Friday, April 30, 2010

Dei Gratia

Bah. I keep hoping for interesting stories, but these days, my life is mostly confined to my place, writing papers.
The writing of these papers goes well. It's slow going, but there is stuff to show for it at the end of the day. Not much, usually, but something.
Among other things, I am writing two papers, one on Matilda of Tuscany and the other on Teresa of Avila. Today, I managed to finish most of my outline on Matilda and write four pages on Teresa. So not bad. Not awesome, but I read through six different sources for the outline on Matilda, so even though it doesn't look like much on paper, I went through a lot of information.
I guess what I wish I was writing on was Matilda's awesome military might or her second husband, instead of her relationship with Pope Gregory VII. Matilda was one of the most important military leaders in European history, but she is often overlooked because she's female and no one thinks much about the Investiture Contest as a war. (Ask Henry IV what he thinks about that.)
I love women warrior images. I doubt anyone who knows me, and how proud I am of my Viking and Hun heritage, will be surprised to hear this. I love Buffy Summers, Joan of Arc, Xena, Athena, Starbuck, Fa Mulan, Sailor Moon, Boudica, Anita Blake, Nzingha, the Amazons, Artemis, Cordelia, Judith, hell, I even love the Halliwell sisters (especially Prue.) I love watching a woman kick a man's ass, especially a bastard who really deserves it. I wish there were more stories about women warriors, because I feel like those are the heroes I need in my life but don't ever get enough of. Instead I get the "save me, handsome man!" women, who annoy me. I want a woman to save the day and herself. I want women who are brave.

For example, this is the video of Chester French's "She Loves Everybody." I stumbled upon this band back in the summer of 2007 (check out their song "I'm Not Over You" if you like this.) I love this music video, not just because I love the song and the band and the boys are cute. No, I love that she beats these boys to a pulp. I love how she gently smooths their hair back, how they flinch, and then BAM! Bloody goodness.
In addition to fantasizing about women warriors, I also want to write about Matilda of Tuscany's second husband, Welf V, who she married when he was 17 and she was 46. I want to write a historical romance about it. Even though, the terrible side note of all of this is that after five years of marriage they separated.
So basically, when I'm suppose to be working on papers, these are the random thoughts I end up having. Which is not the end of the world, but it's not really helping me get these papers done.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Last Day of Classes or, A Muppet Version of The Divine Comedy

Zut alors. Today was my last day of classes. I was kind of wondering if something of note was going to happen, but nothing really did.

Morning meant African history, where we watched this cool movie called Poison Fire. It's about the destruction of the Niger Delta by oil companies. If you think the oil spill in the news lately was bad, you haven't seen even a millionth of it.
Lunch with friends, where mostly we talked about movies. I asked Dan about his future plans, and he told me that he was planning on being around MSU for another year.
Early Modern European history next, which was okay. I'm still on the fence about the class. The subject is mostly interesting, and most of the other students are alright, but the professor frustrates me. I'm going to really miss Kelly, who is probably my closest friend in the class. We had a great discussion today about The Divine Comedy. It's been years since I read it, and trying to have a discussion about it to a class that hadn't read it is trying. The professor made this strange comparison between Dante's masterpiece and A Christmas Carol. I joked that now I want to see a Muppet version of The Divine Comedy.
I actually think the idea has some potential. Imagine it: Kermit as Dante, Fonzie as Virgil. A bunch of the characters can play saints. If we wanted to integrate some of the Seasame Street characters, I'd say Oscar the Grouch would have to be in Hell, just 'cause he's so miserable. ("Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!") The best part of this idea: Miss Piggy as Beatrice. Lol. She's totally the opposite of Beatrice, but I feel like it would be fun.
My last class was my feminism class. I feel like I've gotten a lot out of this class. Sam and I were talking last night, and she mentioned that she totally wanted to have a "angry feminist rant day," and I totally agree with her. I need to vent some anger; I don't care how silly I sound. Mostly, we ate snacks and talked about Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
I'm going to really miss hanging with certain people in this class, mostly Erin, Jamie, Kate and Sam. I met each of them a different year of college. Sam I met in my very first English class (so it feels appropriate we're ending in the same class.) Erin I met through Jon and Jane. Kate I met in my Greek Religion class. And Jamie I just met right before school started this term. Everywhere I go this last week or so, I find myself looking back to whoever I run into and think "Oh my gosh! We've known each other for x amount of years, but it seemed like I met you a month ago." Things really do fly by.
My big plans this evening were a walk and a nap. I ran into Mark and got sidetracked. Mark is really awesome. He's one of those people who you connect to on such a deep level. I feel like we are on the same wavelength. Quite possibly we could talk forever and never say everything. I have a couple of other friends like that (Josie, Colin, and Ashley all come to mind), and I love finding a new one. It's good to know somewhere someone gets you.
So no walk today, shockingly. Just a nap.

