Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Earlier Part of Work Today

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Someone's Got Nice Pipes

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

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Walking and Dancing in the Streets

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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ghana Poetry Project

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


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

Friday, November 26, 2010

Satellite Telephone

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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Gobble Gobble

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

Run Rabbit Run

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Racism: Still Not Dead

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

War's "The World is a Ghetto"

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wrong Number

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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Poetry Problems

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

Extra Annoyed

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Archive of David Foster Wallace

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

Friday, November 19, 2010


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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making an Effort to Understand

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

News Report on Quidditch

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ain't No One Like Him

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pete Seeger and Friends

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

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

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

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

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

Pete Seeger singing "Jacob's Ladder." 

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

On Education

Was doing some reading today, which discussed, among other things, the dominance of American/Western views on education over non-Western views on education. The book also discussed how non-Westerns don't necessarily want American/Western culture.
Although I still believe this to be true for the majority of people, my roommate Elena is a great counterpoint. Elena is Turkish, and at one point she told me that she doesn't understand why certain people in Turkey would dislike her American-influenced education.  (She went to a special school run by missionaries.)  I tried to explain to her the problems with neocolonialization, about how this kind of education culturally changes people, but she didn't really get it.
But maybe I'm hitting too close to home here. After all, Elena gave up a job to make herself come here to take classes so she can take a test to get into an American school. She doesn't want a European or even Canadian school. American. She wants Duke or NYU, well-known American schools. Questioning why the education she might recieve in Turkey is apparently not as desirable might hit a little too close to her heart, because, after all, she's buying into a system that privileges the opposite of what she mostly is: male, white, Christian, American, native-born, English-speaking, etc. If she questions why she is buying into this system, she might fall apart, because then why is she taking a six month class to pass a test she's already tried at three previous times? (Especially when she seems to have no natural ability for it or a particular desire to study.) 
I mostly find myself feeling sorry for her, because her view of America is so much different than mine.  There are so many things I feel like are fundamentally wrong here, and I keep thinking about how cultural hegemony is so dangerous, so sad, and she just eats this culture up without any thought as to what it is sublimanially telling her. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harry and Hermione

I must be having a Harry Potter week, because I ended up reading this little post on the relationship between Harry and Hermione
I should come out to you all now, officially, as a Harry/Hermione shipper.  And unlike most fans, it's actually because I hate Ron.  I think he's a jerk.  He's nasty to Hermione, he is selfish, and he's a coward.  I was really hoping he would die in the last book, though if he went out with a blaze of glory, I guess I would have been okay with that.  (I wish a lot more characters would have died in the books, just because it was meant to be a war, and it was meant to be sad and hurt, and basically no one of any consequence died.  I think half the Weasley family and most of the students should have died.  I really wanted Neville to go down in the most epic way possible, saving the school in a way Harry never did, because in a lot of ways he was more of a hero.) 
I also dislike Ginny because she had no character development.  She was one character, and then suddenly she was someone else.  Hermione did the same thing, but the other way around, become weaker and more hysterical in the later books.  This really irks me, because I feel like it's poor writing and misogynist.  Women get depicted enough in the world as weak/emotional/a pain in the ass.  We need more stories about strong women. 

Not the Brightest Bulb

I like Elena, but she's kind of an idiot.  She has this strange tendency to leave the bathroom light on.  At first, I thought it was just that she had been in a hurry and forgot to turn it off.  Then I thought it was an accidental habit.  But today I noticed that she was sitting near the bathroom, could see the light was on, and was simply choosing not to turn it off. 
I guess this is one of my pet peeves: leaving something on when you're not using it.  It's bad for the environment.  And it's a light switch; it's not like it's hard to turn off. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Qudditch World Cup

Wednesday night I was informed that there was a Quidditch World Cup.  I thought this was pretty brillant.  What no one told me was that my school, Michigan State University, would be playing.  So basically, in addition to the football games I usually think about on Saturday, tomorrow I'm going to be thinking about the Qudditch Game. 

I love the above video.  This was taken a few years ago, but it includes a couple of my friends, Virginia and Bailey.  I'm so proud of them for participating. 

I really want to go to this.  I really want to cheer and say things like "Tonight we dine IN THE GREAT HALL!"

