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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Other Side of Objectivity (a.k.a. when writing about manga) 
21st-Jan-2009 10:47 am
Rose
Last month, I wrote at length about how objectivity in reviews and journalism is functionally impossible and perhaps undesirable. However, there is another side to the impossibility of objectivity that I did not address at that time, and it is *drumrolls*: Other People.

I am paid to write about manga and the manga industry, and my ostensible audience is ordinary consumers, whose interests often conflict with the industry's. Yet I also have personal acquaintances in the industry. According to my thesis advisor (who did a Journalism M.A. there), the Columbia School of Journalism instructs all of its students never to enter into any sort of relationship whatsoever with the object of inquiry. No hanging out after hours; no acceptance of favors or free stuff. Thou Shalt Not Ever Take That First Step Because There Is No Going Back. Recent scandals, such as Judith Miller and The New York Times, show us just how damaging to policy and public opinion not following these guidelines can be.

The problem is that such an unyielding ban on fraternization is impossible from a pragmatic standpoint. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about the Japanese side of things. But in the U.S. the field's awfully small, and in several cases, my acquaintance with industry people predates our mutual entry into the field (a.k.a. we were friends from before)...and because I do not write about manga for the manga industry, my personal relationships with these people can lead to thorny conflicts of interest. For example, I've been called "brutal" in relation to my reviews, but the truth of the matter is that it is hard to pan a book I genuinely didn't like when I know someone involved in its production personally. I know very well that the person will be hurt when they read what I've written, and that knowledge eats at my soul. It also, I'm sorry to say, probably has some subconscious influence upon what actually gets written.

Far worse than dealing with people I like and respect, though, is dealing with those I don't. "Acquaintance" can mean friend as well as foe, and knowing people personally means that I often know things about them--about their philosophical and political beliefs--that have nothing strictly to do with manga. And do those things matter? You bet your @$$ they do! For instance, I do not, needless to say, go out of my way to support products associated with homophobic, evangelical Christians, people who insult me publicly by name on their company's blog as if it's good PR, or people who believe that impoverished black people who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina deserved it because it is their own fault they were poor in the first place. (Yes, those are real examples...names redacted because telling you who they are would constitute free publicity for the companies they are affiliated with.) We do not *ahem* get along, and my feelings for these people have a very conscious influence upon what I write; when it's left to my discretion, I choose not to write about them or their companies...and as a private consumer, I do not buy their products. Unless they were to come to me personally to ask for assistance, it will stay that way. My conscience would not be clear if I willfully helped put money into the pockets of unreconstructed bigots in corporate leadership positions or of marketing specialists who think hating on their potential readership base is good policy.

Moreover, the lives of people I knew before they were industry people continue to converge with mine. "It's a small world after all... It's a small world after all..." (You get the point.) I just opened up a certain title the other day to see the name of yet another person I know from college. I had no idea she (I went to an all-women's college, so anybody with half a brain would be able to figure out the gender of this person in question anyway) was freelancing for the industry until that moment because we had had a falling out years ago and haven't talked in ages. I won't go into specifics, but suffice it to say that she can be a petty human being who defends demonstrable lies with verve if they happen to conflict with her own opinion of herself. The older I got, the less I could tolerate that bullshit. To be honest, I don't yet know how I'm going to deal should I have to write about work that she has done. It's so much easier to be forthright about friendships.

Unfortunately, this is a thorny issue that has no readily available, easy answer. Other writers do it differently and support their actions with entirely different rationales. But as for me, I'm not going to stop talking to my friends in the name of "objectivity," and yes, I do consciously allow old grudges to enter into consideration. I suppose that being honest and forthright about all this is the first step in the right direction, and I continue to work hard to support the reader's (not the creators', not the industry's, not the advertisers') interests first and foremost where possible--while staying true to what modicum of morality and critical distance I have left to protect.