Basically, nothing interesting happened today (as a certain British king infamously wrote...), but I always end up missing the little and strange things about my past. When I think on my past, I always miss the people in it, especially the ones I don't see often anymore. I miss those great conversations, and the regular meet-ups (hallways, cafeterias, classrooms, church, basements, the woods, the Forum) and the jokes. And that's probably what I'll miss most about here: wandering into my friend's rooms at all hours of the day and night to talk or watch Jeopardy or House or Chuck, sitting around in the hallways having hours-long conversations and then getting yelled at by the mentors, having "homework parties" in rooms or lobbies, running into each other in unexpected places, taking classes together, making bad horror films late at night in the basement like the one above, caf sitting, office hours, working, and generally being a family.
It's going to take a while for me to move on. I don't even have the time right now to compress and get all my feelings out. By this time next week, I hope to begin the process.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Golf Carting

I was on one of my infamous walks this afternoon, and while in between the Union and West Circle, Dragonfly came up behind me in a golf cart. She allowed me to sit in the passenger seat, and we drove all the way to her work headquarters. It was a lovely day, though a bit windy, and Dragonfly looked cute in her hat and pink tee, like a real gardener. We giggled and carried on a bit.
I'm terribly jealous of her new job working the north grounds of campus. I always enjoy manual labor of certain kinds, which is strange because I'm also bookish. Perhaps if I am unable to find a job at home I'll consider coming back here to look. I wouldn't mind doing her job or working maintenance in one of the dorms.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

William II in 1166

Just got back this evening from a study group at the library for the final tomorrow. Elizabeth, who is such a nice girl and clearly one of the better things happening in the history department, organized this. We basically went over a ton of stuff. I was only there for two hours, and we still didn't go over everything, just mostly everything. Plus, there are always discrepancies between our notes. At one point, Elizabeth mentioned William II doing something in 1166, and I was hella confused.
Cameron, one of the other smart kids in the class, mentioned that the upcoming medieval conference was only a week away. (!) I knew Kalamazoo had a conference in the summer, I just didn't know it was going to be so soon. I would really like to go, but I don't know if I could justify it, especially to my parents, who are ignorant of my medieval love.
I'm also a tad annoyed, because I realize the dumbest kid in class probably has a crush on me. I've caught him staring at me with those big wondering eyes that boys get sometimes. Why why why why WHY does this always happen? I can get a guy's attention, it's just always the wrong guy. Why can't a guy I admire and love feel the same way about me? Why is it always the ones I think are worthless?
I feel like God is taunting me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Being a Medievalist

The professor was actually impressed today during the review for the final on Wednesday. We were actually asking good questions so that we would understand it.
I'm really sad about leaving medieval history, though I suspect I won't have enough time to get upset about, seeing as I have another final, two research papers and a thesis to write in the next nine days.
So maybe I'll postpone that until after the term is over.
But thinking about it now, a few things become clear. First, becoming a medievalist was totally a fluke. I decided one morning freshman year, while asleep in my bed, that I wanted to try a second major in history. All year I did not have history classes and it made me sad. Every history major has to take the basic class, and I choose a class based on location and time. When I signed up, there was no subject and no teacher attached. It was all random that I got medieval. I suspect if it had been something else and the teacher had been cool, I might be obsessed with that now.
Secondly, I'm so glad that medieval happened because it forced me to learn a little Latin and to see how complicated European history is. It's easy for Americans to brush off stuff and just focus on the plague or the Crusades, but other stuff happened, like the Investiture Contest, like the splitting of Charlemange's empire, like the Pope's policy of neutralizing any significant political power in Italy. All of it had long reaching consequences, and all of those examples are important to understanding things today. I'm happy for that perspective.
And also, being a medievalist is just another way I'm nerdy. It's a different kind of nerdy, but one that Dungeons and Dragon kids can appreciate.
I'm hoping that in the future, I will occasionally make time for medieval history. I'm want to keep reading about it.

