Thursday, December 30, 2010

Politics Over Dinner

After getting home from all the fun last night, my Mom made some popcorn and then I took a shower.  I stayed up doing a bit of writing and then went to sleep. 
I actually did alright last night sleeping-wise.  It still took me awhile to sleep, but I don't think I woke up as fully as I usually do some nights. 
When I got up this morning, I could tell there was some kind of tension.  My Mom was clearly stressed out about something.  She swore at her computer.  She left soon after that. 
One of the neighbors called.  We did them a good deed in July, and they wanted to know if they could take us out to dinner.  We've kept telling them that, really, no big deal, but they insist. 
Us going to dinner depended on my Grandma, who is still in the hospital.  My Mom called to say that they gave her some drug to make her sleep (she hasn't been sleeping either, only she'll go days without sleeping, even though she is too tired to eat most of the time.)  My Mom said she was hoping she would stay in bed without incident, and that if so, we would go. 
My Dad went out for some errands, and I decided to use this time to get myself some food.  My Dad has this tendency to be in the kitchen whenever I am, and if he's not outright telling me what to eat, he's staring at me.  It's annoying and creepy. 
The problem with getting up with my computer is that it is so cold in our house I really don't want to get up.  I'll be in two layers of pajamas and with two blankets on and still be cold.  I really don't want to give up my blankets just to get food (even though I had been up for hours and hadn't had anything to eat.)
My sister and I complain about there not being enough food in the house.  This is sort of true.  There are lots of little snack things or things you could use to make a meal, if you had the other ingredients.  It's one of the many things I hate about it here.
But today I was excited because someone got rice cakes, which I really love and haven't had in ages.  They're delicious, though simple. 
After my meal, I sat down again and did some more writing and reading.  I put on some music and tried to sing.  I'm not much of a singer.  Then my sister came down.  I felt bad because I probably woke her up.  I didn't mean to, but I didn't think she was in the house. 
Madison sent me a message saying her uncle died last night.  I feel badly for her.  It seems like a lot of people, her family included, have seen a lot of unexpected deaths lately. 
Ashley is having a party tomorrow for New Year's, so I texted her asking if I could bring a date.  I had a certain someone in mind, but I wasn't sure if he'd be interested anyway, since he already told me he made plans. 
I didn't have to wait long for a reply from Ashley- it was almost instantaneous.  She said sure and asked who the lucky guy was. 
Er.  If he came I guess he was lucky. 
I made the call.  I got his voicemail, which didn't surprise me, since he usually didn't keep his phone around him all the time.  I left him a message. 
I have a love/hate relationship with leaving messages.  On one hand, it's nice sometimes to just do that, but I'm always so afraid of making a fool of myself on these messages and saying the wrong thing or just generally sounding stupid.  No one has ever mentioned that I sound funny on these messages, but it would be just my luck that one day I do mess up and then someone has another bit of proof that I'm an idiot.
I sat down and worked on my writing.  I had a bunch of editing to do on a piece I wrote last week.  It's a short piece, but it clearly needs a lot of work.  I worked on it for a while.
My Mom called and asked me to look up a phone number for her, which I did.  Then she asks me to tell my Dad (whenever he gets home) to talk to her about this dinner we may or may not be going to.  She said we would probably go.  My Mom thinks that they are watching their budget since they offered pizza.  I suspect she may be right too. 
I was not really excited to go.  Inevitably, there will be questions about what I am doing with my life.  When I explain what I'm interested in, it'll be tough because they are from a very different set of political views.  When I found out, I was vaguely disappointed with them.  I was hoping to avoid certain specific questions. 
It was actually not too bad.  When we got there, they gave me hugs.  We had salad and pizza.  My Mom was late, as usual, coming from the hospital. 
We had a mostly nice conversation.  Gary is working a lot, which surprised my parents because they thought he would be out of a job.  Rose has a sister who is really sick and in a nursing home, though not the same nursing home where her mom is. 
They updated us on their family.  Shannon just got married.  Kelly is dating someone named Chris.  Derek is working at a pizza place nearby.  There was some stories about how we wanted to die.  We didn't really have as much to update them on. 
I mean, I guess I could tell them about what I was up to, since so many people don't have beyond a high school education when it comes to my field, most people don't really have the background to understand what I'm doing with my life.  And it's been my experience people aren't always that interested. 
Which was fine, but then my Mom had to open her mouth and tell them what I was doing.  There was a quiet moment of disapproval, but it was brief.  I'm a little ticked at my Mom because everything was going so well, and it was so unnecessary for her to open her mouth.  My Mom just can't seem to help herself.  This is why I am always so hesitant to tell her things because I absolutely hate that my life gets thrown out there like that, especially when I try to get along with people. 
I guess that other thing that I really hate about this was the tone my Mom used.  I get it; she disapproves of my political beliefs.  Fine.  I'm happy to quietly roll my eyes and not fight.  She's always picking fights with me about it, and mocking it to her friends.  I particularly hate that. 

Teena Marie

I hate to admit it, but I am not a music expert.  When I heard that Teen Marie died, I had no idea who she was. 

I like her work.  This is "Ooh la la la."  I would love to see someone do a cover of this song. 

The video for "Lovergirl."  I love the fashion that the Teena and her band are rocking.  I'd love to wear a flashy blouse like that and the guy wearing the leather pants is really rocking them. 
One of the other things I love Teena Marie for is not having a perfect body.  So many of the images of women we have are really skinny and for most women, achieving that look means being abusive of yourself.  I love that Teena Marie is proud of her imperfect body and that no one in these videos seems to hate her body.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Night of the Zoos

I have been exhausted lately, so I tried to take a power nap.  I didn't really fall asleep, but I did feel slightly better.  Then I took a shower.  I was super annoyed with myself because my complexion has been great all holiday break, and today I woke up with a pimple forming (not quite) on my forehead.  It looks super stupid, but I scrubbed it as hard and as long as I could and then put four different medications on it and then makeup. 
I had agreed to go out to dinner with Lisa and Tori (and maybe Ashley?  Ashley's so hard to pin down these days so I didn't know if she was coming.)  I was scheduling things back to back so maybe I wouldn't have time to go home to fix myself up, so I was doing the fixing before hand, before I went out with the girls. 
I'm not good at timing.  I had an extra half hour before Tori and Lisa wanted to meet, so I sat down at my laptop and tried to take care of some extra things.  I made sure my MP3 player was recharging, I caught up on some reading, I worked on some paperwork.
I noticed that it was ten minutes past when they were meant to show up.  Ashley has a tendency to be late to things, so I thought maybe they were waiting on her.  If so, Tori would already be annoyed, so I decided to wait it out.  I worked on a short piece I'm writing, trying to edit it down so it's shorter. 
Around twenty after, I got a text from Lisa.  "Where are you?"  Uh-oh. 
I texted her back that no one had said where we were going.  Last week, Tori just swung by my house and picked me up.  I had no idea where we were going until we got there, and I frankly was too busy talking to ask.  I had assumed, since no one had said anything about where it was, just had given me a time, that we were having dinner then. 
I finally got there, almost an hour late.  The place was packed.  There were tons of children around, and it vaguely reminded me of what people say when they say something is a zoo. 
I finally found both of them in the back.  They had politely waited, ordering an appetizer but not food.  They apologized. 
Tori was telling me about how she had gotten an email by a professor over how angry Tori was with this guy.  He had mispronounced her name for months, or something.  (It was hard to hear over the zoo animals.)  She had replied back that she was going to torture him in this class. 
"What are you going to do?" Lisa asked. 
"I'm going to sit in front and talk to him the entire time."
"You're going to get tired," I said.  I can't imagine talking like that in class.  When I'm in a lecture, it's all I can do to get all the information down in my notebook. 
Lisa showed me pictures of her new apartment, which is possibly the nicest looking college apartment I've ever seen.  The bed spread matches the shower curtain that matches the couch that matches the lights in the dining room.  Tori teased her for having so many stuffed animals on her bed. 
"They come off when we sleep there," she said.  I honestly don't think six stuffed animals are that many, and anyway, they're all smaller.
We headed over to the grocery store.  Tori had seen this thing about chocolate beer.  I told her how I had chocolate wine once, and it was seriously disgusting.  It took us a while, just because Lisa got herself lost and then ran into someone and then called Tori and I asking where we were. 
"We told you, we're in the booze aisle," Tori said. 
"Tell her it's the large aisle." 
We looked around for this chocolate beer, but couldn't find it.  We looked through lots of other things, and I was struck by how much I wanted to try certain things.
No luck.  After combing the area we gave up.  Tori and Lisa decided to keep looking.  Tori thought that maybe the grocery store was the wrong idea; we needed to look at an actual "booze-booze store." 
"Booze-booze?" I asked, in reference to her choice of words. 
As we were driving, I got a text from Philip, asking me to meet him.  I had agreed to meet him yesterday, before this whole dinner with Lisa and Tori thing, before the alcohol hunt began. 
"I'll drop you off," Tori said. 
When I got out of the car, I thanked her, calling her Mom.  I went inside. 
Again: a zoo.  I'd never been here and it not be a zoo, so okay. 
"Are you looking for someone?" a waitress asked. 
"Yeah, he..." I trailed off.  I was about to say his name but I was stumbling for how to describe him. 
"Is he tall, dark and handsome?"
"He...he's handsome."  I guess.  He's not that much taller than me and he's got darkness inside, but it's something he doesn't show people willingly.  He barely likes showing me. 
She pointed, and he looked up and saw me.  Okay, looking at him again, I thought, he was handsome.  He has a nice haircut, the kind I tried Chris to get for years. 
He hugged me and I sat down.  Another waitress approached us and we ordered. 
Philip told me all about what he's been up to lately.  He's working on his master's.  He is trying to find a job, and although he's interviewed for some, there haven't been any offers yet.  He said he had just broken up with a girl about a month before. 
"I'm sorry to hear that," I said. 
"Don't worry; it wasn't meant to be." 
What does that even mean?  It wasn't meant to be implies that there is a certain amount of fate involved in relationships, and I'm wary of fate as a philosophical concept.  It strikes me as intellectually lazy, like not believing in evolution or saying that someone is overanalyzing a piece of literature. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to Make a Zine