ADD: This entry develops discussion had in one of my graduate seminars last summer.
Comments 
21st-Jan-2009 06:02 pm (UTC) - Discussion (public) on Twitter:
Anonymous
MangaCast @Kethylia great post! Many anime critics in japan feel they have to write to support the industry and not readers. Not sure where I stand
MangaCast @Kethylia sorry that should have been viewers not readers... Must wake up. Need french toast
Kethylia @MangaCast Interesting. I think for critics (books, film, etc.) in the U.S. the default would be writing for viewers/readers, not industry.
Kethylia @MangaCast If given the choice btw. supporting the powerful or the less powerful, I choose the latter--which to me means viewers/readers.
21st-Jan-2009 06:14 pm (UTC) - Discussion (public) on Twitter (continued):
Anonymous
MangaCast @Kethylia I had a debate with a senior editor from Animage magazine about this last year. He said nurturing the industry was a priority
Kethylia @MangaCast Ugh. The snarky part of me wants to say, "How very Japanese!"
Kethylia @MangaCast However, the interests of the editorial press are complicated. In the U.S. it's traditional to separate editorial/publishing.
Kethylia @MangaCast Editorial worries about the press's responsibility to the readers, to knowledge, and to public discourse
Kethylia @MangaCast While publishing worries about making sure the advertisers and corporate interests are pleased.
Kethylia @MangaCast Of course the separation works better in theory than in practice.
Kethylia @MangaCast Fortunately, this is mostly academic for me; as a freelancer, I'm only directly responsible to my employer and to the readers.
21st-Jan-2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
Feel free to pan anything I've ever worked on, ever. I always want your honest opinion.

(And you have panned things I've worked on. And I loved hearing your critique, because that's how I get better.)
22nd-Jan-2009 12:11 am (UTC)
(And you have panned things I've worked on. And I loved hearing your critique, because that's how I get better.)

You're a very good writer. All of the stuff you've worked on that I've panned was basically in spite of you, not because of you.
22nd-Jan-2009 02:01 am (UTC)
I know it probably wouldn't actually have the effect of mending hurt feelings to use this explanation, but when you're talking specifically about manga reviews, generally the criticisms (at least for the most part in what I have read of your reviews) are directed at the content of the stories and not the work done to bring them to the US market (except in the case of DMP novel localizations, but I think even DMP knows they are crap...). I suppose criticizing the book is sort of an insult to the company these people work for who chose the title, or if you know this person actually likes (or even worse, was genuinely excited to be working on) the specific title you trashed it might hurt their feelings personally.

I guess it is a tricky situation, and although I can sympathize with your trouble handling and coping with personal involvement in it, I'm also rather glad I don't particularly have to deal with it myself on a professional level. We do all have to deal with the dangers of "honesty" in relation to "friendship" in our personal lives, though. Knowing when to let a friend know that they aren't as talented as they think they are ("no, you really don't need to audition for American Idol, honey") or whether or not to be the one to break the bad news or butt into a personal matter (like when their spouse is cheating) is always tricky. Feelings invariably get hurt, but the best we can do is hope to preserve the relationships that matter and do the best we can to make the right choices for ourselves. Human beings are emotional, but we are also rational (most of the time).
22nd-Jan-2009 02:14 am (UTC)
generally the criticisms (at least for the most part in what I have read of your reviews) are directed at the content of the stories and not the work done to bring them to the US market (except in the case of DMP novel localizations, but I think even DMP knows they are crap...).

That's true. But translations, adaptations, editing, lettering, layouts, and other features that are the responsibility of publishers in the U.S. are totally fair game in reviews. Common complaints involve images that are poorly reproduced or unreadable text bubbles (either cut off or receding too deep into the binding). If I don't mention any of this stuff, it's just that they're not worth talking about.

I suppose criticizing the book is sort of an insult to the company these people work for who chose the title

That actually isn't so much of a problem. Pubs choose titles for all different sorts of reasons (and sometimes they're bundled), and many of those reasons don't involve any illusions about literary quality.

if you know this person actually likes (or even worse, was genuinely excited to be working on) the specific title you trashed it might hurt their feelings personally.

This is the problem, and yes, it's happened--and then they tell me how upset they are next time they see me in person.
22nd-Jan-2009 02:35 am (UTC)
I suppose it doesn't help that you work/review in publishing, which is a creative art, if anything, and therefore filled with creative-minded people who often (blindly generalizing, forgive me) tend to be hyper-sensitive as well. When I tell another carpenter that the box he built looks like crap or that he did it wrong (which I am actually wont to do quite often at work; I'm not a particularly gentle critic myself, professionally), I'm not afraid he is going to break down crying and telling me how mean I am. He might not appreciate my criticism, but the general atmosphere of the job is not a "creative/emotional" one. I leave the dealing with the "emotional" types to the people who are talented in dealing with them (or rather, have the patience for them).