If you happen to be like me, I can suggest the following books:

God's War: A New History of the Crusades One of the best books I've read on the Crusade. Easy to understand prose. He doesn't shy away from explaining the important ways the Crusades were influences by other things happening at the time.
William Marshal: Knighthood, War and Chivalry Crouch is Marshal's main biographer, and this book is a decent explanation of his life. Might be a little harder to work on if you're not familiar with the events at hand.
Medieval Architecture, Medieval Learning: Builders and Masters in the Age of Romanesque and Gothic
One of the strangest books I've encountered in my studies. I'm not sure I buy the argument of the book, which is that architects and masters worked sort of in tandem to create great masterpieces in their respective fields. But the explanations of medieval architecture are perfect. And there are pretty pictures. My copy has those pictures in black and white, but I'd love to see a color version of this book.
The Song of Roland One of the first poems in French. It's the classic story of the brave knight Roland who sacrifices himself to save his beloved king, Charlemagne. Though not accurate historically, it's still a fun read.
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings A glorious book. Easy read and great images to bring the Viking world alive.
Arthur: The Seeing Stone Though not an actual history book, this is easily my favorite fictional book about the time period. Although written for a young adult audience, it's delightful.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Time of Angels

Every once and a while I have a moment where I realize that I really am meant to work in literary theory. I was watching the latest episode of Doctor Who, and I had a great idea for a paper. I'm going to have to do a little research for it (read up on Foucault and the gaze, and probably have a look at one of my best theory books Ways of Looking), but I think I can swing it. I don't think it'll be a very long essay, but I want to write it, all the same, if only because I think it's a good idea and because I've never heard anyone apply theory to Doctor Who. I'm not up on British studies, so possibly someone has, so I'll have to do some research there too. Possibly someone's come up with this before me, but I suspect not, given the episode just aired yesterday. More likely, someone did something similar with other episodes, and I can draw on that to write a more informed and interesting essay.
These moments make me happy, make me feel like I might be teetering on the edge of genius. Even Erin, who read an early draft of the paper I mentioned a couple posts ago, was impressed with one of my observations about Toni Morrison's Sula and "Recitatif." Last night, as I was working on my paper, I felt like I was really doing this, really applying theory to a work, really creating an interpretation. I love this feeling. I love other related feelings, like that feeling of yes, I understand this and yes, I've created something worthwhile. Ta-da! I'm an emerging scholar, and an enthusiastic one at that.
Also, I cannot believe I am past fifty posts already! I feel like this blog just started. Maybe I am capable of keeping this up.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Queer Theory

I went over to the Union today to have a meeting with my friend Erin and work on our papers, the one I mentioned yesterday. While I was sitting there waiting for her, I did some reading for the class. We're reading essays on queer theory, which is fine, but whoever had my book beforehand wrote some seriously stupid notes in the margins of this chapter. At one point, she (I'm assuming she, given the handwriting) asked if the open sexuality the queer movement was espousing included pedophilia and necrophilia. Um, no. But really? Did you really need to ask that?
I'm always shocked and saddened with how many people have to ask questions like that. This year especially, I've encounter a lot of people who don't even know the basics on issues like gender, race, and sexuality. If it's not their identity, they're ignorant.
How can people live like that? Do they really believe they are the only version of human out there, or do they just think they're the only kind they should bother knowing about?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Feminism Paper

Have been working on a paper for my English class. I'm still a little under the required page number, but at least I have something, and even having that is a big relief.
I'm writing about two works on Toni Morrison and the gaze. I'm really interested in the later. When I learned about it in a class last year, it captured my thoughts. It's one of the things I'm interested in in literary theory.
There are a couple of pop songs that I think deal implicitly with the gaze, which I'd like to write a short piece about. You know, when I get the time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Black Gold

I watched this movie called Black Gold, which is about the coffee market. I actually dislike coffee, so watching all these people drink coffee made me want to throw up, but I thought that the ideas of the film (how free trade fails to provide adequate income for so many farmers, how unnecessary aide would be if there were fair prices, the ignorance of so many about what they consume) were all really good points.
I really liked learning about the film's main character, a man who represented a coffee growers union in Ethiopia who was trying to get a higher price for their coffee. I thought the movie did a good job of showing what was possible if certain forces worked. It was so hard to see the opposite of this, where they had to set up nutrition stations, which determine which children get food aid to prevent malnourishment. (They turned away children who were only kind of sickly because they wanted to try to help the desperately bad.) Also heartbreaking and sad was the tour of Pike's Place Starbucks (where two young baristas discussed Starbuck's success) and a barista championship (where a Canadian contestant came off as a total tool.)
I would have liked a little more information about chat, a narcotic that many coffee growers turn to because they are so desperate to feed their families, and about how food aid operates. The film also randomly flits back through time near the end of the movie, which was confusing. But, overall, it is a well-written film that does a good job of explaining how free trade works, who benefits, and what the alternatives are.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