I've mentioned before how cool I think zines are.  This morning, while doing some research on zines, I came across this cool website on how to start your own.
I would love to do this, though right now I am way too busy to even get all the other stuff I want to do done.  So I guess this is just one of those projects that will have to wait.     

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Mona Lisa Code

I read the first six chapters of the Da Vinci Code years ago, and it was okay.  The debate over what happened to Mary Magadalene always struck me as silly because the evidence was so scanty either way and really, people of faith are going to adhere to their faith no matter what the historical evidence is.  (That's why it's faith.)
So today it was announced that there is a set of letters and numbers in the eyes of the Mona Lisa.  I find this really interesting though also sort of nuts, because it just seems too much like the book and the movie.  And I find myself wondering if someone else didn't paint the "code" in, just because, again, it smacks of being way too easy.   

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Miracle

We got a good call today.  One of the places where we were thinking of putting my Grandma after she gets out of the hospital called and said they would take her.  This is really good news because the other places we wanted to put her wouldn't take her and because the one other option has gotten her sick there before. 
The place comes with people to make sure my Grandma takes her medicine and people to help her with all the daily things that most people do on their own without incident.  And they have activities, which hopefully means she'll participate and make some friends.
I'm calling this our family's Christmas miracle, even though it's the day after Christmas. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Church was okay.  The choir had a lot of unity among their sections, but as a whole, not so much.  There were parts where they were just off.  I tried to control my face so people wouldn't show my disapproval. 
One of the reasons I was excited to go to midnight mass was because this would mean there wouldn't be any children.  Which of course means that they only people who did bring a toddler sat right behind my Mom and me.  After the choir finished its first song, the little girl screamed "YAY!" and it echoed.  I was getting a headache.  Great. 
The little girl continued to scream during the service.  When the priest first ascended to the altar, she started screaming about Santa.  I considered turning around and telling her that Santa doesn't come to little girls who scream in church, because I could have sworn that my Mom told me that when I was a child. 
I guess what really annoys me about the screaming little girl is that you'd have to be stupid to drag your two-year-old out to a mass that starts at midnight.  And the church has a cry-room, and tonight it was totally empty. 
The priest gave a sermon on the historical background of Jesus's birth, talking about the Roman Empire.  I found myself thinking about Machiavelli's Monarchy, which is this eccentric argument about how monarchy is God's form of government because Jesus was born at the time of Augustus.  (Oh I know: where to even begin taking an argument like that apart.  I suspect this is why I've never come across anyone who's tried.  It's such a terrible argument no one even needs to refute it.)
People think history is boring, and no one in church was really that interested in Luke and titles, even though I thought it was interesting, but I took Roman history from a secular perspective, not a Christian one.
Right as we were going through the ritual for the Eucharist, the little girl behind me finally stopped screaming, but now she was sobbing.  That it took that long was shocking to me.  I didn't turn around to shake hands with these people because I was afraid my face would be all screwed up in disgust.
My Mom felt the need to give me a commentary of what was going on in the choir.  There's a new music director, and I hate to admit I find him very attractive in a vaguely Alan Cumming sort of way.  He was using an Ipad to play music off of, which I've never seen before, but I guess that's an application I had never considered for a device like that.
After mass I was able to avoid talking to some neighbors.  My family likes them but I honestly don't like most of them, and like I said before, I'm trying to avoid people I went to school with once because of the judginess of everyone.  I'm doing okay, and I'm grateful, but to some degree, people will always find fault with you.
We went home, and I was disappointed to realize church hadn't cheered me up the way it usually does.  I suspect that this is one of those things were I like church with friends or alone, and I found myself missing Paul again.
At home, my sister and Dad were making slushies with some new device my sister got for Christmas.  (She decided to open a gift early.)  She offered to make me one, but I honestly didn't feel like one.  I spiked some egg nog with spiced rum and that was okay.
My Dad went to bed and my Mom and sister went to watch a movie.  I saw that Invader Zim and Doctor Who were both on, so I went into another room to watch those.  And then ended up watching more of my hottness on Criminal Minds.  Which was fine with me.  I watched tv and did some creative nonfiction writing. 
Finally, around 3:30 in the morning, I went to bed. 
My Mom woke me up to open presents by texting me.  (I don't know why but my family has taken to texting me even when I am in the same building.)  And then Robert texted me "Merry Christmas!" 
I went downstairs to open presents because my sister was going to see her boyfriend later in the day. 
We opened presents.  I got some books, movies and music.  My sister liked the t-shirt I bought for her.  I'm still disappointed in myself for not getting her a purse like I wanted, but maybe that was for the best, since she got two purses for Christmas as was.  My sister ironically enough also got me a t-shirt, with a big cross on it. 
I went back to bed.  I didn't really sleep much because Jennifer, Ashley and Philip all texted me Merry Christmas messages.  I was surprised to hear from Philip, but happily so.  I've really missed him lately too. 
I gave up on getting more sleep and got up.  I went downstairs and started working some more on my writing.  My Mom came in and turned on the tv to a Christmas movie of some kind I had never heard of before. 
I thought about going with my Mom to the hospital to see my Grandma.  My Mom is afraid, in addition to all are other fears about her, is afraid that maybe she's lost her Medicare.  I really hope not, but this just seems like one more problem to deal with and we already have so many problems concerning her as it is. 
I offered to go, but my Mom told me to stay home because she wanted to stay all day and didn't want to come home early because of me.  So I guessed I was staying home. 
I took some notes on some ideas for romance novels. 
I tried to get some lunch.  My sister was doing some last minute baking, and it's kind of hard to get to stuff in the kitchen when someone's working on a food project.  When she was finally done, I tried to find something to eat.  I was going to make nachos (the only thing I've been really wanting to eat lately) but the cheese was gone and my chips were all broken up into small pieces anyway.  I decided not to bother.
Which is how I ended up spending my time in front of the tv.