Go Spartans!  Get the Snitch!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just Baked

Right before one of my friends pointed me to this website, I was thinking about how much I wanted a canoli for dinner tonight.  (Not that I need dessert, I've just been craving one all day.) 
Now I find myself looking at this and thinking "Yes.  I will be unable to resist something like that, which is why I'm going to avoiding those shops like the plague." 
But I do find I have a list of cupcakes in my head: Vanilla Chocolate Stuffed Cupcake, Oreo Cookie Cupcake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake, White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake, Blueberry Cobbler Cupcake, Carrot Cake Cupcake, Key Lime Pie Cupcake, Trail Mix Cupcake, Original Buttercream...
Um.  Yeah.  Have a bit of problem. 
I kind of am curious if they take bizarre requests.  Do you think they'd be willing to have a go at making cupcakes for every flavor listed in the Beatles "Savoy Truffle" song?
And wouldn't it be great if they brought Pushing Daisies back and Ned worked in a cupcake shop, since cupcakes are "in" right now?  No.  Okay then.  Just me. 

Giving up Poetry

Today I have been a good girl and have studied nearly all morning (taking a break to eat breakfast.) 
Among other things, I've been reading about Gerard M. Hopkins.  Apparently, he made a list of things to give up for Lent and one of them was poetry.  (He was a poet.)  I find this really rather fascinating.  I get that the point of Lent is to give things up, things you love, but the idea is to give up things you love and aren't necessarily good for you.  For example, playing video games.  Video games aren't bad, but they probably aren't good for you, especially if you are playing them instead of doing other work.  I can't imagine what good reason anyone could come up with for giving up poetry. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Now That's Talent

At dinner tonight I was sitting with Bethany and Olivia.  Crazy woman from a few posts ago was sitting at a table nearby.  At one point she burped (exploded, really) loudly and all three of us whipped our heads around, not realizing it was her. 
"Now that's a talent," I said.  Bethany and Olivia both smiled.  The talent show was tonight, and Bethany was performing. 
I asked Elena if she wanted to go to the talent show we were having, and she said no, because she had to study.  Then she sat down and started watching a tv show online.  Okay, I thought.  Elena isn't very social.  She'll sit with me in the caf if I'm alone, but if I'm with anyone else, she'll sit alone.   
But I went anyway, sitting down next to Lavina.  We chatted a bit, and then Jenny came in to sit behind me.  She was exicted for this talent show because she thinks everyone here is talentless.  Considering who I knew was performing, I had to agree, but I was here mostly for the treats and the laugh. 
It was worse than I thought.  First, they had Portia come up and read a poem.  Portia strikes me as really stupid, but I had no idea she was a writer.  The announcer said she had even been published and then I thought "maybe she really is good."
But she wasn't.  Poetry is so hard, I know, but her poem was about the language of love, and about the soul, and at one point the "pencil of justice" was involved.  When she said this it was really funny, just because she said it like a mother scolds a child.  Jenny started cracking up behind me.  I was trying really hard to ignore her because if I started giggling I might not stop. 
Then a solo by Mary Kay.  She has a low voice, which might have been fine, but she was totally off-key the entire time.  She was good enough to dance through her song though. 
Then a couple of artists showed off their paintings.  The announcer kept saying they were watercolor, but I'm pretty sure watercolors don't really manage black (I know because I tried during my Gothy art days).  I'm almost certain they were oil paintings.  Also, someone took responsibility for this creepy painting of a man that eyes follow me every time I'm in the room.  So I guess now I know who to blame.
Then Bethany's dance.  It was by far the best performance of the night, but I didn't think it was that good.  As terrible as this is to say, I've seen such better dancing, though there were parts where she was really fluid or did something bendable and impressive. 
Next, a duet featuring Mary Kay and Mimi.  This is what I really wanted to see.  Mimi is one of the most overbearing people I've ever met.  A group of girls had gotten together last night to watch Glee while Mimi and Mary Kay were practicing, and apparently it was wretched. 
And it was.  They did the Beatles "Eight Days a Week."  Both were low singers, and again, off key.  Mimi was trying to concentrate, but Mary Kay kept making devil horns behind her head.  She wanted us to clap, so we started clapping, then she tried to get us to do a little double clap thing, and it took the audience three choruses to get it.  And then Mary Kay started doing this thing where she would lean in really close to the mic every odd line so it would be "eight days a week I LOOOOVVE you.  Eight days a week IS NOT enough to show I CARE."  And awkward like that.  This went on the last two thirds of the song. 
Mimi was kind of mean to Jenny yesterday, so I quietly enjoyed the making a fool of herself bit. 
Then a few girls came up and showed off these handbags one of them made.  One was actually really beautiful and, depending on price, I would totally buy. 
And then an older woman got up and sang "Second Hand Rose."  She wasn't great, but she was wearing black sequined hot shorts.  She had great legs for her age, but I was totally shocked by this, because my Grandma would complain about age appropriate clothing.  And because this woman is part of the group that complains about certain people wearing pajama bottoms at dinner, even though they cover the entire leg. 
I asked, since Thanksgiving is coming up, if I could help with a particular dinner service they're doing for the homeless.  They said they had too many volunteers, but thanked me.  I'm sort of bummed out about it because I was planning on it. 
Then we had treats.  I had apple cider (the only stuff of it I've had all year) and pumpkin pie.  It was a bit rich, but I sat with Jenny and Elizabeth and Clare and later Ruth came over and we had a good chat.  Elizabeth wants to get Clare and Jenny to do a play with her next talent show (yes, there's another one next month...)  Clare's busy that night, so I suspect it won't happen.  And Ruth, who I haven't seen for ages, seems to be pretty tired these days. 
I was pretty entertained, I must admit. 
As I was going home, I passed by Bethany and some other girls watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
"When are we going to see less of Stabler's clothes?" I asked.  Some of the girls laughed. 
"He just got shot, you know."
I immediately left.  I can't take hearing that. 
When I got back, Elena was still watching tv. 

