Monday, May 31, 2010
There are even a few bands listed here that I've seen before but wouldn't mind seeing again, including My Dear Disco. I saw them about a year and a half ago and had a really good time. They were more funky than disco-y, actually, but that's not such a bad thing either.
The game room ended up being the best place to talk to people. Whenever I'm in these situations, I feel very much like Elizabeth Bennet, since I find myself being witty and doing my best to endear myself to people.
I made jokes making fun of Republicans, and those went over surprisingly well. Because of all the time I've spent with Dean over the past few years, I guess I've gotten it in my head that all nerds are libertarians, but my sense was they were liberals, which made me happy.
One of the people I ended up meeting was Matt Arnold. When I first noticed he was wearing a tag with that name, I was tempted to ask him if that was really his name. (The last time I saw that name, I was at Westminister Abbey. Go on, look up who the historical figure is.) I was impressed with certain things about him, and he seemed game enough for my wit. (Along with his friend Nathan, who played along. Score!) Briefly looking around on his website, he appears to be way nerdier than I ever have been, but that's okay. And the best news? He appears to be pro-poly.
I hate to admit it, but there were some cute boys there. And there were some not-so-cute boys there who also had personality. And, let's face it, I'm a personality fan. If you want my immediate attention, sure, looking cute helps, but if you want to keep that attention long term, you better be something more. It's too bad that I will certainly never see some of those boys again. Some of them might be worth it.
The strangest thing that happened was that a young boy named Milo followed Matt and I out of the game room. He introduced himself to us as Milo. He was so young, and maybe a little too young to be wandering around the convention alone. Matt totally blamed me for getting him to follow us around, but honest to God, I didn't do it on purpose. I didn't even talk to the boy. But, really, he seemed harmless enough, so no biggie.
Matt and I also sat through this discussion of a steampunk movie maker. The movies were well-made, and the one director seemed a little boring, but his best friend with him was hilarious and maybe manic. I'd totally love to see the latter do nerdy stand-up.
So maybe I didn't end up doing much in the way of anthropology, but that's not the end of the universe. I definitely feel like, for the most part, people were very friendly. There were a few people who were exactly like the most negative stereotype of nerds, but I was mostly pleased with the experience.
Getting home? Not so much.
Matt is wonderful and all, but he managed to get lost three times on the way back home. I know what happened the last two times, but I'm still trying to figure out how the first time happened. I wasn't paying attention because Matt and I were having an intense, heart-to-heart conversation and I was dealing with frantic text messages from my Mom, so I wasn't watching where Matt was going. I think the first time he turned somewhere funny, because all he had to do was go straight before we hit a particular freeway. At one point, it became clear we were going east when we were suppose to be going north. And then for some reason, Matt turned around and went south.
But one of the things that happened was that I ran into my old friend Jack, who I went to high school with. It was through him that I heard about the convention.
Jack's a transman, which means that he's going through a transition right now. He's really cool. He mentioned to me that he wants to go back and see a particular teacher, but since he's begun taking hormones (his voice is very different now), he's a little worried about going back to see that teacher. Not so much because that teacher would hate him, but because it might be a little bit of a shock.
I know if I was in Jack's position, I would feel really awkward about it too. I told him that if he went with a group of friends (we all sat together in the back) or someone gave the teacher warning, it might be fine. I didn't think about it at the time, but I probably should have offered to go with him. Hell, I'd even be polite to my ex-boyfriend to get this to work for Jack.
Anyway, I digressed before I even got started on what I wanted to say. The steampunk convention was really cool. There was a merchants room, and I saw all sorts of cool costumes and props and other nerdy things for sale. Even though I had a fair amount of moolah on me, I always feel like I should be very careful what I buy. (NO impulse purchases.) So I mostly looked. There were some beautiful hats and costumes for sale, and they were very expensive looking. I actually managed to make myself a pretty decent costume just out of the stuff I have in my closet. The only thing I really need to do is to improve this look is maybe add an accessory or two to make it more steampunk-y. I collected tons of fliers and business cards, so I'm hoping that there will be people for me to go to for more stuff, should I decide to buy it. I'm a big believer that it's never too early to start making wishlists for Christmas or your birthday.
The only thing I ended up buying were some clip on magnifying glasses. Basically, one of the most important parts of a steampunk costume is the goggles. But of course these goggles have a very particular design, one that suctions down on each eye, making them less than ideal for those of us who wear glasses full time. So, even though this is one nerdy subculture, you can't help but feel, as someone who wears glasses, that you're being discriminated against once again. But they also make these handy magnifiers you can clip to your glasses to give you a steampunk look and still use your prescription lenses.
Matt and I headed over to the game room for part of the convention. We played the game Arkham Horror, which is based on the Lovecraft stories. It was this big, impressively complicated game involving investigators trying to stop monsters from destroying the town. The representative showing this game looking like he belonged in a mobster movie and smelled like Burger King fries.
100 posts! Which would probably be more impressive if I hadn't skipped two days of posting, just because there hasn't been much going on or too much going on for me to get to room in the day to post something.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Paul and I would be partners, natch. Paul would be the logical one, solving crimes like Holmes himself. I'd be all intuition and channel Mulder. Juicebox would be like Munch, the cool customer. (Actually, imagining Juicebox as Munch is really funny, since he's nothing like Munch except in the calm presence way. But I feel like everyone would want to watch a show where one of the characters is called Juicebox.) And then I could totally see Nate and Josh as partners a la Ryan and Esposito. (Ryan is cute and silly like Nate, Esposito is more serious but still gets into trouble like Josh.) Da-DUM!