Socks, Jocks and Chocolates

Given this special day, I'm posting a favorite Christmas song, "White Wine in the Sun."  I love this cover; Kate Miller-Heidke is lovely.  I love the detail of "socks, jocks and chocolates." 
Merry Christmas everyone.  :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

I did go out with my friends last night, but I had trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve's Eve.  I get up at eight every day, normally, and I think my brain is still trying to get me up at that time.  In addition to that, the neighbor's got this really awful dog.  My parents refer to these dogs as yippers, and I probably don't have to tell you what it is about this dog that was waking me up twice in the early morning. 
I shouldn't make excuses as to why I was so grumpy.  I was trying really hard not to be, but I get depressed at Christmas.  Without fail.  I can't remember a Christmas after my middle childhood that didn't get me sad somehow. 
I tried to get some things done, and then my Mom and sister wanted to go to the hospital to visit my Grandma.  I wanted to go too, so I came along. 
My Mom and sister decided they needed to go to a craft store, so I got dragged along.  While we were in the parking lot, I saw someone I went to school with years ago.  I don't think he saw me, thankfully.  I don't know what he's doing, and I luckily am not half the loser some of our fellow students have become, but I hate to rely on gloating.  Even if we could argue I deserve it. 
My Mom and sister spent a long time looking at frames and posters.  I think they originally went in just to exchange something and turned into a redecorating of the bathroom.  This happens a lot when they shop and I've learned over the year to keep myself entertained.  This time I wandered around a bit, focusing on candles.  Candles are one of those things I would use if someone else bought them for me.  I am loathe to spend the money myself.  I am even more loathe to spend my time sticking my nose in a bunch of dusty jars filled with colorful wax. 
I realized as they were checking out that it was 1:30 in the afternoon and I still hadn't had anything to eat.  I tried to remember my last meal.  Madison and I had split a basket of sweet potato fries at the bar last night.  That was it.  That was my last "meal."  I eyed the rootbeer-flavored candies.  They were appealing. 
We finally got to the hospital.  My Grandma was in the room, trying to sleep.  She was awake, but she refused to open her eyes, a normal tactic she likes to use.  We tried to get her to at least talk to us.
A few weeks ago, Faith had given me one of those headbands with reindeer ears on it.  I wore it at a Christmas party, and now I put it on in the hospital.  Even though my mood was souring, I was trying not to get upset. 
When my Grandma finally opened her eyes for more than a minute, she said "What the hell is that on your head?"
That's what she's like.  On a good day. 
She then decided she didn't want to open her eyes.  Then she was moaning for us to give her water to drink.  She's recently taken to ordering us to give her water, even though she can get it herself.  She also started ordering me around to wipe her face.  We're trying to get her out of the hospital and she won't do anything to help herself, since they try to determine if she can take of herself to place her in the appropriate kind of home. 
I went to the cafeteria to try to find something to eat.  I wandered around and saw nothing I wanted.  I have had so much sugar lately just the thought made me sick. 
I went back to my Grandma's room.  They were trying again to wake her.  She wasn't cooperating.  I suggested maybe splashing a little water in her face, which my Mom did.  My sister and I tickled her toes.  This mostly didn't work. 
She has a tv in her room, and I started looking around.  I found Criminal Minds, and this cheered me up disproportionately.  I squealed.  The sound wasn't that loud, but it scared my Grandma enough that she kept her eyes open for five minutes. 
I have recently taking to calling my love, Matthew Gray Gubler, the hottness.  Obviously if you've seen him, you don't need me to explain why I call him this.  My parents have started teasing me, because they think it's ridiculous. 
I tried to watch my show.  Nate texted me, saying Merry Christmas.  I was a little surprised, since Nate is Jewish, but I considered that maybe his family did secular Christmas celebrations.  We chatted a little via text messaging.  He said that his family was having tacos for dinner, which made me laugh and made me realize they really weren't doing anything special.  (Which is fine, because really, they don't have to.) 
Because Nate is part of a particular group of friends, I started thinking about those people.  I really wished I was celebrating Christmas with one (or more) of them instead of being stuck in this hospital, trying to bring Christmas cheer to my Grandma who not only was rudely ignoring us but not even trying to take care of herself enough to get out of the hospital. 
I texted Paul.  I almost called Paul to tell him that I missed him and explain this recent episode of my life.  He puts up with a lot from me. 
But I hesitated to call.  Paul's got family too, probably lucky enough to have the unselfish kind, and interrupting their Christmas celebrations is unfair.  I texted him "Merry Christmas."  Maybe if I was lucky he'd call me?  If not it meant he was probably busy. 
In the meantime, my family was in and out of the room, taking care of things for my Grandma.  I was left in there to watch her.  A nurse came in and started measuring her vitals.  My Grandma opened her eyes long enough to insult the woman's hair, which was tied back in a ponytail with a headband.  It looked absolutely fine, but my Grandma does this all the time, and this is part of the reason we have a hard time getting her help: no one wants to do something extra for an old woman who showers abuse on people.  I berated her for saying that. 
Then someone else came in to change her diaper and she peed all over the bed while all the sheets were gone. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Power Down pt. 3

My sister and I were not planning on running errands today, but we did.  First, we went over to the post office to pick up some stamps for things I needed to send out to friends.  (I know, I've been so busy I've neglected my usual round of snail mail.) 
After that we got some groceries, which went fine, mostly.  I keep expecting to run into people when doing groceries, though I couldn't tell you why.  This time I didn't see anyone.
After we came home, my sister and I had a heart to heart.  And then the power came back on.  (It had been out for part of the day.)  I was very grateful because, in addition to getting back online to post this, it meant I could listen to Wagner. 
Meanwhile, my sister attempted to bake something, but couldn't when she discovered we don't have vegetable oil. 
I texted Dan asking him a question about something he's an expertise on.  I waited around a bit for an answer, since he usually gets back to me quickly.  I watched a bit of tv and took care of some little housekeeping things.  I had dinner, read and took a shower.  Tori texted me that she wants to hang out tomorrow, so I guess that is something to look forward to. 
I was in the process of doing some writing and editing when the power went out, but it was out long enough that I feel like I am going to have to try to do it at night.  I'm a little annoyed, since I feel like everytime I sit down to actually do my work, something else gets in my way.  I find myself wondering how anyone can be productive.

Monday, December 20, 2010

We Are All Politicians Now

There's this article discussing Jon Stewart and his recent may-or-may-not-be activism on his show.  I wrote back in July how disappointed I was in Stewart and the Daily Show's handling of Jezebel's pointed but fair questions about gender on the show.  I've been watching the show on and off ever since, but I've been increasingly disappointed in how conservative and self-serving he is or has become. (I say or because I'm uncertain if this has always been true or if I am only now aware of it.)  In the last two months or so I haven't watched the show at all, in part because I don't have access to a television but also because I've felt no desire for his show.  A couple days ago one of my friends asked me if I had been watching recently and I couldn't even say I missed the show; I generally don't think about it anymore, despite being a religious watcher for nearly ten years. 
Everything we do is political, even if not overtly.  Everything we do is influenced by politically motivated, and Stewart is the same.  This isn't to say he's different from other comedians; they too are political through the choices they make in terms of the jokes they make, how the present themselves, etc.  Stewart can protest his politician status all he wants, but we're all negotiating through politics.  Sure, a lot of work is about being critical about politics, but that is in itself critical, because he's chosen to make decisions on what his show does or doesn't cover, how it is covered, etc.   

My Parents Were Awesome

I'm not sure if I could really submit anything to this, but there's this new tumblr blog called My Parents Were Awesome.  Basically, it features pictures of cool parents back before they became parents.  I'm loving some of the fashion statements being made.     

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Conscientious Objector Josh Stieber

Found this great interview today with a young man named Josh Stieber who served in the military and then became a conscientious objector after experiencing the War in Iraq. 
It's interesting that his first hints of disappointment was within his own peer group, where lots of his friends came from the same beliefs but weren't willing to put them into practice like he did.  And I like that he talks about trying to find solutions for the problems in Iraq based on his own experience there.  
As as final note, I want to know if this man is single.  He seems like a thoughtful young man, and if there's anything I like in other people, it's when they're thoughtful. 