Bird Brain

Today I went outside to take a break and have a snack.  I watched a man feed birds. I hate it when people feed animals. He was grossly eating some kind of sandwich (like wolfing it down like a beast ripping a deer up) and getting stuff everywhere while three pigeons and four sparrows duked it out for crumbs near his feet. At one point one of the pigeons flew up right in front of him, and the man reached out to him, almost enveloping him in a hug. 
Still ticks me off.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chuckie D. Was Here

Ms. Beaton of Hark a Vagrant! has created quite a great series of comics, frequently dealing with history and literature.  In a recent guest comic, Darwin has his adventures.
What really intrigues me about this particular comic is the idea of combining Darwin with Pokemon.  At one point, Darwin says he has to "catch them all" and now I am imagining a whole long story where Darwin "captures" creatures in Poke balls and battles it out with various naturalists (no one used the term "scientist" back in Darwin's day.)  I'm thinking maybe he should battle all those contemporaries who criticized him.  And maybe for good measure he should be traveling around with Charles Lyell, who inspired and supported him.
On a related note, I've wanted to write a screenplay about Charles Darwin for years but still haven't gotten around to it yet.  Don't worry: I promise I will. 

Not My Morning

This has not been my morning.  I got up early this morning and was greeted with technology problems, namely, my MP3 player will not play anything.  Or change its screen.  It's frozen.  I've only relatively recently gotten this thing, and I'm a little afraid that I've already managed to destroy it.  (What if I can't get it to work?  I still haven't managed to fix it yet.) 
Then after breakfast, I managed to get myself locked out.  So I had to take the elevator down to the lobby and ask for a spare key.  This would be fine if the elevator didn't take so long to go anywhere. 
As I was getting down to the lobby, one of the scary women was hanging about.  I call her scary because her hair is always crazy, she wears the same t-shirt for days in a row, and has a tendency to sit in the lobby for what appears to be hours, looking around confused.  I've also never heard her talk, just make grunting sounds.  She got on the elevator after I got off of it. 
I have two keys, one for my place and another for my mailbox.  I accidentally grabbed the one for my mailbox instead of the one I needed.  So I took the opportunity to open my mailbox (which I haven't checked in over a week) and found two letters from Josie inside. 
I got the spare key and waited another couple of minutes for the elevator.  It was early and no one else was around.  I opened Josie's letters and briefly scanned them.  No real news in them, just nice thoughts.  Then I happened to turn around and another woman was watching me.  She doesn't usually make me wonder, but I found myself thinking about how both creepy and annoying this morning had been. 
As we were riding the elevator up, we stopped at a floor and the scary woman got into the elevator, making a few grunts in the process.  And then she got off on the same floor as someone else.  I'm starting to wonder, since I've just seen her get off various floors based on when other people are getting off if she knows where she needs to go.  Though maybe she just needs to sit down.  She has one of those walkers that has a bench built in, but she is a little bigger, so maybe she doesn't fit into it? 
Finally got my place open and found my key was right where I imagined it was.  Returned the key back to the lobby and then considered how I already managed to have two screw ups today.  So I decided to nap, since I didn't have work until later.
And then I had a really strange dream involving JJ from Criminal Minds.  In it, she was living in this gigantic mansion (which makes no sense, considering her probable income) and then someone was threatening to kill her baby.  And for some reason it turned out to be three Goth witches who showed up to the house, who I picked a fight with almost immediately.  It doesn't really make sense to me either.
I'm hoping the rest of the day goes well, just because I'm still stressed about the disaster that is my MP3 player. 