Oh yeah, I've been watching too many mysteries lately. Though, I mean, really, is this any stranger than imagining some of my friends as old people? And, at least I didn't imagine anyone as David Caruso from CSI: Miami. (Jeff? Totally.)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
"Tracey?" What the hell?
Let me explain: Tracey is one of my Mom's friends. I have mixed feelings on her, but it's unusual she would just come to our house without my Mom being home.
Turns out she was there to get me. And, of course, I wasn't ready. Damn. Tracey was coming to get me because the three cars my family owns were either out, or in one case, on reserve for my sister who was going to use one to get herself to class. (She's taking summer classes.)
I was planning on doing a lot more to get ready (like, you know, brushing my hair), but I didn't want to keep Tracey waiting. Seems rude, since she was doing me a favor.
One of the things I hate about riding in cars with people like that is that I always struggle to make conversation. With one of my friends, it's easy, because we can't get enough of each other. Someone like Tracey, a real adult, who is way older than me and has daughters slightly younger than I, is a totally different game. It's not like talking to Kelly, where we can giggle about how stupid certain other students are, or Paul or Tony, where I can talk to those two about anything.
I went with talking about MSU, since her younger daughter is starting there in the fall. I told her about how much I liked the floor right above where she would be living.
Tracey talked to me about something I had heard of but haven't really looked into much. Her eldest daughter is at U of M, and she was complaining that there were all sort of hard drugs there. Mandy had discussed it to me, but I was never sure how widespread it was. I have friends at or who were once at U of M, and none of them ever talked about it. Of course, they're very hard working, straight-laced people. It's hard to imagine them doing blow off a frat boy's stomach.
The good news is, Tracey thinks that MSU is actually not much of a party school. Truth.
So we took my Grandma to the doctor's. It was mostly fine, but my Grandma was being more annoying than normal. My Grandma kept asking where we were going and why. She really hates going to the doctor. I don't know why. Worst thing that happens is that she gets her arm squeezed when they measure her blood pressure.
I judge waiting rooms by the magazines they have. I'm looking for something good, like Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, Wired. There are lots of other magazines I like to read, but I'm lucky if a waiting room has the first two, let alone something like Mother Jones or The Economist. Best I could find at this waiting room was Elle. Ugh. I'll take it.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
There's something odd in the way this man talks. He sounds like the old men in his books: slightly unhinged and paranoid.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I really like keeping personal correspondences with my friends. I know this seems super old school, and, well, it is, but there's something nice about it. I actually have people that I write snail mail letters to. My freshman year, my friend Owen wrote me a snail note and it felt so good to open it and see his handwriting. (We used to exchange notes in high school and middle school.) It was so familiar and good and Owen-y. (He would giggle if he heard me saying that, "Owen-y.") So, if you'd like to snail mail with me (which I doubt since most of you cooler kids like tech), please drop me a note. Send it by carrier pigeon if you have to. (I'll send you back a dead bird just for the giggles.)
Elsewise, I'm available via email, text messaging, and good-old fashion calling. If you want to chat or catch up or are wondering if I'm being super nice on this blog (Hint: Got to behave for my freshmen. Some of them actually look up to me.), then you know where to find me. If you for some reason don't have my contact infos, drop a comment or email elizamelvilleATyahooDOTcoDOTuk. (And tell me who the hell you are people. Can't read your mind over here. Not that much of a superwoman.) If I kept you around, it means I probably like you, which means I would LOVE to hear from you. So don't be a stranger none.
I am planning on coming to find you if you don't find me first. You might not like what it looks like when I have to go looking for you.
Although the piece I have produced and worked on over the last three days is only a little over ten pages long, I feel really good about. It's a solid first draft. Hell, it's the kind of first draft that looks better than most people's final versions.
It's fiction, which I haven't had time to write since March, so I'm feeling happy that I wrote something other than poetry.
And I decided to try something new and split the piece up into sections. One of the sections was titled "Blood, Brain, Jelly," in reference to the things someone had on their shirt. It's a great title.
(The stories has two mysteries in it, so it's not that strange of a title. Just a little quirky.)
Monday, May 24, 2010
But the good news is this: there's fanfiction. And if there's anything I'm really good at, it's writing about nerdy things.
So my plans for my fanfic is to pretend like the finale never happened and just write about Jack, Kate and Sawyer being the guardians of the island as an adorable threesome, because as most of you already know, I am pro-poly. And I'm sick of reading about monogamous relationships.
I'm trying to come up with a good bad guy. Charles Widmore is dead, so that's out. Maybe someone from the Dharma Initiative? Maybe just keep the SmokeNess Monster around as the bad guy? Hmmm...
I think I'm going to bring Clementine to the island though. Might be interesting. Eventually, I plan on various orphaned children coming to live on the island with the guardians, since who the heck can take care of Ji-Yeon? Cue Sawyer: "When did we start running an orphanage?"
Yeah, yeah, Lost is over. Whatever. I got to write a better coda for this thing, since the writers can't.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
First, Middle, and Last Name:
Instant Message Names (of any kind, including, but not limited to AIM, Skype or IRC. Please indicate which name goes with which system.):
Mobile/Cell Phone Number:
Home Phone Number:
Notes I Should Have About You:
Thanks for giving me your information. If you want, I'm happy to send you all of mine. :)
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Turns out they have internships available. In my beloved Portland, no less.