Saturday Night with Friends and Family

Not that long after my last post, I got really bad news: my Grandma was in the hospital again, and this time she almost died.  (They asked what her legal situation was should that happen.)  Basically, she was unresponsive.  They think they overdosed her on Vicodin, which really annoys me because it says on her charts her kidneys are terrible.  My Mom was sobbing when she found out, and mostly, I really wish we'd taken her to another hospital, because, seriously, people at that place are deficient and incompetent.  I'm increasingly more impressed with my medical skills and I didn't actually go to med school. 
After that mess, Tori called asking if I wanted to grab dinner with her and Lisa.  I said yes, so she came over while I ran around getting dressed. (I spent all afternoon in my pajamas writing.)  We went out for pizza. 
Lisa updated me on her brother's life.  He's been doing volunteer work, and then after that he's going to join up with the army again. 
Lisa also took a psychology class on women, and she realized all this great feminism stuff.  I'm a little sad for her because she's just only learning now how oppressed women are, but maybe this class will make her more thoughtful and critical about gender. 
Tori's sister is pregnant with twins!  That's really awesome.  I am so happy for her.  (Her sister has been trying for around seven years.)  Tori went shopping with her for maternity clothes and she said that there was "slutty" maternity clothes.  Learn new things all the time.
When I got home, I took a shower, and by the time I got out, my sister was back.  She and I were planning on watching Eclipse because we both love Jacob.  Neither of us has seen it yet and I seriously hate so much of that franchise, but Jacob is the light in this cave of darkness. 
She wasn't sure we could watch it right away, because she was going to get some craft supplies with Mom.  Whatever.  Maybe I'll watch a horror movie or do some more writing, I thought.  I'm just glad for a little break and some time with people. 
So I went upstairs and did find myself working on writing again.  I put on some Christmas music to get through it.  (I never voluntarily listen to Christmas music!  What's wrong with me?  Something about this year has got me in the spirit.) 
As I was writing and listening to Christmas music, my sister poked her head in my door and told me not to come down.  I assume this means something was going on that they didn't want me to see.  Given this time of year, it means that there is some present that they don't want me to see.  I actually was thinking of going down because I was hungry, but I decided to wait a little longer, give them some time for whatever was going on. 
Dan and I were texting, and he called.  We spoke briefly.  I was hoping maybe we could hang out over Christmas break, but he says he's going to see family and won't be around. 
Finally, I went downstairs, where yes, my sister was wrapping presents.  I've volunteered to do her's, even though she says she's willing to do them as well.  She made them the ones she did look really nice. 
My Mom, my sister and I sat down to watch Eclipse, which we've never seen.  My sister and I are Team Jacob and my Mom doesn't care.  We've been having trouble with our DVD player for a while now.  Basically, the screen's image will just suddenly disappear and the screen will be black, but you'll still be able to hear the audio.  Since the entire point of watching this movie was to admire Jacob's hott body, this was not what we wanted.  I would troubleshoot it a little, eventually get the picture back, but we ended up pausing the movie around two in the morning because we were all tired. 
And now I am going to go to bed.  Goodnight.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Duking it Out, British Style

Edwardian Promenade recently posted this article talking about British dukes, who are "an endangered species."  Although I am bothered by the idea of dukes because of how they represent the an unequal distribution of wealth, I find myself fascinated by the dukes without money.  Also, I find it really interesting that Churchill turned down the opportunity to become a duke.   

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bad Morning

I was kind of trying to hold off, but I sort of need to rant about how crappy this morning was.
I really needed the sleep I got, and, honestly, I could have used more, but I had too much work to do.
I had breakfast alone for the first time in ages. I’m not complaining, I do like a lot of the people that I eat with, but sometimes it’s nice not to have to talk or listen. Plus, when I’m alone I tend to eat faster and get going on the rest of my day faster.
I could feel Preadad watching me from a few tables over. (This was partially my fault, because I sat right in front of her line of view.) She was sitting with some Spanish-speaking girls. I don’t know if she was staring at me because I was right there, or if she was mad at me (I had to go to the post office yesterday on a very important delivery, so I didn’t stay to have breakfast with her when she sat down just as I was eating my last two bites) or if she felt sorry for me. I spend a fair amount of time alone, and I don’t generally get lonely (maybe once or twice a year, under normal circumstances.) There are some bad moments in my life where I don’t want anyone around and other moments were I do, and usually I just go find whoever I need the few times I really need to talk to someone. And, moreover, I find Preadad annoying, so I honestly don’t want her around. So the staring was mostly irritating but I ignored it. It wouldn’t be the first time someone stared at me from across the cafeteria, though it might be the first time it was a girl.
The morning’s badness continued. My computer’s been making buzzing noises, and I’ve made several attempts to fix it and I’ve been patient, but today I nearly lost it.

The Paris Conference

Some of the higher ups are thinking about going to a conference in Paris, so I've been on the hunt for hotels and hostels. I looked at hotels in terms of price and distance from conference. The cheapest one is, of course, a twenty five minute walk. The shortest-distance one was also one of the steeper-priced hotels.
It kind of bums me out that I've been put on this task.  I would really like to be the one going on this trip. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Politics and Music

I was reading this interview with a member of Thievery Corporation.  I'm not taking issue with anything said in the interview, just with the detail that audience members didn't like the politics in Massive Attack's part of the show.  (They're on tour together.)

This really irks me, because their latest album, Heligoland, is political.  And not in a bad way.  "Atlas Air," for example, is about torture.  "The Flat of the Blade" is about the recent stabbings in South London.  Audience members apparently couldn't see what politics had to do with the music, but if you're listening to the music, you know the answer. 

And, seriously, check the album out.  It's amazing. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Ongoing Saga of it Being Too Cold

At work today, there was more drama over how cold it's been.  I have been shivering for at least a month.  And apparently I'm not the only one.  At one point, one of the girls across the hall got so mad about how cold it was she just decided to leave and go sit somewhere else. I don't blame her, but I work on a desktop at work so I don't have the luxury of just getting up and leaving whenever.
Then I was talking with someone via email, and there was the implication of needing to do more research. Doing the whole taking the initiative thing, I started working on that.
As I was doing that, there was another conversation (involving the same girl) about how it was warmer but that it should get fixed. And the girl said she was going to call.
I was also thinking about my Mom and how she is clearly suffering from burnout when it comes to taking care of my Grandma. I wish she would ask her brother to take care of my Grandma. It would be difficult, but shipping my Grandma down south might be a good thing for us, especially for my Mom. My Mom has been taking care of my Grandma for over ten years, and, sadly, it could easily be another ten. It isn't fair to my Mom, and quite frankly, I don't think it's okay for her emotional and mental health. I suspect my Uncle wouldn't want to take Grandma, but I have half the mind to write him a letter, emphasizing how much he apparently loves his sister and what a Christian man he considers himself. I actually very much doubt his love for his sister and for Jesus, but there's a part of me that wants to try on my Mom's behalf. My Mom deserves a break, a big one, and she deserves better than such a terrible family (her awful mother, her awful brother, her awful sister-in-law. This whole family is rotten to the core. Everyone talks a big game about responsibility but it's nowhere to be found. I'm disgusted at being related to these people.)
I just realized today as I was sitting here how feminine Mark's voice is. I don't know how I could have missed it. This isn't a criticism, just a weird thing I noticed.
I accidentally got an update on the Mark-the-Landlord drama. Today he was on the phone with someone talking about replacing a stairs and a deck.
I even heard Mark give a giant sigh today. Oh, I understand, I wanted to say. I really have been dragging today. I think I need a nap, though I honestly do not have time for one.
So, basically, out of everyone, I spend the most time with Mark. I'm not complaining, but I guess this wasn't what I expected to end up thinking about all the time.
Then, in the ongoing saga of "It's too cold in this building" today some people came into the office and opened up the ceiling tiles and were inspecting. One of them was saying a bunch of stuff wasn't working. They were right around my cubicle, making me terribly nervous. (Would I have to leave? I was really tired today and was praying that yes, they would let me go home. I needed a nap and had things to do.) They started taking bits of the ceiling near my head out, looking inside and conferring with each other. Then they went into Bella's cubicle and did the same thing. (I don't know where Bella is today, but clearly not here.) "It's definitely zeroed out," Tommy (as he was called) said to his friend.
Just as things were getting really interesting there, Mark came in with a task. It was either an accounting task or a proofreading task. Basically, I needed to make sure that two lists of books sales were together and that their weren't any mistakes. The way he laughed about the construction fun was exactly how Daniel laughs. Exactly. Terrifyingly so. They're so different in age and potentially political beliefs. (I say potentially because I know exactly what Mark thinks about politics, Daniel will be cold in the grave before he expresses his thoughts on this and a wide variety of other subjects.) And yet their mannerisms are so similar, and I find myself being struck by them all the time.
Work went by really fast actually, for all my complaining. I kept doing that thing were I would look up and discover that about another hour had passed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Final Christmas Gift

Okay, I did indeed make it out tonight to get the final Christmas gift and yes, I was successful.  But it is bitterly, terrible cold out there.  Oh my gosh.  When that wind gets ripping.  My face was really wishing for one of those face masks things people wear.  The cold always has a tendency to make me cranky. 
Everyone better bundle up. 