Certainly, though, it is the responsibility of publishers to put out quality products. I am somewhat appalled at what is considered publishable enough to charge money for it, and whenever I take (yet another) chance on any DMP novel I feel more than a little insulted that they just don't seem to get that they aren't getting it yet. The one thing I always prided myself on in the three years I spent as a fan fiction beta was that in order to respect your audience you have to speak to them clearly, and that there is a reason editors and proofreaders exist in professional writing. Making readers do more work translating your mistakes into understandable English is an insult to them. It's saying, "I know you're a big enough sucker that you'll spend the money on this thing even if I don't do the work to clean it up, so I'm not going to bother." Maybe they don't "mean" to say that, but that is the message they are putting out there by ignoring attention to detail that way.
22nd-Jan-2009 02:50 am (UTC)
I suppose it doesn't help that you work/review in publishing, which is a creative art, if anything, and therefore filled with creative-minded people who often (blindly generalizing, forgive me) tend to be hyper-sensitive as well.

That's why I'm glad I don't deal with the Japanese side of things. That would be a whole new storm of hurt feelings if they were reading.

You may have noticed that I also review non-manga related things on this journal. I've been doing that for years, and occasionally authors vanity-Google themselves and find me talking about them. I've had one memorable case--reaction all out of proportion to the few dozen regular readers of this LJ--where I panned a book and the author left me a loooooooong, angry comment this LJ about how I didn't understand him or his work. Never mind that if your need to explain yourself to the reader after the fact, chances are your book didn't communicate well in the first place; this sort of behavior is quite common (Anne Rice has become infamous for it). Anyway, it never makes the author look anything but bad.

whenever I take (yet another) chance on any DMP novel I feel more than a little insulted that they just don't seem to get that they aren't getting it yet.

In all fairness to DMP, the adaptations have improved TREMENDOUSLY. Everything I read after Little Darling (except for Ai no Kusabi) has been skillfully adapted into natural sounding English prose. I do have a friend who reported problems getting paid correctly and on time from them, though, so things may not still be entirely kosher behind the scenes.

Unfortunately, the quality of the licensed content itself still leaves something to be desired...but then BL in general tends to leave something to be desired.
22nd-Jan-2009 03:29 am (UTC)
Just imagine what would happen if one of the English-speaking Japanese authors of the manga you've reviewed looked up the English sites that were talking about their work and found you...
But yeah, I agree with you wholeheartedly that you've failed at the job of author if you need to defend your work (on a creative level). Readers are always free to debate with one another about what an author's "intent" is, but any author who feels he has to defend that intent to a critic has either failed at the task by default, or just proven himself to be an incredibly insecure person to begin with.

On DMP novels, I was specifically thinking of Little Darling, actually, though I suppose by now it isn't their most recent novel. I did think the S novels were handled pretty decently (I think those are the ones I've read most recently; AnK volume 4, meanwhile sits in the "I don't feel like getting to it" stack). And you're right. They've come a long way from the debacles that were the OtRFK novels.
22nd-Jan-2009 04:03 am (UTC)
Here: http://kethylia.livejournal.com/tag/review+(light+novel)
Everything higher up on the page than Little Darling was okay prose-wise. (Barring Ai no Kusabi, of course, as I said before. >_< )

Just imagine what would happen if one of the English-speaking Japanese authors of the manga you've reviewed looked up the English sites that were talking about their work and found you...

It's possible that it has already happened, but no one's ever said anything to me.


Edited at 2009-01-22 04:16 am (UTC)
22nd-Jan-2009 04:34 am (UTC)
Actually, three of the top four books on the list there are ones that have been sitting on the "I don't feel like getting to these" pile (for months, actually). I feel like I am just going to be disappointed when I finally sit down with Immoral Darkness and Gentle Cage. I think I'm past the point of being satisfied with cliche one-shot BL stories. I'm ready for something new. I have to wonder when/if that will ever happen.