While out on one of my walks, I saw a young man in skin-tight jeans that were hanging way down his hips. Suffice to say, I was pretty surprised to see something like this. He was combining two dumb things that people thing are cool: tight pants and baggy jeans.
I don't want to be a traitor to my generation or anything, but I don't get how guys these days dress. I mean, come on. It just looks like they fell out of bed, changed into tight jeans, but didn't bother with their shirt, then put on some large glasses and then took their greasy hair and covered it up with a backwards cap. And we're expected to swoon? I don't think so.
What should we name this new abomination? T-bags? (Tight+baggy=?) If we chose this, of course, then we could call them T-baggers, which might easily be confused with tea baggers of a more political quality. But I think it's clear the same amount of doucheness is part of both groups, who think they know what's best for people.

*I'd just like to say that I'm writing this in jest. I don't usually mind hipsters; I just find them funny, and sometimes, adorable. (Depending on who they are, of course. If you're a douche, it doesn't matter what you wear; you're still damned to irritate everyone.) And yeah, I was totally inspired. Amy Heckling, make a movie about now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Why couldn't I have taken a music appreciation class in college? We had a second music day in my African history class, and it was a blast. Today, we concentrated on Afrobeat music while talking about Nigeria.

Basically, Afrobeat was developed by Fela (1938-1997), the "king" of Afrobeat." He was from a prominent family. His grandfather was J.J. Ransome Kuti (1855-1930), an early Christian convert and church leader. Kuti was a notorious pain in the ass to British authorities, using religion as a way to keep Nigeria's colonizers honest. Fela's father was Ransome Kuti, who founded the Nigerian Union of Teachers in 1931, arguing that people need more access to education. After the second World War, Fela's father was recruited to join a London commission on higher education in Africa. His mother was a leading feminist activist and nationalist. In the 1940s, she organized 20,000 women to protest taxes and abuse by chiefs, who were notorious for stealing property.

While in London, Fela began playing gigs, then enrolled in the Trinity School of Music. Fela began playing African jazz, then blended Nigerian highlife and Juju music. He was also influenced by the awesomeness that was Bob Marley, Bruce Lee and Miles Davis. He sang it what is called a pidgin language, meaning it blended several different languages. This particular pidgin is the lingua franca in West Africa. Fela started his own clubs in Laos, then the capital of Nigeria, where he would play all night long. All of his music is political, and he clearly saw his music as a way to educate people and encourage them to be proud of their African identities. While in the U.S., he interacted with the Black Panther Movement and Sandra Isidore, who introduced him to radical literature.

Once again, the only thing I don't like is that Fela wasn't much for feminism or women, even though his mother was a leading feminist. I keep hoping as I learn about Africa, that some great women and men will promote women, but it's been few and far between. I guess this just means I'm going to have to love those few who do even more.
I'm a huge fan of American jazz and funk, so this is totally my style. I don't like every song of Fela's I've heard, but I've posted some of my favorites here. I actually think that I like him better when he doesn't sing. I would love to see music videos or this kind of music used in movies, because there's something lovely about it. It's impossible to listen to and not want to dance to, even if it's just a little swaying here and there. Of course, the lyrics are important since they articulate Fela's political beliefs and are the primary education tool.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Murder Mystery Dream

I'm wondering if my dreams are so strange because I love to indulge in creative writing. Maybe my dreams can't help but feel like movies.
This time, a preacher's wife had been murdered. I knew the preacher, knew he had murdered his wife, and had no way to prove it. Kristina comes to see me in the back of a bar, bringing along "pot brownies." It actually looked like chocolate cake and smelled very strongly, and, as always, I refused. Then, as she was getting high and drunk and I was drinking, I realized how I could get him to confess on national television. And I did it.
The terribly sad thing is that this doesn't sound that far off from some tv shows I've been known to watch.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


For the first time since my freshman year, we've been able to have carnival outside. I always have a good time at these shindigs, and this was no different. There was a lot of different stuff going on today, but I'm just going to post a few photos about it.
Here is Jeff and Ben playing softball. There was a tournament today, and these two were on a team. I love these two together. They're the kinds of friends I can imagine being best buddies for life.
As always, there are other pictures posted on my Flikr.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Take Only What You Need

Tonight was one of my favorite kinds of night; one where I see a lot of the people I love. I really love the night life. There's something perfect about having quiet conversations in rooms, down hallways, in the street, on couches, on balconies, in doorways, on the floor. There's something nice about wandering around in the night, knowing that, despite the drama, there's always this quiet.