Christmas Gawking

I went out today to do some Christmas shopping and looking at Christmas decorations.  I know lots of other people do the latter, driving around neighborhoods, hitting the local downtown to see how everything is decorated, but I've never heard a very good verb for it.  As of right now, I'm calling it Christmas gawking, for lack of a better word. 
Today's Christmas gawking was very good.  I found a bunch of tacky Christmas musicians statues.  I went past an ice skating rink, and even though it was morning, the place was in full force.  I saw some light/snowflake things and Angels with big horns decorating an area full of bushes.
I went into a toy store.  I wasn't really planning on buying anything, but I thought maybe it would get me into the spirit.  There were lots of kids running around and yelling and begging for things.  They had fancy Lego displays out.  I really love legos, still.  I loved elaborate mansions for my lego people to live in when I was little.  (I was not very interested in using the bits and pieces the way you were "meant" to; I liked making my own things, though they were probably not as appealing.)  The only bad thing was that the displays were set at a child's level, so I had to bend down to catch a peak at most of them.  Luckily, one of the square right outside the door was totally visible no matter what your height, and I loved that Darth Vader with a whip and a Stormtropper were battling it out on top of a skyscraper while some owls watched near some pirates getting drunk.  Pretty amusing. 
I headed out again.  I wandered around a bit because I had forgotten the directions I had written for myself this morning.  I was a little annoyed with myself, because I had reminded myself about five times to write them down, and then they ended staying at home anyway. 
It took me one false try, but I found where I wanted to be and headed into a shop.  This year, some of my friends and I are exchanging gifts, and I wanted to get them all done in one swoop.  Also, I wanted to get something nice for my sister.  (I had already managed a box of chocolates for my Mom.)  So, shhh!  don't tell anyone what I got for them.  :)
I was expecting to have an easy time for Lisa and Tori's gift, but actually the first thing I found was for Madison.  I was going to get her a purse, and I found one, a little bigger than I wanted, but with the design I wanted.  (It's pink.  Madison likes pink.)  So I got that down.  I found some postcards too.
(As I've mentioned before, I collect postcards.  I'm very picky with what postcards I take, and most of the kind out there I reject, but luckily I found a few I like.)
Did some more wandering around, looking in shop windows.  I went into another store and found the calendar I wanted for Tori.  (It's all pictures of hot guys.  Or what will probably be hot guys to her.  Honestly, I only found some of them attractive; what I want is a calendar of hott guys from my real life, which is to say, as a tentative list: Mark, Philip, Juicebox, Paul, Josh, Matt, Jack, Ryan, Dan...The problem with most of this list is that I suspect most of them would not agree to it, and I know Juicebox would not, because I ran the idea of him doing sexy Valentines past him last year and that did not go over well.  And, moreover, a lot of these boys are super awkward around me with clothes, and I can imagine in those pictures they'd just look super awkward without clothes, so maybe it is for the best?  Sorry.  I digress.) 
I decided not to be too picky about Lisa's gift, because she would probably love it no matter what.  I got her a stuffed teddy bear that was especially cute.  I almost got her a violently colored long-limbed monkey, but I feel like she'll like the classic better.  Lisa has a whole collection of stuffed animals (Michal complains about them.)  She even has stuffed animals buckled into the back of her car. 
I was looking at more postcards, and I found another vintage one (my favorite) and when I went to buy it (a quarter, which made it even sweeter) he told me just to take it as a gift.  I was totally flabbergasted because, yes, it was nothing, but I'm not used to getting anything for free.  I was so flabbergasted it wasn't until later I realized I didn't thank him.  Oh man.  Where have my East Lansing manners gone off too?  Maybe that's what I need to put on my Christmas list for Santa. 
The last one was my sister.  There are purses that I've been considering for her, but I didn't have any luck finding the kind I want for her.  I talked to my Mum on the phone last night for ideas, and she gave me some, but no luck yet. 
I'm going to go out again tonight and hopefully find something.  I actually have a lot to do and don't really have time for this, but I feel like I should try.  I could just get her a nice scarf (though I've never seen her wear scarves) or maybe some fancy lotion from a boutique. 
I should have started doing this earlier. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday Night Prograstination

I realize most people my age go out to party on a Saturday night, but I'm mostly stuck inside, writing. 
I have some papers due and I have been working on them on and off, but I've been also typing up some poems I wrote Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.  (Again, I wrote poems at work.  I am going to probably get caught, so I try desperately not to.)  The first poem I typed up this night is rather silly and possibly terrible, but since I share my writing with people so infrequently anyway, it doesn't seem like a big deal. 
Then I tried to get back to editing a shorter essay.  And then I got an idea for something I wanted to write, so I stopped to write down the draft of a poem.  (I know!  Another one.) 
After I had gotten that out of my system, I sat down again to edit another one of the essays.  I realized I had made a note to myself to look up something in Wide Sargasso Sea, which I was referencing in the essay.  Of course I've left the book at home.  I went last night to the library, couldn't find it.  So I tried online, just because I just need one tiny reference.  No luck, there's no online edition either.  I could probably leave it, since it's too big of a deal, but I wanted to check that I was remembering a set of allusions correctly. 
Then I started preparing a little to go home.  I still have a little less than a week to pack but I'm so busy that I'm afraid I'm not going to have enough time. 
And, it must be said, I always struggle when it comes to what I should pack and what I shouldn't.  I decided to take home my comics and some books and leave them there.  I have more books than I know what to do with here, and they're just so heavy.  In addition to writing here, I do keep a diary.  I finished one of my diaries up while here, so I'm taking that home and leaving it.  I'm probably going to take the current one I'm writing in home to so I can write in it.  I have a third diary that someone left on our community donation table.  It looks like the front set of pages was torn out and there's a small red stain on the side of the pages, but it's otherwise useable and the leather is very soft.  I am going to leave that here so I can write in it when I come back.  I have some postcards and letters I was meant to send that I'll just take home with me and post when I get back there. 
I did make the decision to leave some of my study materials here.  On the off chance I do get enough time to do some studying, I made myself a very long list of things I want to read up on, all of them English-centric, a good deal of them obscure ancient Greek mythology that I probably once knew but no longer remember.
At the very end of the night I chatted with Madison (who was working on a paper) about what the plans were for Christmas.  So far it's unclear if we're exchanging gifts or if someone is having a party, etc. 

