Aug. 3rd, 2012

eurydicebound: (Default)
So... picking up where we left off, Setia snuck out and met with an unknown guy at the fountain in the garden. They started things off with intrigue challenges, determining which one of them would approach first. The guy was revealed to be Darian, who declared himself charmed and interested in Setia -- not that he wasn't going to marry Gineva, as he was willing and able to do that, but there wasn't any reason for him not to have a lover on the side. He suggested that he could arrange for Setia to move to his household. She claimed to be tempted, but didn't accept outright. There was smooching, though, when he asked, "do you yield, lady?"

Gineva, on the other hand, had an audience with Darian's father, Royce. He drunkenly asked her questions about her interest in Darian, her ambition for her family, and whether or not she had good birthing hips. She put up with it, but she wasn't thrilled with the end result -- and the fact that Darian had vanished from the scene did not make her happy. Ser Talon saw his opening and rushed to comfort her, wondering if he could find a way to bring her around to marrying him.

Se was drunkenly tossing darts when Gineva broke away and pulled him out, asking where Darian was... and for that matter where Ducaleon was. They went off in search of their brother and possibly their parents as well.

Riordan walked Rhenya back to her room, to be dealt with tomorrow. Lady Siobhan gave her word that the family would do what they could to assist her. She had Ducaleon stay behind, however, and explained exactly what threat Rheyna posed to the family -- to Gineva's match, to the family's honor and fortunes, and to Dorne as a whole. Riordan saved a child -- or at least didn't deny doing so. If that child was Elia's or could be said to be without contradiction, they would support her claim, and thus would a new rebellion begin. Siobhan made sure Ducaleon knew that she did not and would not hold him responsible for any role he might have in bringing her here -- or in making her go away.

Meanwhile, after Lord Riordan leaves Rheyna in her room, Oberyn comes in and reveals that he eavesdropped on the conversation in his mother's room. She flatters him, trying to draw him onto her side, and exacts an oath that he will not reveal who she is, seeking his loyalty. He feels duly flattered and crushes on her, a reaction she encourages, and sends him on his way with a little flirtation, leaving him practically glowing -- until he runs into his whole family. Unused to seeing the glowering, emo teenager in such a good mood, Se immediately guesses that Oberyn has been with a girl. Oberyn agrees, a bit too readily, and so he and the other siblings being sort of ganging up on him to try and find out what he's been up to. Intrigue challenges followed, finally wearing him down until he revealed that Rheyna liked him (still not telling who she was). Ducaleon reveals to Se that at least Rheyna is not their half-sister as Se had believed.

While they're all talking, however, they hear screams coming from the direction of Rheyna's room. They all run along, stopping in their rooms along the way to pick up their weapons. Upon arrival, they're shot at by someone hiding in the shadows by the stairway at the end, Ser Talon takes the hit, but recovers while Se skewers the unfortunate assassin. They go on to break into her room to find Rheyna fighting off three assassins, barely holding them off. A melee ensues... Se kills one more, Gineva kills another, and Ser Talon fights off the third in melee.

They turn to Rheyna, trying to make sense of what happened, and she breathlessly moves to Ducaleon, who offers an arm to her... and then with his other hand slips one of the assassin's daggers between her ribs, his mother's words echoing in his head.

And with that cliffhanger, the season ends.
eurydicebound: (bleed words)
I've been meaning to post on this for a while now. Now, as I'm going to be starting my PhD... well, it seems a good time to do it before I move forward.

I was really clueless about my Masters program -- what I was doing, what I wanted to do... I feel like I sort of blundered my way through it. I was frankly absurdly lucky to get into CWRU in the first place. It shouldn't have been possible. I didn't get into it thinking about what I'd do if I didn't want to get a doctorate, or what my actual odds of finding work were... I just sort of went into it with a sort of blind faith that I'd get where I wanted to be, without really thinking about what would go into getting that degree. Some of that is inevitable, I suppose -- every commitment is made without being able to see really what one is getting into. Some of it was due to the sheer range of changes I've undergone in the past two years. Changing city, changing school, changing relationship status, changing family arrangement -- the words look simple on the page, but they are anything but. The repercussions of them continue still.