I went, among other things, to a party tonight for Erin's birthday. It was tons of fun. At one point, they were playing MGMT's "Kids." My friend Elena and I danced to it, and there was something beautiful in that moment. I find that one of the places I am closest to God is when I'm dancing to the perfect song at the moment. This was definitely one of those times where I could feel God inside and out, moving through and all around me. Life is not perfect, not ever, but it can have perfect moments, and this is one of them.
Now, as I sit here and think about my time here, I know I'll miss these nights. I feel like this is happiness: knowing that you have a home and that there's a family there who loves you. Whether or not they leave the light on hoping you knock.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Library Fantasy #2

I spent a ton of time today and last night doing reading for various classes (a piece on the Crusades, one of Saint Louis, part of a book on Shell Oil in Nigeria, Oranges are not the Only Fruit, "Recitatif," a Winterson article.) Mostly, when I'm doing a lot of reading, I wander around until I find a comfy/semi-quiet spot to work in, since I don't have a couch at my place right now and I get antsy if I'm not moving.
One of my favorite quiet places are on the second floor of the building I live in. There's these two different rooms in two different corners of the buildings, and they're perfect. Generally, no one's there, and there are leather couches and tables and chairs. One of the rooms has tons of books, which I cataloged as a sophomore. Last night and today, I opened the windows, and enjoyed the nice weather and the perfect atmosphere for productivity. The weather has been a big help in keeping my mood up, and being left alone made it possible for me to really concentrate. I actually don't mind interruptions, usually, from friends. (It's when it's people I dislike it's a problem.)
As I was sitting in this reading room, I found myself fantasizing about having a large library someday. A nice library is a real steal. (The picture is from a conceptual piece for Buffy the Animated Series, which never happened. As of right now, it's my ideal library, except I want there to be comfortable, huge chairs, like the kind you find at Barnes and Noble, and blankets and even Snuggies.) I want to have lots of books, strange ones, leather ones, fugly ones. I want there to be no room for anything else, so there's no art on the walls. Except for Roman Empire busts. When I was in London, I hung out a little at the British Library, and one of the workers told me of a library they had received was cataloged by whatever Roman bust was on top of the shelf. I can say that I'm probably not that crazy, but I definitely want a collection: Julius, Augustus, Caligula, Nero, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Sepitimus Severus, Caracalla, Elgabalus, Valerian, Diocletian, Romulus Augustus, Justinian. And then of course, when I have visitors to my library, I'll see who's up on their stuff. Maybe to throw them off, I'll throw in Suetonius and Catullus and see who's really on their game.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Upright Man

This morning, I watched a documentary about Thomas Sankara called Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man. Sankara was the President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. He was raised by a pious Catholic family. As a young man, he joined the military, where he rose through the ranks. In the early 80s, his best friend, Blaise Compaore, staged a coup and put Sankara in charge. After the revolution began to fail, Blaise staged another coup and had Sankara killed.
Sankara was, among other things, pro-women. He wanted to give every woman in Burkina Faso a job. During his regime, men began taking on some of the household duties. He also appointed women to top government roles. I did a little extra research, and found out that he even outlawed female circumcision. As a feminist, I couldn't help but like some of this stuff.
Although he wasn't a perfect leader, I like that he wasn't afraid to tell the truth, and fight those who were oppressing Africans. I feel like he is a great leader, the kind who I wish someone would do a biopic on. It seems like every time they cover an African leader, it's someone horrible. Sankara wasn't perfect either, but sometimes I wonder if the few biopics covering African leaders make Americans think that all African leadership is incompetent or evil.
The other thing that surprised me was how attractive I found Sankara. The pictures I found online of him don't quite do him justice. As I was watching the documentary, I was struck by what an attractive man he was. I don't usually think of political leaders as attractive (other than maybe Obama), but Sankara definitely was.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Research Paper