Friday, December 10, 2010


Apparently the government has just realized that pop culture is better propaganda than actual propaganda for America. To which I have one thing to say: Duh.
I have friends who had never been in America during Halloween and Thanksgiving, and they asked me if people really dressed up (yes) and if they really ate turkey (yes.) They based their questions on what they had seen in tv and movies. I have a Norwegian friend who has virtually no accent because she watches so much American tv. I'm pretty sure that most of those friends honestly see America as mostly what our pop culture shows us as.
But I’ve also seen this as a bad thing. I know girls who come to America thinking they can live like Carrie Bradshaw, shopping all the time and getting romanced by guys, and they’re totally disappointed when they see how most people’s lives are not like that. (They also usually are surprised to see how dirty most of New York’s streets are.) They also sometimes they have a blind allegiance to what they think is American, which can mean some of our least impressive attributes. (They often think we’re far more materialistic than what I hope most people are like, but sometimes they themselves are happy enough to buy into the culture.) Even sadder, they see America as more homogenized than it really is, when there are lots of smaller groups and some are antagonistic to one another. Also, right now, a lot of foreigners I know dress like hipsters because this is “in,” and although I agree with them it is, I know far more Americans who aren’t hipsters than are.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ann Hansen

I guess I'm just having a video kind of day.  I found this lecture by Ann Hansen about Direct Action. Hansen is usually considered an anarchist, and much of her work and writing is about bringing down the oppressive nature of capitalism. She also has a memoir about her experiences.
I like how you can hear the Canadian accent in her voice too.

On Who Power Chooses to Negotiate With

I'm posting this video because it says some really interesting things. 
One of the things that Gelderloos talks about is how Gandhi was the ideal target for the British to negotiate with, even though he wasn't the only leader.  This is the exact same thing that happened in South Africa with Nelson Mandela. A lot of people think Mandela was the only leader, but he was not, he was the leader that the movement chose to use as P.R. to the international community, mostly because of his biography. Chris Hani and Winnie Mandela were both leaders and, since neither was under long term arrest, had more direct power, but because Nelson Mandela was the least radical and the most likely to maintain capitalism, he was the one the white apartheid government chose to work with. Mandela gave in to many white demands that allowed certain aspects of the previous oppressive system to remain in place, and revolution was not as overreaching as it could have been.  South Africa, for all its progress, is still a pretty miserable place, especially economically, where capitalist still control so much and the people have very little. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Final Push

Things have been getting crazy in my life right now, so I might not be updating the blog as much as I thought, but basically, stuff is due, and I am doing the whole final push thing. 
I was on the phone with both of my parents Sunday night.  My Dad repeated the same things he always repeats to me, and my Mom was frustrated over my Grandma, so basically what happens every time I call them. 
With my Grandma situation, I feel bad, since I'm not there helping right now, even though mostly everyone would argue I was doing what I should be doing in being here.  But I still find myself feeling guilty for it, because my Grandma takes so much work, and my Mom ends up doing almost all of it.  I'm hoping in the next couple of weeks I get some time to help out once I go back home.  I still want to spend time with some friends, but I know I should use what time I can to be helpful. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Literary Bad Boys

Had lunch today with some friends.  Elizabeth was telling me about how much she loves Tulkinghorn from Charles Dickens's Bleak House.  I've seen the recent production the BBC did of the novel, and I actually did not find this guy even the least bit attractive, but that's okay.  I guess somewhere out there people are shocked that I would find Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Pace, Jacob Black, Sheldon Cooper and Matthew Gray Gubler attractive. 
Isn't that better?  I also had lunch with the young woman who lives below me.  She is really nice.  She was telling me all about this flea market she had tried to go to, getting totally lost in the process and getting bad directions from three different people and it all being a mess.  I probably should have asked her about her choice literary bad boys, but I can only take so many shocks a day. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Out Last Night

As Elena sat there on her computer, I was rushing about trying to get ready.  I had ten minutes.  I reapplied my makeup, lamenting how ugly I am.  I put on a belt, which I've been meaning to do all week.  I made sure I had money and my ID.  And then I got going. 
A group of friends and I were going out for the evening.  Tamara knew this particular bar that she said she took all her friends to and was excellent.  We were very disappointed to get there and discover that the bar had been overtaken by a party for some reporters.  We spoke to the man right outside, who clearly worked there.  The girls begged a bit to get in, except for Ruth and I, who mostly giggled at how silly they were being.  We hadn't had anything to drink yet, but I suspect that this man wouldn't have believed us.  He told us if we came back the next day he would give us free margaritas.
As we were walking away, Claire said that she had heard the bartender telling the party planner that he didn't want us coming in, even though the planner said it was okay.  So we ended up at this burrito place down the street.  It was tacky in a hilarious sort of way, and we sat down. 
Our waiter took our IDs, and upon seeing mine, he got excited because he was from Ann Arbor.  And then he got us drinks.
I have not been having much luck with drinks lately.  I am trying new things and mostly have been disappointed by them.  I've had vodka lemonades before, but neither one was very good.  (The second one was strawberry flavored.)  The other girls had margaritas of varying kinds.  I worked on the chips and salsa. 
Claire and I had a look around at the other men in the bar and were intrigued by several of them, but since they were often holding hands with other men, they were probably gay.  Claire had to give a performance the next day, so Lavvy quizzed her on her lines.  Claire, Tamara and Caroline all texted. 
As usual, I ended up talking mostly with Ruth.  I can't even remember most of what we talked about, but it was probably about work.  Ruth likes her job, but I think it mostly is more work than she can stand. 
"I calculated my hourly salary and it came out to 7.50," she was telling me.  It's particularly sad, as she is always working.  Tamara told her she needed to write more and read less, which is advice I should take. 
I told Ruth that in less than the last two months, I'd written forty poems.  I am really meant to be writing other things, but I find that I want to write poetry more. 
Claire told me she wants to do a dramatic interpretation of one of my poems.  So I guess I'll give her one of them.  I really don't want to, especially since I don't have a printer and will have to write it out, but I still will anyway.
I was texting with Nate, which was going a little badly because I wasn't texting well. 
Tamara and Caroline left early because both of them had things early in the morning.  After we paid up, Claire, Ruth and I walked home.  Claire has been learning to dance lately, and she showed us her entire routine with her fingers at the bar.  Then she was Charlestoning out in the street. 
"I feel a bit ill," Claire commented.  I did too, which is unlike me, because drinks have never made me sick to my stomach before. 
Right at the street corner closest to home someone was standing near us.  They had on a dark coat, high heels and very blonde curly hair. 
"I'm enjoying that," I commented.  Clarie hit me in the stomach.  "Don't be such a pervert!"
"Was that a man or a woman?" Ruth asked.
"I thought it was a man," I said.  Claire disagreed.   
When I got back, I checked my phone and saw there was a message from Nate to be careful.  I told him I had walked home with friends and was safe.  It's so nice to have someone like that care about you. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eye of Day

Eye of the Day is a consultant group that aids immigrants in navigating governments and laws. Looks like it could be useful for anyone looking to try to get U.S. citizenship, which, during this "War on Terror" and general racism, is probably really tough.
It's hard for us who are lucky enough to be happy with our citizenship to realize not everyone is.  And it's so hard to remember that someone who is "illegal" lives with constant fear that someone is going to discover their legal status and have them deported.  Or worse, take advantage of them in some way, like paying them less for their labor. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Assorted Antics

I had dinner tonight with Rachel and later Jenny joined us.  We had a nice chat.  Rachel indulged in some complaining about a roommate she once had who smeared a open plastic packet of ham all over the bottom of a refrigerator and other assorted antics. 
Jenny talked about her officemate, who she really likes, even though she is a little nutty and entertaining. 
I spent the rest of my evening catching up on emails and other things.  Emily emailed me to say she might be coming up for a visit and would I like to hang out.  Of course I told her I'd love to see her again (I would.)  So maybe we'll visit.  And then Ashley emailed just for a general chat, catching up about what's going on. 
Elena didn't come home until 10:30 tonight, which is pretty late for her.  She came home while I was in the shower.  I admit it: I was singing.  I only sing a couple of times a week in the shower, and I try to limit it because I'm not good.  I heard her leave loudly. 
Also got a text message from someone saying that I was texting the wrong person.  I was totally shocked.  Was I doing the same thing as that woman who wouldn't stop calling me?  But I looked back in my file of sent texts, and I've only texted that number once in the past few months, and I suspect even less before then.  The text was kind of rude, and I have half the mind to text them back just out of spite.  But I got everything straightened out, so it's okay now.   