Pray for me that I get it.
I had fish, even though what I really wanted is steak. We have very little meat in our house. The caf spoiled me terribly, and I often find myself craving something higher in protein. This is especially ironic, since my Mom believes my lack of protein is why I have such terrible hair.
Mostly, my Dad talked to me about plans for the future. That's all anyone can talk to me about these days. It's sort of frustrating, since I'm already bored with my future.
He wants me to retake the GRE, since he thinks it's the best way I can guarantee getting into grad school. Maybe. I suspect it has less to do with me and more to do with money.
I noticed that one of the waiters was watching me from his seat at the bar. Seriously, boys, I can tell when someone is watching me and trying for me to not notice. Don't bother hiding it.
Friday, May 21, 2010
One of the sad things is that most literary journals aren't taking unsolicited manuscripts at this time of the year. Those include:
Alaska Quarterly Review
American Literary Review
The Antioch Review
Arts and Letters: Journal of Contemporary Culture
The Columbia Review
Then there are the journals that I can't publish with, because I don't meet their qualifications. One of the big disqualifications is that I am no longer an undergraduate or I don't go to a certain school. These include:
The Allegheny Review
Yale Literary Magazine
Or my favorite disqualification: no unsolicited manuscripts. I'm looking at you,
Contemporary American Voices
What frustrates me the most about all of this is that the entire point of having a literary magazine is to try and publish people before they get famous, that way you can brag that you published so-and-so before they got it big. I mean, maybe if I'm lucky I'll get an invitation from people like this, but so far, it's very frustrating.
Finally, I have a short list of places I can send to immediately:
Land Grant College Review
Beliot Poetry Journal
Black Warrior Review
Birmingham Poetry Review
The Capilano Review
This is actually not such a short list, and I know I shouldn't be complaining, but I feel like I've done a ton of work for not very much payoff. Though, I've worked in history, I know that's basically how research always goes.
I'm not a huge fan of all my Mom's friends, but a lot of them seem to think I'm hilarious.
They were discussing my Mom's boss, Cherrie, who I hate. Among other things, Cherrie likes to tell people who aren't Pentecostals that they're going to hell. Obviously, as someone who believes in religious tolerance, I have little patience for this kind of stuff.
Cherrie's what I like to call a Pharisee, one of those Christians that thinks that she somehow is better than others because of her religion. (The name is a reference to a parable of Jesus covered in Luke 18:9-14). Wrong. She just likes to use religion to justify her own behavior.
Anyway, Elizabeth (one of my Mom's friends) and my Mom were discussing Cherrie, and my Mom refrained from saying anything bad.
"You know," I said "It's okay in this household to call Cherrie a selfish bitch. It's the truth."
"You go girl!" Elizabeth said. Yeah yeah.
Later on in the evening, my Mom asked me if I had a zip drive she could borrow. "Sorry," I said.
"You lost my purple zip drive."
"I didn't lose it. I just don't know where it is."
Elizabeth thought this was hilarious.
In truth, I'm almost certain my zip drives are in a particular backpack. If not, they're buried with a bunch of my other college stuff.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Mostly, I've been doing research on a project I want to get started on, and I've been spending a lot of time in front of the computer. I'm wondering if the lack of exercise is the problem here.
Here's hoping tomorrow I will be feeling better.
This was an odd little documentary charting the many forms of the world's most famous detective. It discussed the literary incarnation, and then the play adaptations, and then the movie and tv versions. It was kind of fun to see the detective change so many forms.
The one thing I don't understand was how they conned Christopher Lee into hosting this program. He's Christopher Lee! Guy could be doing anything with his time; why was he doing this?
I get the distinct impression this was created to promote a new Sherlock Holmes movie that was coming out right at the same time. (Around 1985)
But the program was set in the Sherlock Holmes Alehouse, which I've actually been too! And apparently, it hasn't changed in 25 years.
Of course, if this program was made now, it would have to talk about the awesome that is Robert Downey Jr. in the latest movie and Hugh Laurie as a Holmes-as-doctor in House.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Unlike most people, it wasn't until Torchwood season two that I really fell for Barrowman. I didn't hate him beforehand, I just thought his character was kind of sleazy. But after the Proust thing and how sweet he was to Ianto, I was sold.
So, you know, as the Monty Python boys say "nudge, nudge, wink, wink."
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
My Mom yesterday said that she didn't want me to get burned out so fast because we still had a long way to go with her. I guess I don't want to get burned out either, but I have a sneaking suspicion that's not going to happen anything soon.
One of the good things about MSU is that I've been trained to go on maximum power, as it were, for months at a time. Months. This whole last school year was hell in a lot of ways, but looking back on it and how miserable I was, I think I handled it with grace. Barely anyone knew about my problems, and no one person knew about all of it. Which was for the best, since I can't expect people to just accept a drama dump.
Having the day off was nice. I got to sleep in, and that always makes me cheerful.
Monday, May 17, 2010
But talking to Kevin was nice. He told me about work and his boyfriend.
And now I see that Nate left me a message.
I'm so relieved that someone wants to talk to me. I've been a little lonely, as embarrassed as I am to admit that. I think it's mostly the stress of having to take care of my (almost-died-but-my-family-lied-to-me-about-it) Grandma.