Today's stress happens to be in part because of one of my history classes. We were supposed to turn in a proposal for a research project. The first time I went to see the professor over an idea I had, he said it was fine. Then the next day he complained about the topic to the rest of the class, not mentioning my name or anything, just complaining. Okay. So then I got worried that he wouldn't be fair grading it, because my experience has been that professors do not always grade as partially as they're supposed to. I wanted to do a queer reading of King Lear once. Professor was completely against it. I did it, and I got an okay grade. I should have found something better to talk about.
So, last week, talking with Kelly, I came up with another idea. Did a little research, tweaked the idea, and submitted it yesterday. Today, he sends me an email saying it's a great idea and then suggests a couple of other books to help with the research.
I guess I should be happy he's enthusiastic, but I'm not. All I can think of is that I basically let him dictate to me. I feel like I've been manipulated, even though I've been fully aware of it the entire time. Mostly, I wish he hadn't commented on it at all.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Romantic Life

Last night, I was at a poetry reading and ran into my friend Mandy. While we were talking, she said "your life is so romantic!"
That's not how I see my life at all. I mean, for the most part, I like my life. I feel like I'm doing important things and I'm, within reason, generally pretty happy. But I've never seen my life as romantic. It just kind of is. When I imagine a romantic life, I imagine that would mean being rich and famous and wealthy and talented. I wouldn't mind being some of those things, but right now, what I have is what everyone needs: purpose, support and freedom. And I'm really grateful.
Everything I have in my life is the result of hard work. Sometimes, I think that hard work isn't obvious to everyone around, because I don't think a lot about it and I don't really talk about it because that's considered a faux pas. I think sometimes everyone just sees my smiling face and don't realize that some days I'm actually miserable, but I smile and try to be cheerful because I don't want to bring my friends down. I'm stressed all the time, and I don't like it, but that's the price we pay when we're perusing something we believe in.
I don't usually think of my life as being inherently better than other's. There are some people in my life who I believe I am happier than, but not everyone. In fact, I would say that the majority of people in my life are at about the same level of happiness.
Maybe I should just be grateful someone near me thinks there's something admirable about me. Even if I kind of disagree.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Blurgh. I'm sick today. I wish I could post some hilarious little bit about being sick and something odd happening, but it's been a quiet day. Mostly nappying and doing homework. I apologize for being boring.
I'll try to have something to say tomorrow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Will Tell About It

Like I mentioned earlier this week, there was a picnic for graduating honors seniors. It was mostly fine. I ran into Mikey, and he told me all about his plans to go to New York. I ran into Courtney, and she told me all about her plans to go to Japan. I told them I was still waiting. I increasingly hate the waiting. I want to tell them that I have a plan, and it involves things. Mikey and Courtney are gracious people; neither of them made me feel bad for not having anything definite, but this doesn't help me feel better.
I didn't know the vast majority of people there. There was a couple there, Lauren and Paul, and they had just gotten engaged last night. I don't know why, but it bothered me. Looking at her face, which still had childhood's freckles, and his face, unpocked. There was something too young about them. The only thing I could think about was Kristina's smart remark a few weeks back about getting married young and having a tiny ring. Their ring made me think of the rings children find in their cereal, the kind that little girls play with when they are playing princess. She picked the tomatoes off her sandwich and gave them to him.
I walked home. I slept. I had a strange dream that I've had before and has nothing to do with this. And then I realized what it was that was bothering me as I woke. Looking at them, I went back to May 1937, the Sharon Olds poems. I've always liked this poem. I've always thought that I understood the angst of knowing how deeply your parents hate each other. And I still do, but now I understand why when people my age say they are getting married, or do get married, why I think "No. You don't understand how bad this could be. Be smart. Don't do this."
But how could I tell people that? It's easy to dismiss me; after all, I've spent the last three years avoiding long-term relationships. I'm finally ready, emotionally-speaking, to try again, to really try again, with some I love, but I've discovered recently that there's no one that feels the same about me. And I could be bitter about that, but then I think of this poem. I think of books on hips, of marriage, of "we would never hurt anyone," of wrong men, of suffering, of hunger, and of paper dolls, and then finally I think "No. I'm choosing. I am choosing to take things slow. I'm choosing to be smart."