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Earlier Part of Work Today

Work today was fine.  It dragged a little at the beginning, but at one point I looked at the time and was like "It's 4:30?  When did that happen?"
When I got there, I discovered that someone had decorated the lobby for Christmas. It seems too early still for Christmas, though once I'm on break I'll probably get more into the spirit. It always seems as if the spirit hits me just as Christmas is over, which means maybe I need to start right after Halloween if I want to care on time. But after coming home today, I feel like I'm getting into the spirit of things a little bit more.
When I got to my cubicle, my chair was missing. I usually hang my coats on the back of the chair, and I was totally baffled. I went over to see Mark's office since I'm suppose to check in with him anyway. He wasn't there, but the chair in front of his computer looked suspicious. I went into the boss's office and found my three coworkers, probably having a meeting. I asked if I could borrow the extra chair in his office, and realizing that the chair he was sitting on was usually mine, said okay.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Someone's Got Nice Pipes

Today, I came across this great set of videos depicting a young man who makes PVC instruments on Popwatch.  There are a lot of DIY instruments out there and I absolutely love them.  It takes so much more just to learn an instrument, let alone one that you actually made yourself.  If I had the time (and probably a lot of help) I'd love to build things like this. 
The other fun thing about these videos is that you have to guess what the songs are.  These PVC pipe covers of songs have a nice quality.  I would love to hear these pipes being used with other (traditional or DIY) instruments.  Or you, know, if this guy released a CD on bandcamp, I would totally check that out too. 

Among other things, this video has a much clearer sound.  The cover of "I Just Can't Wait to be King" sounds particularly great.  The instrument fits well for this kind of song. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Walking and Dancing in the Streets

I went out for one of my walks today.  I have favorite spots I like to sit at to enjoy the day.  At the second place I sit, I sort of twirled around a bit, because I was in an excellent mood. 
As I was sitting there, I watched a young woman lay down on the cobblestone ground and take pictures of two young women, dressed up very fancily, walk towards her.  And every time they tried to get pictures, a car would come by.  By the time they replaced themselves down on the ground, it was already too late, another car was coming. 
Man, I know how that feels. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ghana Poetry Project

While doing some research on poetry, I found this cool organization called Ghana Poetry Project.  Basically, this group wants to promote Ghana's poetry to other places around the world.
I only have read work on Africa when it was for school, but I always really enjoyed it.  African writing in general is often ignored by the elite literary critics, just because it isn't Western and sometimes more recent and because of general racism. 


On Thanksgiving, I got this tea pot/hot pad thing.  I'm not really sure how to describe it, because no one has ever given me a name for it before, but basically it's a plastic pitcher with a big grand wire in it that you turn on and it heats up the contents of the pitcher.  I had one two years ago, in the summer of 2008, and back then I used it to make tea, which I was drinking with every meal.
Today I turned this new one on and again attempted to make tea.  It worked fine, though it might have damaged the surface of my desk a little.  I don't know what I'm going to do about that, other than try to find somewhere else to make it that won't destroy furniture.  (The floor maybe?  Though I don't want to burn the carpet.) 
Anyway, after the tea was made I went downstairs to pinch some sugar.  I try really hard to drink my tea without, but if it's not a fruity tea I really struggle to make that happen.  This was close enough to English Breakfast that I wasn't going to get far. 
I ran into Susan in the elevator.  "What are you going there for?" she asked, noting my destination. 
"Just going to get some sugar.  I made tea." 
"You're going to put it in your hand?"
What?  "The tea's in my room," I answered, not sure what to say.  Lately people sort of babble at me and say such strange things that sometimes I'm honestly not sure how to answer.  I honestly don't understand what they're saying. 
Then she saw me later.  "Oh, the sugar's in packets," she said.
Er, yes, but now I understand your confusion. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Satellite Telephone

Found a delightful zine called Satellite Telephone.  I wish I could look at the actual zine, but maybe I will have to pay the seven dollars to get one.  They also said on their website that they take trades in zines.  I do have some of those lying about, so maybe I will send one of those in to them?  I've actually never heard of people trading zines, though I guess that it is the literary nerd equivalent of baseball card trading.  Like, here, I want your awesome collection of stories and poems and art for this one I have here.   
I'm considering submitting here, for obvious reasons. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Gobble Gobble

I almost said something to Elena about Thanksgiving having a traditional nap as well as a meal.  It seems that she never studies except when I need to do something in the room. 
So I attempted to sleep and faded in and out, but didn't really sleep the way I wanted to.  Even though I was still tired, I gave up. 
And then of course, twenty minutes after I got up, she left.  I feel very much like I can't win. 
Some of my friends invited me to come round and watch the Thanksgiving episode of Friends, which I was actually excited for.  I haven't watched those episodes since last year, and I always enjoy them.
Right before I got there I passed the community table, which is basically where people drop off stuff they don't want anymore.  I got this adorable SpongeBob humidifier.  I don't really need a humidifier, but I just sort of like having this bright sunshine in my room.  He's sitting on the window sill near my bed and it really makes me smile.  I'm thinking if I get crafty with it, I can maybe repurpose to be a lamp.  When Elizabeth and Jenny saw it, they thought it was really cute.  An old lady saw me with it and gushed over it, which surprised me, because I've seen her be really nasty at other people.  I don't think she was familiar with SpongeBob, because she didn't recognize him. 
When I got there they were watching Varsity Blues, which is such a sexist, nasty movie.  Lola really likes the film, though I haven't the faintest idea why, considering how it portrays women and generally stupid it is.  I mostly texted people instead.
We watched the first three Thanksgiving episodes of Friends.  I had a good laugh.
My parents called, and I spoke to them on the phone briefly.  I was actually a little annoyed, since I got off the phone right as third episode was ending and everyone else wanted to go home.  So then it was over. 
I watched a bit of tv.  Paul texted me that he was grateful that I listen to him when he needed to talk to someone.  Earlier in the day I had texted him that I was thankful he put up with me.  I had been thinking about Paul the day before, during a conversation about Thanksgiving and being grateful for things.  The thing I find I am most consistently grateful for are me friends.  And in the last year or so, Paul and I have become really close.  So I found myself thinking about how particularly grateful I am for him, even when I get on his nerves sometimes. 
Later on, Jimmy and I talked, and it was so nice to catch up with him.  I told him about a writing project which I've been considering.  Jimmy told me about how his family has a tradition of "complaining" that a particular dessert needs "more practice."  It sounds like a fun little ritual.  We had a lovely little chat about our lives and plans for the future.  Jimmy is thinking of applying to the same graduate schools I am, which means maybe we'll end up at the same place.  A girl can dream, right?
It might also be good because then they'll be someone around I can trust.  And maybe it'll encourage Paul to come live there, and maybe together?  (Paul and I've been chatting about being roommates for over a year now.  I suspect we have to do it now.)
So it's been a really quiet, though very pleasant, sort of holiday. 

Run Rabbit Run

Had a dream this morning.  In it, I had a rabbit that roamed around outside.  And then it was captured.  I went through the fields looking for it, and then broke into a cabin and found it smushed in a box.  And then woke up before I had a chance to free it. 
I still don't dream as much as other people do, but I am dreaming more now than I was about a year ago. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Racism: Still Not Dead

Sometimes other people do a much better job parsing out why something is wrong.  Native Appropriations has this great post called Why Can't I Wear a Hipster Headdress? that works out exactly why this is wrong.  I've actually never seen anyone do this in real life, and I'm sort of relieved, because I'm sure it would make me very angry. 
That isn't to say I don't occasionally see people do idiotic things similar to thing.  A couple Halloweens ago an acquittance (I'm reluctant to say friends because we were never close and honestly I can't remember a conversation involving her and it honestly took me three minutes to focus in on her first name) used blackface to play an African American celebrity.  Because we were around mostly white people, I'm not even sure if anyone noticed, but when I heard about it, I thought "Jesus, and people think racism is dead."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

War's "The World is a Ghetto"

What caught me about this song was the title.  You don't hear those kinds of pronouncements, especially ones that use words like ghetto, that has connotations of Otherness and oppression.  As I was listening to the song, the political was obvious: "Don't you know, that it's true, for me and for you, the world is a ghetto?" 
I was reading a book today that dealt with critical race theory, and one of the comments was that those of African descent didn't really have a homeland.  This song is obviously related to that sentiment.
I love good political music.  I wish more people listened to stuff overtly political.   