When I was a teenager and got really depressed, I shut myself off from everyone. I didn't want to talk to everyone; being forced to interact with people at school, church, extracurriculars, etc. wasn't fulfilling anyone. (But then again nothing was. All I wanted to do was disappear into oblivion.)
Now, of course, the situations different: I'm in a forced isolation to do what's right and missing people a lot.
So, hey, if you're out there, keep those messages coming. I'm quite at my leisure. I'm willing to talk about anything with my friends.
I've heard of Amish romances, and I've been curious as to what exactly they're like to read. (Do they accurately depict the community? Is the writing decent?) And, well, now someone's gone and given me an opportunity to find out.
The first book is called Karen Kingsbury's Forever. It's apparently about a woman who is about to get married when she experiences "tragic news." That's vague and unhelpful. Is it the sort of tragedy that would intrigue me?
The second book was a 2-in-1 of The Postcard and The Crossroad. The Postcard is apparently about a young woman who, after her husband and son die, moves back home to help her family run a bread and breakfast. While there, she meets a man who has found a postcard and sets off a mysterious series of events. Again, the description was vague, which really irks me. But it seems much more interesting than the other novel, and you know, there's the promise of actually plot in this thing. (That's right: I read romance novels for plot. Go ahead and scoff.) The Crossroad is about the same couple. Only apparently now the heroine is hysterically blind. Hysterically blind? It's a good thing that people with disabilities have a literature of their own, but this feels like the author is just contriving drama.
I read a lot, and I like romance novels. Because finding a good romance novel is so hard, I do a lot of searching online, and I read a lot of descriptions hoping to find something promising. Neither of these sound like they could capture my attention the way other novels have, but the last book sounds better than the first, just because it's more specific.
Because I am a serious English major, people like to make fun of me for this interest of mine. I'll admit that finding a well-written, non-misogynist romance novel is like trying to find one needle in all the haystacks of Kansas, but when you find something good, you keep going back to it. That's why I love Austen so much. She actually knows what she's doing.
Actually, one of the best romance novels I've ever read was Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, which was a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I guess what surprised me most about it was that it managed to say a lot about Regency society, and there was still plenty of time for love.
Yeah, yeah, I know: I'm a romantic. So sue me. Or, better yet, if you're a cute guy, call me.
My Grandma has never been a romantic or a reader, so how she got these books I'm not sure. But maybe they were meant to find me just as much as they were meant to find her.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Although none of this is my Grandma's or Mom's fault, I'm feeling a little bitter about it today. Seems like all my peers get to have fun and I'm stuck being responsible and adult. Uh-huh, that's me, living la vida loca.
And then I feel guilty about thinking that, because my Grandma really does need people around these days to make sure she eats, takes her medicine, etc. And it really isn't that hard to watch her.
I'm probably going to have to do more of this as the summer goes on, because my sister is taking at least two classes this summer and is going to be too busy to help out much.
Part of me wishes it was a few summers back, when I was off, having adventures.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
My Dad recalled when we both got on AIM and would message each other even though we were sitting next to each other. He's right of course. What we didn't mention: we were usually making jokes about him.
So, if you're a friend and want to chat it up, let me know. I'll give you my Skype name and we can be Skype buddies. (?) If that's the proper term, or whatever.
I ended up watching Sense and Sensibility with my Dad tonight. (The 1995 version, natch.) It was on tv, and I knew that I shouldn't watch it, because it would just make me sad, but I did. My Dad came in midway through and started teasing me about it.
I really think I'm going to have to write real person fanfic on this movie, because I imagine there was a lot of drama going on. I read that Emma Thompson, who wrote the film, nearly lost the screenplay on her computer. She took a cab, in London, to Hugh Laurie's place and begged him and Stephen Fry to fix her computer. (It had to have been a desktop, given that it was the early 90s.) I can just imagine Laurie's and Fry's faces as she explained to them what happened. Lol.
Also, Thompson was married to Kenneth Branagh, but their relationship fell apart in 1995, around the time of this movie. And now Thompson is married to one of her co-stars, Greg Wise. It's hard not to think about what might have been going on...
This is probably better for me, excercise wise, just because I'm more likely to get my heart beating and to sweat a little. I actually hate sweating, because I feel like if you run into a cute guy, it's the first thing that's going to turn him off about you. (Though in my case, my personality would probably do that anyway.)
I was out on a particular trail that I haven't walked since December. Last time I was on this trail, I was with my Dad, Uncle and second cousin. It was totally different with them.
Also, I'm annoyed by people and their dogs. I realize that people love their animals very much. That doesn't make it okay to let your dog wander around without a leash. It's hurtful to the environment, especially if it goes off the trail. So don't do it. Respect the woods. Be a scout and leave it better than when you came to it.
While out, I came up with an idea for a present for Mom. It's something for the business she runs. I'm going to have to come up with a clever name for it, but I think she'll like it, since she complained about not having one last year.
Which is why I was so pleased that she isn't home today. I can sleep in without drama.
Getting up was another matter. I went down to the kitchen, where my sister was eating. I scavenged around a bit. There's nothing to eat here. I should be more specific: there's nothing to eat here I haven't had twelve times already this week or isn't bad for me. So I'm often left wondering what I should eat. Skipping meals is bad for you, but I often find, despite my hunger, that there's nothing here I want to eat, and end up not eating. I go for the not eating.
Then I'm back up in my room, turning the computer on. And there's no internet. There's internet for everyone else in the house, but not me and my computer Stella. No. This would be too easy. I mess around with it for a minute. Nothing.