Saturday, April 10, 2010


You would think, based on the way some people act around here, they've never seen a squirrel before. I was eating out on the patio today. There were two tables in front of me, one with three boys and another with three girls. The three boys were watching a squirrel, who was wandering around them, playing with napkins and whatnot. When the squirrel managed to get inbetween the two tables, one of the girls threw food to it. And then another one of the girls threw food to it a second time. And then, because I clearly wasn't angry enough, a third girl came outside just to feed the squirrel.
I'm so disappointed by that kind of behavior around here. Animals are not meant to be fed human food. It's not good for them. (Hell, it's barely good for us. What makes someone think that highly altered chemicals are good for a mammal that is designed to subsist on naturally-occurring foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates?) Squirrels can't digest everything we can for a reason, and giving it food that it'll eat is not helping.
Also, those girls are messing up the environment even more than usual. Squirrels in the area are only becoming more dependent on humans for food.
Mostly, I just feel that if you're in college, you have no excuse to be that stupid. By now, someone should have told you that treating wild animals like that hurts the animal that you apparently are fawning over.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Leather Package

I was expecting a different package in the mail, which is I why I didn't expect this: a shiny, leather folder. The first thing I thought about when I saw it was Detective Goram, who always seems to be carrying around a leather folder on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Do all great NYPD detectives carry one of these things? I could have sworn I spotted Detective Kate Beckett with one on Castle. All I need now is to get a badge and I'm finished with a Halloween costume.
Actually, it's a nice folder. In addition to being leather, it also has a stamp of Michigan State's famed Spartan helmet on it. It makes me feel twenty percent more adult just looking at it.
My third thought: wait, is this why the tuition is so damn much?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Picnic Flower

I complained last month about not having the sort of "last goodbye" events that you have in high school when you graduate. This morning, I got an email from the honors college about a picnic for upcoming graduates. So maybe I was wrong, maybe there are things going on.
I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I'm not sure if I want to go. Not because of the event itself, but because of the people. The people I really would like to hang out with aren't graduating seniors in the honors college, so they probably won't be around. And there are potentially people who are going to be there who I don't want to see. Not even people I hate, just people who I've recently fallen out of favor with. What's painful about those people is that I don't hate them, not a little bit, not at all, I really love them, but being around them just makes me sad because of circumstances.
I'm afraid, frankly, of going to this because I don't want to be an awkward wallflower at a picnic. I want to feel like I'm wanted there, at least by someone.
It is times like these where I think "I wish I had a boyfriend." The moment I think that, I always feel terrible. You're supposed to be with people because you love them and they love you, not because they will somehow magically fix problems for you. No one would appreciate feeling like the person they loved was with them because they were lonely, etc. They want to feel wanted for themselves and themselves alone. But at the same time, there are people in my life who always make me feel comfortable and safe and who I want at my side, and in more than just a platonic way. When I start dating again, if I start dating again, I want it to be for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
Juicebox mentioned to me today that I should enjoy the free food. Maybe that's what I'll try to do Sunday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


As I was walking into class today, Kelly ran up behind me. She wanted to talk about Doctor Who. Have I seen the new episode yet? No.
Mostly, I forgot that it has already premiered. I've gone so long without regular episodes that it's weird to think there are now more.
I'm still wary of this new Doctor. When Tennant announced he was leaving, a whole slew of ideas went up on the Internet, and some of them sounded like great ideas. I was disappointed that they chose Smith, who I've seen before in other things and found serviceable but ultimately not interesting enough to be anything more than a bit player. I'm also still disappointed they chose a white man instead of a woman and/or a person of color. England is not as white as so many people like to believe. It's time for its greatest tv show to do a better job of reflecting that reality.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thunder Fetish

Is God reading this blog?* Yesterday, I discussed how much I love the rain, but how rain here usually fails in making melodic sounds. Tonight it rained again, and did a much better time, though it still wasn't as good as at home.
We also have thunder and lightning, which made me happy. We don't get storms up here like we do at home, but I wish we had more thunder. I also love that sound. I love to open up my window and listen, even though that's not such a good idea.
Back when I was living at home, my friend Tony knew about my thunder fetish. He thought it was awesome, so every time there was a storm, he would AIM me and say something about it. I thought of him last night during the storm. If Tony and I were still living close to one another, I would expect a text message or something of the like. Last I heard, Tony was living downtown, and sometimes I really miss him.
It stormed today during class, so we ended up trooping into the basement. I basically took the time to sit there and read Blaise Pascal's Pensees and to check out this hot boy who looked like David Tennant.