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wrong Number

While taking a nap today, a phone call woke me up. I had called someone earlier in the day, so I thought it was probably them, until I looked at the number, and I realized it wasn’t.
"Hello?" I answered.
"GiGeeGee?" she asked.  I almost sighed.  I was trying to think of a way to tell her to stop calling that would actually work, because I've told her to stop calling for ages now and she still is doing this.  As I paused, she apologized and hung up. 
About a month ago, this woman began calling me. She always sounds confused, and I’ve explained to her (she’s called at least ten times) that I don’t know who she is.  I suspect she's an older woman with memory problems, because no amount of "stop calling this number" has worked so far. 
Last week she called me twice while I was at work, which makes me nervous. Most of the time people at work are cool, but what if I’m in a meeting? What if she does what she did last week, where she called me in quick succession?
So I just sent an email to my Mother asking how I can best block her phone number. Mostly, I want her to know what is happening since we’re on a family plan and someone calls her asking if she knows I've had to block someone's number I don't want her flipping out. 
I was reluctant to take any action until now because I was hoping this woman would stop calling or someone was taking care of her and make her stop. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Poetry Problems

Last week, I got up in the night to write a poem.  This in itself is not unusual because writing poems in the night is pretty common for me.  (Also common: the shower.  Why I cannot write poems when I have nothing else to do and am already sitting at my computer I don't know.  It always has to happen when I am busy.)
I realized a sentence in that this poem was meant for someone.  Actually two someones, but one of them is dead, so really, there's only one someone I can give the poem to.
I don't give people poems.  I realize that was Emily Dickinson's big thing, but I never have found myself thinking "I should give this poem to him/her."
Which is not to say I don't write poems about hims and hers, I most certainly do.  But they are almost never nice poems, and even when most readers would call them "nice" there is usually something less than kind lurking there in the text.  I have love poems that imply all sorts of nasty things, although mostly people read them and go "Wow.  That's gorgeous."  No one ever asks me if that last line is meant to imply that some is a coward or a liar or a jerk.  No, no one ever asks me that. 
I am in a pickle with this poem.  I'm going to give it to him, but only if I think he'll interpret it as good.  It's not actually a love poem, but a poem about something he's been involved with for awhile.
The problem is I have mixed feelings about this something but I'm not sure if the poem is doing that.  On one hand, he could see the poem as a tribute, one that puts his something in line with some very brave, loyal, admirable sort of work.  Or he could see it as a condemnation, a critique, even a depiction of posturing.  The worse bit of all of this is I'm not even sure what it is.  I still can't figure my feelings out at the moment, which was the point of writing the poem. 
Maybe to be on the safe side I shouldn't give it to him? 
It's times like these I wish I wrote modern-updates-of-romantic-dribble in the style of Mary Oliver.  Something on nature, something without a sliver of criticism or darkness, something bland enough to be difficult to hate.  Unless you are me and bored to tears with another ode to sunshine and wish someone would be more interesting and critical in their writing. 

Extra Annoyed

I got up really early this morning.  I discovered Elena had slept with her laptop in her bed, seated right next to her pillow. 
I am very particular when it comes to how I sleep.  I don't mean to be this way, but I find that even in the best conditions it's hard for me to relax my mind enough to sleep.  Any light really distracts me, and I've even read that computer light is particularly bad for you, because it screws up your internal clock.  So I was a little annoyed last night when her computer stayed on for so long.  (Would it really kill her to move somewhere else?)  Now I'm a little extra annoyed because it appears she fell asleep when I assumed she was up late (watch television illegally, something she does instead of studying.)  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Archive of David Foster Wallace

Newsweek has an article about David Foster Wallace's archive, which is in Texas.  I haven't ever even read any Wallace, but now I really want to read him and explore this archive.  I've never really looked through the extra bits of author's before, but it sounds like the sort of thing I would like to do.  It sounds like treasure hunting, but better, because the finds are literary and historical in nature.
Maybe someday the archive will go online, like Jane Austen's recent stuff?  One can only hope. 

Friday, November 19, 2010


There's a review out this week on a couple of books on Cleopatra.  Being a big history nerds, I think I'm going to need to read these two books.  Schiff apparently calls Cleopatra a monster, which makes me a little wary, since that sounds like male fear of women's power talking there. 
But the review had some good details.  For example, Egypt was a egalitarian (or at least more egalitarian society.)  I'd like to read a book on that, frankly, since socieites that allowed women significant power seem to be lacking and the books on them most certainly are. 
Also, there's apparently a movie coming out featuring Angelina Jolie!  I'm already excited. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making an Effort to Understand

I've been reading this book about a man who decides to live in a foreign country.  At one point in the novel, his step-daughter gives him a hard time for not speaking the local language. As I was reading this book, I found myself wondering why he wasn't making an effort at it.  I would want to make an effort to learn some of the language, even though I am miserable at other languages; one could even argue I'm miserable at my own native tongue. The narrator was there for years, was there to understand; why did he not make an effort? He never explains in the book, (or at least he hasn't explained yet, and I'm about two-thirds of the way in) but certain characters give him a hard time over it.
I guess I could interpret this to mean that the reason he never fully grasps the country and the reason he is never fully accepted is because of the language barrier?

News Report on Quidditch

Since I got so much positive feedback from my other Harry Potter posts in the past week and in honor of the movie coming out (TONIGHT!), I wanted to post this short little video featuring the Quiditch Cup.  If you look closely, you can see that Michigan State players are in the video.  (They are the players in the bright green.) 
Also, that commissioner is a very attractive young man.  I would be happy to volunteer at events like these just to work with him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ain't No One Like Him

Given last night's post about Pete Seeger, I thought I'd share this link to an article about him by Studs Terkel.  I wish I could write something as true and loving as this, even about someone else, but I'll just let the words speak for themselves. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pete Seeger and Friends

I've been listening to folk music tonight, so I thought I'd post some of them. 

I love "The Water is Wide."  I first discovered this song when I was about thirteen, through Charlotte Church, who did a cover of it.  Years later, I was in a choir that actually sang this song, which was really nice, because often when you're in a choir, you're learning totally new songs you're unfamiliar with (or at least I was), so it was a nice change of pace to sing a song I already knew and liked.  This is a cover by Pete Seeger.  I was reading about him today and the article noted he had done this song, so I knew I had to go looking for it.  I assume he's doing the guitar playing, since I don't really hear much of his voice.  He's talking in bits and pieces of it, but it sounds like a choir is doing the singing.  I would love to be in a choir that got to work with Seeger.  Given his speaking parts, I'm curious to hear this song done with more chanting than singing. 
What I really love about this song is how sad the ending is.  It basically says that love doesn't last, which is not a sentiment you hear very often in music, especially in what melodically sounds like a very peaceful and happy song.   

Charlotte Church and Enya singing "The Water is Wide."  This is the version of the song I first became familiar with when I was younger.  I'm not really sure why this video cited Enya as singing the song as well, since I don't hear her at all.  Perhaps she produced it? 

Pete Seeger's "We Shall Not Be Moved."

Pete Seeger's cover of "Somagwaza."  This is an African song, which really fascinates me, since I really enjoy African music.  This is from a concert that Seeger gave where the audience basically sang along with every song.  This audience sounds really good.  I wish I had been there at that concert, because it sounds like it was tons of fun.  Sadly, at a certain point this video cuts out and then suddenly picks up again.  Seeger singing the high part actually sounds really good.  A lot of men have a hard time singing high notes, but Seeger manages to sound like his throat is really open, making it sound natural.  Also, there is clearly a woman singing the high part too, and she sounds amazing too. 

Pete Seeger singing "Jacob's Ladder." 

Pete Seeger singing the folk song "Greensleeves."  I developed an appreciation for this song well before I knew Seeger had done a version of it.  I find this cover to be the most haunting version of it, especially since there are no words, just the humming.  The lute (is that a lute?) is also especially haunting.  This song is appropriate for the end of fall, just as winter begins to take over. 
As a final note, I'd just like to share with you a quote from Seeger I really enjoyed: "Us born-again atheists sing a lot of Christian hymns."