I just got a new device a few days ago that was suppose to make it so I could get internet easier. It was working perfectly for the last few days. My Dad asked how it was last night at dinner. "Great," I said. Should have knocked on wood. I went to go get my Dad and asked him to look at it, since if anything should happen to Stella when I'm using it, I'm in trouble. If anyone else messes it up, it's the universe's fault.
So I'm back downstairs in the kitchen, again, rummaging, looking for something to eat. Still nothing. I consider one of my usual techniques for not being hungry while at home: drinking water. It's the sort of terrible thing an anorexic does, but it gives me the brief allusion that I'm full. I go with it. As I'm opening the fridge, one of the magnets falls off the door and breaks.
That's it. It's official: today is crappy. I've been up for a whole nine minutes and I've gotten frustrated by three things already. Now you wonder why I hate being at home? My minimum for frustration at school is usually three hours.
My Dad comes down and asks if he can reboot the computer. Seriously? I could have done that. I thought about doing that, but considering how bad it is for Stella, I decided against it, because there must be some other way to fix the problem. "Don't you think it's bad that it has to be rebooted?" I ask him.
"Look, there's no other way to fix it. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it."
Woha. That was uncalled for. I asked a question, one that, given the circumstances, is valid. Rebooting is not good for a computer. You should do it only in extreme circumstances. Like, you know, when there is no other way to fix something.
This is one of the things I really struggle with when it comes to my Dad. He doesn't take criticism at all, to the point where it's impossible to have a conversation with him, even a calm one, over a problem. As bad as I am with criticism, I am not nearly this bad. This is one of the ways I hope I am never like my Father. If you have a problem with him, you're stuck, because he'll never listen to you. He'll never consider that you might have feelings and that he is (unintentionally or not) stepping all over them.
He goes back upstairs to mess around with the computer, but has no luck with it, and gives up after ten minutes
Oh, and now I'm hungry again. Perfect.
Friday, May 14, 2010
There I was, cursing my self for not going to a better school with computer classes on HTML design. I was annoyed that Google, who owns Blogger, has help pages with links that don't go anywhere. You click on a link and you get a "this page doesn't exist" message. Then there is a page with the details I needed to hear but none of the helpful bits where it tells you how to get to that program. Tres annoying.
Finally, I found the Blogger Template Design, which is this big fancy program that lets me pick the layout and background and color and, most important of all, the width of the page, which is exactly what I wanted to fix so I could post YouTube videos without them looking strangely cut off. My previous layout (Son of Moto, what-what!) was not having any of it. It apparently can't be messed with in the layout designer. Which made me wonder what the heck is going on. They design a fancy program to make layout design easier for us Luddites to figure out but doesn't allow us to play with the even easy pick and choose layouts? Hmmm...
There was something about making this new layout that felt very Frankensteiny. I felt like I was creating a monster. A green monster that was giving me a headache. So long as it doesn't kill the love of my life, read Paradise Lost or run off into the wilderness as I'm dying on a ship, I guess I'm good.
Which segways into my next thought: does this layout give anyone a headache? It's giving me a headache, but that could be the stress and irritation that comes with technology.
I really love the bright green color, which is appropriate, given that I'm a Spartan.
That said, this layout is problematic. Most of my YouTube videos I'm posting here don't fit. It's really irritating. It's time for a change.
So, if anyone has any good ideas in terms of some place to find decent layouts that I can use, comment away.
In the meantime, if you happen upon the blog in the next few days and wonder what the heck is going on, it's because I'm attempting to fix this thing, me and my very basic HTML skills that I taught myself in the seventh grade.
What is this?
I should probably explain: I love Lee Pace. As far as I'm concerned, he was my celebrity boyfriend a year ago. I love him in a whole slew of things: Pushing Daisies, The Fall, Wonderfalls, The Good Shepard, Miss Pettrigrew Lives for a Day, even Possession. Which is why this terribly looking children's movie that makes my soul die inside actually makes me angry. I've needed a Lee Pace fix forever, and this is what I get?
My Grandma is often referred to at her nursing home as "The Puzzle Lady." Like most nursing homes, there is a puzzle always sitting out on a particular table. My Grandma likes to sit there and, in addition to putting the puzzle together, people watch.
My Grandma's people watching is one of the many ways that I find myself thinking about how similiar the two of us are. I love people watching. Never feel bad about leaving me alone in a public place with lots of people, like say, the caf at school. I like watching people. They're fascinating.
So, for part of today, my Grandma, sister and I worked on the puzzle. Right now, it's a picture of eggs elaborately decorated. Possibly they are suppose to be those fancy Russian eggs that the Romanovs were into as serfs starved. Anyway, I had a decent puzzle day. I put together a fair amount of pieces. Sweet.
There's really not much to do when hanging with my Grandma, but I try to keep myself entertained. I played some solitare. Read a little. Texted with my friends Philip and Ashley. Talked to my Uncle on the phone. Watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Laid down for a little. Like I said, not much to do.
In a little while, I'm going to walk my Grandma down to dinner. I was hoping to have an exciting Friday night planned, but it looks like I've got to be an adult and get some stuff together for a possible job. Bah.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I'm going to ask the rest of you to do the same.
Since we're both of a certain religious persuation, I did a little research. One of the patron saints of schools is Thomas Aquinas. (Which makes a lot of sense, if you're familiar with him. He spent a lot of time working at the University of Paris and was a Dominican, a type of friar famous for working as teachers and preachers.)
