Make way for one doozy of a list. This one: "All things that may or may not be sucking the life out of me." 1.) It's almost Monday, and being the lousy blog-contest host that I am, I cannot yet announce the winners. Jana had a bunch of gigs in a row this weekend, and I spent my weekend being incredibly productive on my home front and considerably less productive on my academic front. Fear not, though, for all entries have been read, and now we must convene and make our decision. In the meantime, if you missed your chance the first time around, go sneak in and enter, I'll turn a blind eye while you do so.

2.) I'm officially half-way through my semester. The second half is going to plunge ahead at approximately twice the speed this first half has, and I'm a little terrified. I realized recently that I've been about as useful a grad student as one of those squirrels I always see running along telephone wires that cross a street; I'm very capable of being awesome, but I just haven't quite gotten my shit together enough to realize that running across a wire that's suspended twenty feet above solid concrete (and the occasional motor vehicle) isn't exactly the best way to get from one place to the next.

3.) In addition to a number of other new goals and resolutions, I'm going to make it a point, from now on, to go to bed at the same time every night. I spend too many nights awake until different hours, to the point that my Circadian rhythm is more like that of a snail's on alternate doses of speed and Valium. The second half of this little goal is to also get up at the same time every day, in the hopes that I can establish a routine other than "half-dead zombie."

4.) My place is finally shaping up into something I am happy to arrive home to. I got some new shelves over the weekend, and assembled them. With the addition of those, plus the coffee table, I have finally been able to remove everything that was once occupying the floor in scattered and disorganized piles and organize them neatly on the shelves. Suddenly, this newfound sense of organization and orderliness makes me feel good, and I think will serve me well in my quest to become a better grad student.

5.) What isn't helping me at the moment is that it's still ridiculously warm right now. I don't mind this, save for the fact that certain insect critters have not gone into their natural phase of going the fuck away for the fall and winter. I'm speaking, of course, of the crickets that are so fond of LA. They're also quite fond of my humble abode, and every day one or two of them decides to pay me a visit. Never mind that I've sprayed the place myself, twice over in some parts. Granted, seeing only one or two crickets is a huge improvement over the plethora of crickets I had seen when I first moved in here, so at least in that sense I can smile benignly and say "Oh, aren't you cute. Some cultures consider you lucky. Am I lucky?" To which they'll reply, "Totally." And then they'll start cackling deviously as they chatter on to each other, and next thing I know, the phantom cricket in the kitchen cupboard hears them and decides to rub his legs together for the next two hours nonstop, and then take only a ten minute intermission before resuming his show. And the longer he goes at it, the more he rubs his damn legs and the louder he gets, and then it's suddenly echoing throughout the kitchen and bouncing off the walls and then IT'S DRIVING ME INSANE AND I WANT NOTHING MORE THAN TO JUST FIND THE LITTLE BOOGER AND SCOOP HIM AND UP AND CHUCK HIM 3.5 MILES TO THE NORTHWEST IN THE HOPES THAT HE LANDS AT MY FORMER PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND HE CAN GRACE MY BITCH EX-ROOMMATE WITH HIS PRESENCE. Fuck.

And as they say in that one famous quote I'm too exhausted to remember or even try to look up, "That's all, she wrote."