The venerable L mag is having a short-short fiction contest. And they are letting me be on the panel of judges because I am one of their most valuable…uh, because that’s the kind of thing I like to do. Anyway, you can click on that link above for the details and enter and stuff, and know that you have at least one friend on the panel. I believe the limit is 1000 words. Please, fiction-writer types, enter and enter and enter some more and save me from the piles of pretentious drek that will undoubtedly come in.

In other news: I am currently torn between spending my summer at a well-reputed but extremely expensive German langauge school in Germany, or a not-as-fancy but much cheaper and probably quite good one instead. Keep in mind that I am passably fluent in German right now, if by "passably fluent" you mean "possessing the vocabulary and conversational prowess of a fourth-grader with a very foul mouth." So I don’t need some language genius to teach me from square one, but I do need practice and loads of it. I have been saving my sad, meager, lame wages for this so I’d appreciate some input. I guess. Actually, I don’t really care. I’ll figure something out.

Tonight I had my first thesis meeting, and for the most part it was very exciting. I got to learn about what all the other Genius McSmarties in my group are doing (this one guy Jeff has already been accepted into a PhD program even though it’s frickin’ the first week of february, that’s the kind of frightening genius I’m talking about), and for the most part I’m right on track. I can’t believe I’m actually typing this down. Who cares? Who cares about it besides me? You certainly don’t. Anyway, my point was that this one woman in my group was kind of snippy to me after I introduced myself and talked about my topic. She isn’t even in the group properly, she’s just hangin’ out with the prof because some grad students just like to do that I guess. Anyway I explained a little bit about the razing of the Prague ghetto and Kafka’s preoccupation with squalor (that’s my topic, which is going to be based on a really wonderful quote by Kafka about how the "insalubrious old ghetto" still lived within all of Prague’s Jews regardless of whether they actually remembered it), and I guess I rambled a bit–I mean I tend to do that, just look at me now–but then when I finished and I was like, "Oh I’m sorry I went on like that," and my other classmates were like "giggle giggle it’s funny ha OK I don’t care," she goes, "I WAS WONDERING WHEN YOU WOULD GET TO YOUR POINT." Keep in mind that this is on the first day. The first day! Half the people there didn’t even have topics solidified yet, much less cohesive ones already half-researched with my Very Important 3×5 Index Card Bumstead System. And it’s the first day! When you’re supposed to be nice to everyone and go, "Wow, that’s a fascinating topic! I can’t wait to work with you on it!" All right, I’d keep going on about this but all these episodes of SOUTHERN STEEL aren’t going to edit themselves. Just to say…I’m back. You know. La la. Here.

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