I did a little looking online, I found a Student's Prayer, which is actually surprisingly decent. I had a high school teacher mention that as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools. I found an more official looking prayer, but nothing that actually helps me pray that Josie will get into the school she wants to. You'd think by now, someone would have begged Thomas Aquinas for that exact thing.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I guess I really am home.
The only problem with it raining like this is that I want to crawl back into bed.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Her therapist is really nice. My Mom mentioned that I had just graduated. "High school?" she asked.
Damn, if only. "No, I just finished up at Michigan State."
I have maintained for a long time that I look younger than I am. When I was in the seventh grade, one nasty piece-of-work eighth grader asked me if I was seven. Even now, I think I easily pass for much younger. When I mentioned this once to Dan, he disagreed with me (in a rare change up for him, it was one of the least diplomatic things he's ever said to me. International relations could use someone like him.) But ha, I'm right, case closed. Even a therapist says so.
But I digress. What's really heartbreaking is how my Grandma has basically given up the will to live. She doesn't want to do anything anymore, even the simple important stuff, like combing your hair or eating or walking. She fought with the therapist the entire time about walking with a walker and using a bike to exercise. At one point, she put her head down and cried. I've never seen her cry. Even when her husband died, her reaction was to be a pain in everyone's ass, take cold medication, harass her godson about his hair follicle situation and yell at her husband's corpse every chance she got.
The therapist asked what she was like when she was younger. "A ballbuster," I thought. I remember her being really harsh, and supposedly, I was a favorite and she softened as she got older. I can only imagine how difficult she was when she was at her prime.
I realized in October that this is one of the few good things about her dementia: it's erased ninety percent of her personality. She's still difficult sometimes, but in sort of a passive way. She just doesn't do whatever you asked her to do, but if you try to have a conversation with her, she'll sort of just tell you what you want to hear and keep on doing whatever. Before, she'd yell and carry on and actively try to make things harder on you. The whole passive thing is frustrating in its own way, but at least you don't get sworn at. In more than one language.
I find myself really annoyed with this whole thing, and then I feel bad because I've done pretty much nothing to help. Not because I didn't want to, mind, but because I was up at school dealing with at least seven other problems, most of them interpersonal. Which is also why I feel guilty about living at home again. I feel like my Mom would really appreciate me not being a layabout. If I was gone, she could at least delude herself into thinking I was being successful.
Also, my Grandma has a roommate at this place, and she irks me even more. The woman plays her tv SO LOUD. Like, it even gives me a headache, and I'm not the kind for headaches and am one of those teenagers who blasted their ears with the likes of Nirvana, AFI, and Alkaline Trio. The hell if I can hear. I would like to read my science book in peace without being distracted by some irritating design show about people with stupid condos who are way overpriced.
This morning, I found this video waiting for me in my inbox from my feminism professor. Even though it's true that she is a huge Bronte sisters fan, this is not exactly her style. But I love it. It makes me smile.
"Girls can't write books, ha ha ha!" Lol. I love the idea of boys and girls enacting feminist narratives.
Also, brontesaurus. The only thing I'm a little bothered by is the lace on the dinosaur. I feel like it needs an old school cameo pin too.
My one disappointment when it comes to this professor was not taking her Jane Austen class last year. I think one of my seminars was at the same time, and I didn't want to give that up because I didn't know her and had no idea if she was going to teach a good class. Turns out the feminism class was awesome. I would have almost certainly enjoyed her Austen class.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
These were probably not the lyrics I should have been thinking about as I walked in to the rehab facility, but then again, my Grandma does love to tell people no.
My Grandma got sick sometime in late March. I say sometime because my family lied to me about what was going on with her. I only found out because they couldn't come up with a better excuse not to come see me give several readings and lectures that were suppose to be the culmination of years of work as an undergraduate.
Every semester I was at MSU, she managed to get sick. You would think, eighth time over, that I would stop getting upset about it, but I always manage to. Even when I think "oh, I seem fine," something happens that proves to me I'm clearly not okay. Last semester, I was at an open mic night and a young woman played a song she wrote for her Grandmother, and I ended up sobbing. Luckily, no one took notice.
My Grandma was really happy to see us. She was smiling and making silly faces as I tried to take pictures of her. I really want a picture of her hands. I think her hands, with their large veins, are fascinating. I realize other people hate the veiny look, but I think it's beautiful, like an abstract painting.
A man with a ukele was in the cafeteria, playing Hank Williams and Neil Diamond songs. He was an excellent musician, though the kind of singer that so many people hate. As he was working though the Carter Family's "Let the Circle Be Unbroken," I thought about how much I wish I would magically summon a singer-songwriter I like in (Double Saginaw Familiarity, Spitzerspace Telescope, Priscilla Ahn, Robert Francis, Liz Phair...) rather than listen to him. I'm bored to tears with "good chorale" singing I hear so frequently, but I don't like the dying cat aesthetic either. My Grandma screwed up her face and said "at least he's trying." Later, she complained about him to a nurse.
We cleaned her up, because the nurses never take as good of care of her as they should. Her skin is really dry now and peeling off. I'm wondering if we should get some scrub that they sell at Bath and Body Works.
