her art (sketches, a photo, a painting), and her whimsical and beautiful works are some of my favorites.  See her art here (I own To Every Corner!) and her personal blog here.

This picture reminded me of her, so I’m posting it for easy viewing.  Hannah, cheers to you, the one who colored pictures in college at kindergarten day with crazy stripes and spots and who truly thinks outside the box.  xx

From deviantART's JellyVampire, "Like an Artist"

This is going to be a short post, completely composed from a stream of consciousness, as my dissertation due date is looming in the not-so-distant future.  I’m trying (sometimes successfully!) to limit my time on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, and definitely on such correspondence applications such as Facebook Chat, AIM, and Skype.  I totally get sucked in, and I apologize to those who look for me there.

I’ve learned through trial and error several things about myself when I’m working.

Not even close to the number of books on my desk...

  • Don’t use the Mac.  This seems counterintuitive, but my Mac is fast.  Yep, I’m complaining about my computer being too fast while I’m working.  Why?  Well, because websites load faster.  That one minute break to check email leads to a click here, a click there, and then I’ve spent an hour of productivity click-click-clickity-clicking.  I use my HP netbook instead, which is functional, but moves at a comparatively glacial pace.  Websites like YouTube and StumbleUpon aren’t nearly as fun.
  • Work out of my room.  Yes, this means walking up one of the painful Durham hills carrying lots and lots of books, but I need that time out of my comfortable college accommodation.  Plus, since college decided that a folding chair was a suitable replacement for my desk chair, in actuality the library is more comfortable…  And there are fewer distractions about when the purpose for a library is study.
  • Wake up early, no matter what.  Yes, as a night owl I feel like the veil of sleep doesn’t lift until mid-afternoon, but really I get so much more done when I get up at 7-8 each morning.  If I’m at work by 9, then I can work all day and actually do something at night.  I woke up three mornings in a row before 5 AM about two weeks ago while on holiday, so I bloody well can get up at 8!
  • Caffeine and music make Sarah a not-so-dull girl.  I’ve never had so much Diet Coke, coffee, and tea before in my life, and I’m convinced that a tenner for an entire movie soundtrack has to be an incorrect price on iTunes.  I mean, really, who won’t be enthused by listening to the Game of Thrones main title or “He’s a Pirate” from Pirates of the Caribbean?  Currently my favorite?  “An Historic Love” from the Tudors, season one.

Just a quick update on life: I’m going to York in October for my PhD position in English/the CMS (Centre for Medieval Studies).  My dissertation is on hospitality and the guest-host relationship in Middle English Gawain romances.  My dissertation is 12-15,000 words (or roughly 45-60 A4 pages).  I registered for Pottermore on the third day and am currently awaiting my welcome email.  I went to Yellowstone National Park for two weeks in early July, and rejoiced in wearing bug spray, pigtails, and hiking boots everyday.

With that, more Diet Coke.