*And if so, can I just say that I would prefer to have certain problems solved than have money. Though money might be a decent alternative.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rain on Rooftops

Last night, at around 4, it started raining again.
I have an odd nostalgic thing going on with weather. I love, for example, to sing in the rain. (At the beginning of the school year, I sang a Priscilla Ahn song in front of Hannah during a downpour, and yesterday, "Roxanne" in the courtyard during a drizzle.)
I love to be snuggled in my bed during a storm, and listen to the rain on the roof. At home, this is usually a great thing, since my bedroom is right under the roof, and I find that the rain puts me into a gentle sleep.
Here, it's a disappointment. It's probably the fact that the roof is at a different angle, but the rain doesn't sound as nice. (Mostly, it's just one dripping sound, which is not ideal. It's suppose to be lots of little raindrops making a larger soundscape.) It makes me miss home and all the strange little creature comforts I have there. For example, I live near a nature preserve, and in the summer, the crickets make tons of noise. I put earplugs in and can still hear them. Those little things make me so happy.
I think another part of the problem is that I just can't sleep. This last month has found me up until four or five in the morning, tossing and turning. I have a lot of stress in my life right now. Most of it is stuff that is going on in my relationships or with other people, and I recognize that in most cases, no one is doing anything on purpose to hurt me. But I still find myself unable to block most of it out. I realized in the shower last night that the first ten things on my mind were all the stresses of my life. A large number of the people and things I found joy in, even a few months ago, have all taken a turn for the worst, almost all at the same moment. I'm hoping if I just manage through this semester, a lot of this will either resolve itself or will go away so that I'm not always forced to think about it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Better Safe

This is one of the things I did with my Saturday night: barricaded my room in the event of another Cedar Fest. I was here during the last shindig, and my room got teargas in it, despite shutting the windows. I think I'm paranoid, sure, but paranoid in a way that allows me to wake up without a headache or smelling bad and needing a shower after only having one eight hours ago. I wanted my room hermetically sealed from the outside world, so I used a towel and clear duck tape. I realize now that I could have designed something better, but I did this on the fly, and for something so quick, I think it would have worked. Luckily, it didn't need to, because mostly people behaved themselves.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Not Again

Again, I had dreams this morning about that boy. Argh. It wasn't just like a while ago, when I'd be talking to a friend and then feel someone watching me and then turn around and it was him. No, these past couple of times he talked to me. First, I got to meet his girlfriend, which was, as you can imagine, no fun. Then he did the creepy thing where I was walking with a friend, and he was silently following me.
This has got to stop. I've been trying desperately not to think about him in any way, even though that's proving harder and harder. Part of me wants to find his real life counterpart and scream at him until I feel better. (Even though that will be a very short-lived feeling, because four minutes later I'll regret taking out my frustration on a probably-innocent someone.) There's part of me that's wondering if something else is a afoot and my subconscious is trying to warn me. I want to ask this boy if he's determined to leave me no safe harbor on this campus, in this town.
Remember when I complained about not dreaming about boys? I take that back. I don't need to dream about boys, even though what I meant was boys that were attainable and weren't going to make me feel bad about my failings. I would happily go back to the dreams that felt like Salvador Dali writing a summer blockbuster. Really. Or even better, to not dreaming at all, when it would be rare for me to have dreams within six months of each other.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Meatwad in the Morning

If you go out today to the rock, you might be lucky enough to catch this. This is obviously Meatwad, or, as he probably should be called in this incarnation, Meatrock. I love how you can actually see past tags on the rock showing through his pinkish meat skin. And that the rock surprisingly fits his character. I can totally hear him saying "see if I care."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Education Essay

My African history essay on education came back, and you’ll all be happy to know that I got an A-. It’s not as good as I’d like, because only a perfect score will please me, but it’s an improvement over the last essay in class.
The professor read from an essay outloud, and, for a second, I was scared it was going to be mine. When I was in the 7th grade, I had an English teacher who asked to read my papers to the class. I always said no because I felt uncomfortable, since people would know it was me. When I missed class to go to a dentist appointment, she read all the essays of mine she was saving. When someone quoted a bit to me later, my heart fell. It was something I knew I’d written.
This was a tough essay in some ways, and I’m a little annoyed I was marked down. You’re suppose to write an argument and use certain sources, which I did. She decided that I should have used one source where I didn’t, even though I still used cited sources. Grr. I still wrote a solid argument and did everything she asked.