I don't assume I know how book translations work or anything, but I always thought one person was in charge of the basic translation and then an editor would come in and clean it up and make it readable. I'd thought that part of the problem DMP was having with those early novels was possibly that the people being asked to translate them were also being asked to edit them and didn't do a sufficient job because it really wasn't a part of their skill-set? I don't know if that is even close to accurate. It could have just been that novels having more words meant the translators had less time to work with them and the turned-in product was unfinished, or that DMP hired inexperienced translators to save money (though I know Duane Johnson of the early OtRFK novels works in general manga translations as well), but I bet you know more about that sort of thing than me.
22nd-Jan-2009 04:45 am (UTC)
It depends upon the company; different publishers divide the labor differently (usually in annoying, creative ways designed to maximize their own profits). The gold standard is to have two translators or a translator/adaptor team (one who does a literal translation and one who makes the prose natural). Editors are separate, but I've known companies to use editors as adaptors--and if they are used in this way, they should NOT be copyediting as well (because it's hard to attain sufficient distance from your own writing), but that's how it often goes. Copyeditors are the ones who check for spelling, grammar, etc. Obviously, the more eyeballs on a book, the better the outcome.

I'm ready for something new. I have to wonder when/if that will ever happen.

What characteristics would this "new" thing have to have?
22nd-Jan-2009 05:07 am (UTC)
Interesting, thanks for the clarification there.

As for "new," I think what I mean is "not utterly predictable." When I can basically tell exactly how the entirety of the story is going to play out (not just the romance, but the plot as well) I get bored very fast. It's not that I mind spoilers. I'm actually the type of person that will open a book at the back and read the ending before I even start it, because what I want is the experience of reading the story, not anxiously awaiting finding out how it "all turns out" (I can't stand "twist" plots for that reason-- M. Night Shyamalan be damned).

I want a BL story, that when I get 10 pages into it I don't already know how the seme and uke are going to magically fall in love and live happily-ever-after (ignoring that I've probably already flipped through it to confirm my suspicions). Even with the S novels I'm reading right now, I basically know exactly how it is all going to play out in the fourth and final volume, and while I'm going to read it because I want to experience the story, I'm sort of not looking forward to it that much because I don't expect it to surprise me in any way.

I used to also think Kano Miyamoto was pretty interesting because her characters were presented in a nearly realistic way and the relationships in her stories did not necessarily turn out the way you would "expect" them to in a stereotypical BL title, but the more of her stuff I consume the more common threads I see in them and the easier it becomes for me to "guess" at what is going to happen next. "Oh," I'll say, "this guy is going to get into an accident or something and there'll be some angst for a while while the other guy doesn't know what's going on... again..."

I don't know, perhaps I am just asking for something that is impossible to expect from what is essentially a "trashy romance" genre, and doesn't really care about being too deep or meaningful or innovative. I'm not asking for Milton or Shakespeare or anything, just something that won't bore me halfway through.
22nd-Jan-2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
Well, genre fiction is, practically by definition, predictable; the pleasure isn't in being surprised but rather in knowing how it's going to end. Hearing exactly what you want to hear, in other words.

For what it's worth, whenever I get tired with manga (and that can happen for a year or two at a time), I start reading novels--especially literary fiction. If you're looking for BL-like, homoerotic stuff, there is literally boatloads out there (written by both men and women), even if you don't include the modern "gay fiction" genre. (Though you might consider gay fiction too, if you like Miyamoto Kano, who is clearly influenced by it.) BL fans tend to like The Persian Boy and Exquisite Corpse, for example. As for me...Kiss of the Spider Woman was hands down one of the best novels I've ever read.

I was working on these lists for awhile, but they're now very out of date:
http://kethylia.livejournal.com/294192.html#cutid1
23rd-Jan-2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Yeah, I suppose it's wishful thinking to hope that BL could ever provide anything particularly innovative. It's not so much that I want the ending to be surprising, but a few turns of plot to get there that I wasn't expecting would be nice.

I actually bought Forbidden Colors over a year ago and it still sits on the pile of books I haven't gotten to yet. I read so infrequently since I generally do most of my reading on my lunch hour at work (at home I'm often too tired and/or distracted) and whenever I try to bring anything that isn't manga I get funny looks, like, "what's the anime/manga geek doing with something that isn't anime or manga?" And then I have to sit there, not reading my book, defending why it is perfectly okay for me to be reading something other than a comic book. And once that's over, they want to know what it's about. With manga I can turn the book around and show them a panel without a word (if there's some fan service it usually shuts 'em up for a bit) and then get back to reading, but with a regular book it's such a hassle, because I have to stop reading. I remember I was reading a Neil Postman book (Teaching as a Subversive Activity) a couple years back, which is a challenge as it is, because the level of the language and the requisite concentration, and when they would ask me to explain it to them it would take half the lunch break to explain the arguments in the book. But geez, I've managed to go off on a tangent there.