While I was waiting, I read a science book and texted Paul. My Grandma has a roommate at rehab, and she had on the Tigers game and then a reality show on remodeling on, both really loudly. My Grandma showed me her rosary and told me that my Grandfather gave it to her. She's seems to have forgotten that he died almost seven years ago.
The worst part was saying goodbye. She started crying and asked why she couldn't come home with us. I tried to explain that she had to be there to get better, but logical answers don't really work well with her.
She moves back to her place on Wednesday. In the meantime, I'm going to be going to see her everyday. Then on Wednesday, I'll be helping move her back to her apartment. I might be staying with her Friday since my Mom has to work. So, basically, expect a lot of updates about her over the next few days and in general. When I'm back at home, my family spends a lot of time taking care of her.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I love the PhD outfits that people wear. There's something about them that makes me think of wizards and Nostradamus. Since I'm a medievalist, I know this is not as off as everyone else might assume, but I find myself wanting to inquire of everyone I meet what everything means. I myself know that this cord and that stole and these pins all have specific meanings, and I know what mine mean, but I am curious as to others.
The woman they had come to speak was really awesome. At twenty-two, she had started her own company. (!) She then made it big through designing golf clothes for women, which she implied were demeaning.
As a feminist, I approve of a woman working for herself and doing something that huge. There aren't a lot of women CEOs out there, though sadly, they tend to make significantly less money than male CEOs. I was thinking that maybe one of the things that might possibly account for this disparity was that female CEOs were more egalitarian in how their companies funds were distributed, perhaps paying their workers more or investing more back into the company.
I have thought frequently about starting my own company. My family has saved money for when I marry, but I'm not planning on marriage since I disapprove of the so many aspects of the institution. I think I still deserve this money (since my sister gets the same amount for the wedding she will almost inevitably have), and I was thinking that starting a company might be the right idea. I've been quietly playing around with a few ideas.
It was really nice to see some people. I ran into Ben, who I took Young Adult Lit with. We spoke a little about the future (what everyone seems to be talking about these days) and a mutual friend. I also got tons of pictures with some friends from a program I was in a few years back, and a few people I've had classes with. I ran into one of my professors, and I thought maybe he hated me these days, but he was nicer to me than I've ever seen him. He said I made the department look good and that I had been an asset. I don't think he'll ever realize how much those words meant to me.
Actually, the thing I found most fascinating was the signers they had.
I'm not sure that signers is even the right term, but they are the people who interpret the ceremony using sign language. I find these people and their words fascinating. Paul knows some sign language, and I guess I should interrogate him more on this subject, but I like watching people sign, even though I'm not hard of hearing. (Ask my Mom, and she'll tell you I am.) There's something almost dance-like it. I was sitting maybe ten feet away from the signers, and I watched them more than some of the speakers. The blond was particularly great because she had such great expressions on her face for all of it. (Is that a sign of advanced signing? Or just a personal touch?)
As I was contemplating this, I realized that what I should be doing is writing a creative nonfiction piece on this. (How many people have read a piece, especially a creative piece, on sign language?) I was thinking I could title the piece "Signs and Wonders." :)
So I'm going to try to nap. Wish me luck on the getting up on time thing.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Tonight, I had to take down my wall decorations. I'm really into collage, and every year of college, I do a wall collage of some kind. It's gotten increasingly personal as the years have gone on, and this year was very scrapebooky, but obviously on the wall. I took some pictures of this year's efforts, and I might post them.As I was about to take it down, I remembered taking down the one I had freshman year. I remember as I was working on the stuff above my desk, Emily came in. I was listening to Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm, which I was obsessed with and trying to write a musical over. Emily winkled her nose as she spoke to me. Emily hates country music, and that's what she interpreted Aimee Mann as. She's not country music, she's not even as irritating as adult contemporary!
So tonight I put on Aimee Mann's Lost in Space. Seems appropriate, given how I am anticipating feeling lost, as this will the first time in my life I'm not in school. And because the album was so important to me at the end of high school. It felt too perfect not to do.But that's not all. As I was working on my wall, Dan came over to hang out and chat a little. This too, felt like another bizarre moment of full circle. When I was putting up my first wall collage freshman year, Erik watched me, and we chatted about some stuff he was having problems with. Somehow, Dan watching me bring it down while we chatted felt totally right.
So here I am, thinking about the end of high school, the beginning of freshman year, the end of freshman year, and the end of college. I feel really sad and little scared for my immediate future and also excited. Like I did at all those moments.
I'm planning on having some more of these moments tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see how if it keeps happening.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I guess my biggest goal for this "going out into the real world" is to not be fearful. It's so much harder than it sounds. I don't want to be afraid to try new things, or hell, new people. I want to be brave. I want to face the world head on.
I don't want regrets anymore. I'm done with that baggage.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
First Erin and John's place. Minori, Liza and Amanda were there. We went out and wandered around the city for awhile, then ended up at an apartment. Much drinking. Lots of talking and giggling. Mostly, Erin was entertaining people with her great stories of her Dad.
Next, we went to see Marguerite. Virginia happened to be there, and we talked a little. Said goodbye to Bailey, who will be leaving tomorrow.
Then I wandered over to see Josh. I hung out for a while with Shannon, Alex, Josh, Jeff, Kristina and Juicebox. Singing and dancing may or may not have been involved.
Next, downstairs, with Nate, Sam and Katie.
And then in the cafeteria with Matt, Maura and others. I mostly made sex jokes at poor Matt's expense.