The past two years have pushed me far beyond what I thought I could do, and pointed out to me certain areas in which I have definite deficiencies. Time management is not in my skillset -- I've developed some tools to deal with it, but in part all this has done is point out the edges of my blind spots more distinctly, not made me any less blind in dealing with them. My executive functions are weak, and I'm having to put work into making them better. Whether or not it's paying off I can't really say, but I think there's some improvement in asking for help and devising strategies, if nothing else. Knowing where I'll likely fall down in handling something somewhat reduces the odds of it happening with any real severity at least.

The downside of all of it is that I've become more and more aware of my own Aspie symptoms. I would like to get it diagnosed, but my insurance (while covering the diagnosis) will not then cover any treatments that might apply to the condition. Since headaches and some stomach issues and other things are often comorbid with/arguably a symptom of the condition... well, I can't take the risk that I couldn't get treatment for them. Maybe in a couple of years I can get a diagnosis. It would make a difference in the latitude I'm allowed for my blind spots in my work place -- one of these days I'll likely move forward with it, but not now.

Things my MA has taught me:
I'm at my best when I'm at bold. Subtle arguments and actions almost never serve my purpose as well as clear statements, even though they can seem more comfortable to me at the time.
I can't be all things to all people.
I'm at my worse when I'm not interested in my subject.
I'm good at helping people communicate, and better yet, I enjoy it.
I have the skill to be a good professor.
My department is small and limited in a number of ways, but there is some very good stuff here and I'm pleased with it.
I would like to eventually teach at a university that has a graduate program in English. I don't need it to be a big university, though, at least not necessarily.
I am willing to make trade-offs in the prior realization in order to make my life work for myself and those I love. I am jealous of some of the things I hear about other programs, because I know I could do those things... but I wouldn't actually want to give up what I have for that.
I'm not an Americanist.
I have problems viewing an MA in English as anything but a stepping stone to a doctorate.
I'm kind of a generalist at heart, and it's making finding specialties hard. I sort of knew this, but it's really very true. I want to teach all the things.

When I look at CWRU in particular... well, primarily it's a sciences school. When you're in the English department at a sciences school... well, that kind of says it all. The department is good, don't get me wrong. But it doesn't have a great deal of depth in most areas, and the function of the department is not cutting edge theory and research. The function of the department is perhaps muddled even unto itself, trying to carry forward a liberal arts tradition in a school that is divided on the concept on the best of days. And yet... for all that a more cohesive department and approach might make things more successful for the department overall, being able to ask those questions and struggle with their application has made me a far more thoughtful teacher, I think. The space fostered by disagreement has given the department's students room to grow -- or at least it did for me. I don't disagree with anyone's decision to go elsewhere at the end of a couple years here, but I've really valued the chance to not have a teaching philosophy shoved down my throat and develop my own ideas.

I dunno. These two years have flown by. I've sort of come to the conclusion that the purpose of an MA (at least in my department) is to give you both a rough generalist overview of English studies AND to sort of hit the highlights of an academic career in the discipline (and the training for the beginnings). I think the latter was more successful than the former for me. I feel like they rely on the requirements to cover a broad spectrum of literature, but the requirements are neither specific nor especially deep. Granted, it's a two-year program, so I'm not sure what else could be done insofar as that goes. Not to mention that part of the function of an MA is to help people moving on to a doctorate continue to narrow their field of focus, not expand it. The one point where this falls down is the MA exam, I think, which goes back to a broad grounding in the field when the two years leading up to it are only half-devoted to that topic. I think it was much more successful in teaching research, in prepping for serious academic writing, and in teaching pedagogy and giving teaching experience. Where I think it falls down somewhat is in its attempts to teach about academia as a career, which isn't a stated goal but I think ends up being part of the experience. Treating it directly might be more helpful, but it's hard to say. Certainly, I feel that I accomplished those goals as a result of my MA studies.

I'm rambling.

Overall, I'm really glad I did my MA where I did and on what I did. For all it may lack certain perks of larger, more prestigious programs, it also allows a nuts-and-bolts intimacy with the process and the career that I think gets passed by in those same programs. I know what I want to do and the kind of place I want to do it in, and while I may still be pinning down the details... well, being able to know this much about what a PhD requires and what a career as a prof is like before beginning my PhD is about as much as one could possibly hope for. It certainly beats committing to this path and then figuring out you hate it -- something I'm grateful to CWRU for having shown me.


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