Anyway, I put Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Persian Boy on the "check out later" list (I know I've heard of both, but never bothered to actually check 'em out before). I don't know that Exquisite Corpse would be something I'd be into.

23rd-Jan-2009 03:17 am (UTC)
I actually bought Forbidden Colors over a year ago and it still sits on the pile of books I haven't gotten to yet.

Oh God...not a good book. >_< At least in my opinion. I'm reading The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea right now, and it's much better.

And then I have to sit there, not reading my book, defending why it is perfectly okay for me to be reading something other than a comic book.

You shouldn't let them pigeonhole you! No person is only one thing or likes only one thing. Tell 'em to deal with it and buzz off. ^_~

I remember I was reading a Neil Postman book

*laughs* Good ol' Postman, now among the dearly departed. You know he founded the department at NYU I just got my degree from? ^^;;;
23rd-Jan-2009 03:53 am (UTC)
I know Forbidden Colors isn't thought of well, but it's one of those "you should read this so you can say you've read it" books. Like Paradise Lost: you don't really want to sit through the whole thing (though I do have a soft spot for epic poetry), but you do it so you can check it off the list.

I usually do tell them to deal with it and piss off (I'm far more vulgar about it), but while I'm doing that I'm not reading my book and it's irritating. ^_^

I do sort of bring it on myself, though. It's quite clear that my interests and their interests do not align in the slightest and I don't particularly make any overtures towards their endless conversations about baseball (or rather, that the superbowl is coming up, football right now). The closest I've gotten to getting them at all interested in anything I am was with Hellsing (and the odd boob shot in any particular manga I'm reading; really, sometimes I think I work with a bunch of 12 year old boys...), but even when new volumes come out (every year or two) it's only really good for a day's conversation and then it's back to me being the quiet one reading in the corner and them talking about beer and how much they hate the Yankees (God, New Englanders and their obsession with that rivalry...).

I applied to undergrad at NYU (didn't get in, though not that I would have been able to afford it if I had) and though I didn't know who Postman was at the time, I do regret that I will never have had the pleasure of meeting him before he died (in 2003, I believe, which was a year after I received my BA). I'm sure he'll be remembered for his books on public discourse (and his notorious fear of technology) more than his books on education reform, but I'm working my way through his catalogue slowly. Teaching as a Conserving Activity will be up next when I have the time and patience (his earlier books are harder to find, though).

Congratulations on your degree (this was fairly recently? *doesn't keep up well enough with f-list*).
23rd-Jan-2009 04:43 am (UTC)
*laughs* My interest in sports is zero, too. That fact even led a Communication prof. who came to lecture to one of my classes assume that I am not a "real" American (he assumed I was culturally Asian or Asian-American...wrong). Of course, he cut me off heedlessly when I tried to correct him. It was so irritating; I wrote him a letter about it.

Yeah, I think Neil Postman will be remembered primarily as a scholar of technology and society (and the media, of course, since he founded the Media Ecology program).

Congratulations on your degree (this was fairly recently?

I just finished my M.A. this December at NYU. ^_^ (Oh, and I feel you when it comes to the financial aid. NYU is notoriously stingy. Good thing I live within semi-reasonable commuting distance, or I wouldn't have been able to afford it either, even with the max in federal loans and a scholarship.)

Edited at 2009-01-23 04:44 am (UTC)
23rd-Jan-2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Well, I grew up with two older brothers, so I know about sports, would I ever actually want to carry a conversation with them about them, it's just that I simply have no interest. It must be infuriating to deal with people who "try" to be culturally aware, but end up exacerbating the problems of cultural "divides" in the first place by revealing their complete ignorance. Being that I'm pretty well "white" (though my grandparents were Italian immigrants), I don't generally have to deal with stupid assumptions based on my ethnicity.

That actually brings to memory something Neil Postman wrote about in his last book on education, The End of Education, about the difference between "cultural pluralism" as he called it (understanding our differences, but then, you know, going on about our lives together because, seriously, we're all Americans no matter where we came from, or even when we came here from there) and what he used the word "multicultural" to mean, which was basically the people who try too hard to separate each other by ethnic group, as if it were important in the grand scheme of American society to be a bunch of little cliques staring at each other from a distance as if we were all still awkward high schoolers. Postman made is sound more scholarly when he wrote it.