Finally, I tried to see if Josie was around, but she seems to have gone to bed. Can't say I blame her.
'Twas a good night, obviously. I'm going to miss having my friends around.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Teresa of Avila paper: Attempted to rework the thesis. Still sucky, but less sucky than it previously was. Professor will probably hate this paper, and not without reason, but maybe this time he won't call the writing sloppy. I suspect it'll still be better than some of the other papers in the class.
Matilda of Tuscany: Kelly read and loved it and thought it flowed well. It's okay. I feel like much of the paper is "evidence dump," by which I mean there's tons of evidence but not quite enough analyzing. Still, it's better than the Teresa paper. It's a little short length wise, but this professor loves me, so hopefully, it'll pass. Plus, I pwned the essay exam last week. I should be doing well.
Thesis: God almighty, where to begin? At this point, I think this was the worst idea ever. There's way too much info. And it's such a boring paper. 24 pages of close readings, particularly feminist and colonial interpretations. Counting appendix and bibliography, we're talking 43 pages. This one's going to cost me to print out at the computer lab. My thesis adviser is a tough grader; I'm probably in trouble.
God, what I hate most about this is that nothing is ever good enough for me. I would feel less bad about my raging perfectionism right now if what I wrote was great, but it's only so-so.
Tomorrow, my plans are to turn in papers, maybe hang with some people (like my fav professors and friends,) read outside (David Sedaris, Dave Eggers, maybe Louise Rennison), and go to the bar with Erin.
But seriously, people, do me a favor, and pray for me over these papers. Going to need it.
Monday, May 3, 2010
I was in a cheerful mood earlier this evening because Kelly really liked my Matilda essay. She said it flowed well. I would like to think, given how much I write, that I am getting better at it. I am pretty proud of it, I must admit.
Tomorrow is crunch day. Wish me luck.
Geez. 60 posts. Doesn't seem possible.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The first thing I thought about was the time that I lost my ID as a freshman. If you've ever lost your ID, you know how miserable it is. Rachel and Josie and I tossed my room looking for it. Turns out it had somehow gotten into the laundry. Someone found it, had pity on me, and send it back to me.
I was looking at her face on the ID, and I couldn't help but feel badly for her. She had big eyes, and even more noticeably, big bags under the eyes. She looked tired. If that's what she looked like when she got the picture done before beginning at MSU, she's probably exhausted now.
I put the ID in a lost and found and emailed the girl. I hope she gets it back. This is the worst time of the year to be losing something.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
One of the strange things about working on research papers is that you end up having a lot of random thoughts, as I discussed last night. Today was no different.
First, I discovered that Matilda apparently signed with the title "ducatrix" when she was married to Welf V. It's a unique title, since it's inbetween duke and duchess. I've been thinking about what mistress name I am going to have. Even though I don't want to work professionally like the lovely Mistress Matisse, who I admire greatly, I do want to have kinky relationships. As far as I can tell, a mistress name is not a requirement, but it would be nice to have one. Ducatrix Matilda? Or maybe Ducatrix Madeline? Usually, it's more like "Mistress Kinky Name Here", but since I stumbled across this little history nugget, it seems like a sign. Although I have been playing around with Anathema as a mistress name. It's just strange enough and has the right sort of dramatic history.
Also, I have once again managed to find the sort of material that might make a good historical romance. I'm working on the relationship between Matilda of Tuscany and Gregory VIII, and they were very close, even to the point where some angry bishops and Emperor Henry IV declared it being inappropriately so. I actually don't want to write a May/December romance about them, not because there's anything wrong with that, but because my sense is they were more of the father/daughter variety. I want to write one of those "historical" novels that Philippa Gregory manages to make so much money off of.
Philippa Gregory writes about real people, and she gets all of the facts she has to get right, but then she basically makes up her own crazy stuff about people. Her books are trashy, but in a way that is hard to notice when you're reading them. (Though the American movie version of The Other Boleyn Girl makes it super obvious.)
My trashy not-really-based-on-history historical novel is this: Gregory was the literal father of Matilda. He knocks up Beatrice when she was hostage of Godfrey V of Lorraine and Gregory was in Germany at the court of Henry III. (See? Based on actual truth, but twisted in a way that is highly unlikely.) Adorable child Matilda hanging out with younger, not-yet-Pope Gregory. Gregory, cunning man that he is, has Matilda's two older siblings, Beatrice and Frederick, murdered, laying the ground for Matilda to inherit her father's holdings. Fantastic.
Like I said last night: probably not helping me write papers. But fun to think about none the less.
One of the things I find that makes paper writing easier (other than say treats and not being under the gun and not having irritating professors and having something interesting to say) is music. Mostly, I've been listening to the delightful Gimme Fiction by Spoon. (It is up, if you look, on YouTube.) I have a lot of thoughts on the album, mostly positive, but I feel like I don't want to carry on too much about it here. Mostly, let me just say that it's nice to be singing lines like "Great dominions, they don't come cheap" midway through a sentence explaining the rhetoric of femininity in Teresa of Avila's writing.
The other song I'm in love with? "Break It Up" by Patti Smith. Smith is one of those people I put on lists about ideas/movies/music I am promising myself to check out. Friday afternoon, I was on my office's computer, and one of the other workers usually messes with it so that it plays random stuff off of Last.fm. Mostly, it's hipster stuff, which I have mixed feelings towards. The first thing that came up this time was this song, and I fell in love. Now I'm going to have to listen to the whole album.