I ended up going to a SUNY (University at Albany, to be precise) and I wasn't ultimately disappointed with the education I received (especially with the nice housing scholarship they gave me). I can't fathom how my life would have turned out if I'd gone to NYU. I certainly wouldn't have found my way to my current career, but for you, I'm sure, the path through NYU was probably a part of a plan you already had (I had no plan when I left for undergrad), so good for you.

My sister's actually moving back home from the city now to go back to school to become a High School English teacher (I couldn't do it myself; I hated teenagers when I was one...), but until her classes start up she's going to be commuting for the last few months back to NYC from CT for work. I couldn't do that, either. I moved from one part of Hartford to another to get within 10 minutes of where I work because I couldn't stand the 25 minute commute I had. Driving to and from the city when I do it occasionally drives me nuts.
23rd-Jan-2009 06:21 am (UTC)
I can't fathom how my life would have turned out if I'd gone to NYU. I certainly wouldn't have found my way to my current career, but for you, I'm sure, the path through NYU was probably a part of a plan you already had (I had no plan when I left for undergrad), so good for you.

You think far too much (or to little, depending upon the perspective) of me. NYU was certainly not a part of any "plan" when I graduated from college. Sure I make plans, but they can go awry. This isn't the place to moan and groan about my life, but it certainly hasn't been a straight, easy line. I knew I would be accepted to NYU, and it was the best of a bunch of bad options I had, so I took it. The jury is yet out on whether it will pay itself back or not.

I moved from one part of Hartford to another to get within 10 minutes of where I work because I couldn't stand the 25 minute commute I had.

What I wouldn't give for that. *jealous*
23rd-Jan-2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
Well, when most people attend grad schools, it's usually part of some kind of plan. Unless you did it because you'd become institutionalized and couldn't bear the thought of life outside schools, not that I'm implying you're like a lifer in prison. The cost/benefit decision is, of course, an issue many many college graduates have to make, whether undergrad or graduate education. It's generally better to make that decision before starting the schooling, though, but then, if its for something you really want to do, what it costs sort of takes a backseat.

When I say I didn't have a plan I mean, like many college entrants do: I had no aspirations for any kind of career, I simply didn't want to get a job or enlist in the military (which are pretty much the three options for high school grads). If I'd chosen to attend such an expensive school as NYU, with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I can't imagine how it would have turned out. While at the time I was unhappy that I didn't get in, in retrospect it was the best thing that could have happened.

And dream big on that commuter front. Some day you may very well be able to roll out of bed at half-past the hour and be sitting in your office thirty minutes later, ready for work (not that I do that, but I could if I wanted to).
23rd-Jan-2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
If I'd chosen to attend such an expensive school as NYU, with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I can't imagine how it would have turned out.

*sighs* That's probably true. Hindsight is 20/20, as it were.

Even after college I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, and I certainly didn't know how to go about making it happen. Anyway. So yeah, I mean, NYU is part of a plan for me, just not one I had when I was in undergrad. As as a new college graduate, I didn't have it that together. ^^;;; (Actually, what I did was do a Fulbright in Korea, which was essentially like deferring long-range planning for another year...and then all sorts of unexpected things happened that sidetracked me. Ya know, like writing about manga.)

not that I do that

Suuuuuuuure you don't. ^_~
24th-Jan-2009 01:55 am (UTC)
Okay, I've done it, but I don't make a habit of getting dressed and out the door for work in under 10 minutes on a regular basis. Usually it happens when the alarm doesn't go off (or rather, when I sleep through it). I'm already half asleep on the drive to work, I don't need it to be any worse and cause an accident or something (finally gave up caffeine this winter).

When I started college I had no clue what I wanted. I figured I'd look into psychology or some other blah major or soemthing. But by the time I got through the third year I knew exactly what the next five years of my life after school were going to be like, and for the most part it has followed that path (I did have to do an extra year of internish/apprenticey stuff than I'd planned because I just happened to graduate from college the spring after 9/11 and the economy wasn't doing so well...). Of course, it all has nothing to do with the nifty anthropology degree I worked oh so hard for, and now use only to stare pretentiously at the History Channel.
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