Monday, November 8, 2010


One of my ex-roommates pointed me to this first great video of Conan scrubbing up his desk for his new late night gig.  I'm not sure about anyone else, but I'm disappointed to see him not take his shirt off.  (The little bit we can see through the dark t-shirt is pretty intriguing.)  This is just meant to be funny, but I think it's like that moment where Conan is playing guitar over his friends playing Guitar Hero; hilarious but also very attractive. 

I started watching Conan back in middle school, back when they would play him in the evenings before the previous night's Daily Show.  I loved him and spent a lot of time thinking he would make a great boyfriend just because he'd be random and strange all the time, but in an endearing way, not in the creepy or embarrassing way that sometimes happens.
So, yeah, I'm excited for Conan to be bringing sexy back, even if I don't really have a tv right now. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Riddle Me This

I have a love/hate relationship with riddles.  Two Nerd History Girls recently posted some riddles from a  woman's magazine.
As I was reading through them, I thought about how crossword puzzles have a distinctive style of clues, and how interesting it would be if someone made these riddles the clues for a crossword, so that it was a unique crossword in that it had an unusual style of clues.  Maybe if I have time I'll make one?  (Once the ladies post answers, since it's too late for me to figure most of these out and I'm supposed to be studying right now anyway.)
On a related note, women's magazines are really fascinating.  And not always as different from the modern variety.  I don't know if anyone's done this yet, but an online archive of them might be a lot of fun. 

First Drafts

Shared some newer poems with Robert yesterday.  He says that he really liked them and then named two as the most interesting.  Also, he liked the imagery.  (Robert always gives unspecific comments on poems.)  I still feel like I have work to do on them, but I'm happily in that mode where I'm writing a lot of first drafts.
I feel like I've been making leaps and bounds in my writing the past few years, and I think I recently had another breakthrough.  I feel like my first drafts are significantly better than they were even six months ago.  I'm also getting better and letting those things I get attached toin the writing process go.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book and Comic Shopping

Went out for a bit of shopping today (instead of the studying I was supposed to be doing.)  Went over to the bookstore looking for a particular book.  I was so sadden to see that even though it was a madhouse in the store, the poetry aisle was almost completely deserted.  You could comfortably sit on the floor and read and not be in anyone's way.  Also, poetry is way in the back of the store, and I suspect that is completely on purpose too.
On a whim, I went into a comic book store.  Not for anything particular, but just to have a look around.  The guy at the front made me give him my tiny little bag with my tiny little book inside.  I was surprised, just because it didn't occur to me that this place would check things, especially something so small, but I gave it over without a fight.
I looked around a bit, reading bits and pieces of Buffy comics and enjoying a small section of Hellboy.  While I was wandering through a man nearby was on the phone talking to someone, saying he was trying to buy his little girl a Spiderman comic but the all looked too adult for her.
When I got my bag back, the young man apologized to me for having to take it.  I was surprised at the apology.  Perhaps my face showed disgust or annoyance when he asked for it?  I was really just totally shocked, because the bookstore nearby was far more crowded and no one asked to see a thing.  I said it was no big deal; I understand that sometimes these things are necessary.
While walking home, I passed this ugly, awful woman yelling at a dog walker, a carton of food on the sidewalk.  The woman was saying something about punching the dog walker in the face, and carrying on nonsensically.  Ugh. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Work Report

Work yesterday was fine.  (Yes, I managed to remember my makeup this time.)  I had the worst craving for chips.  I've been a very good girl about eating healthy as of the past few months, at least in terms of what I eat.  I only have desert at dinner, and that's usually a cake or pie, though sometimes if I am lucky a lemon tart.  But I've also been eating a lot, just because it seems like I get large helpings at the caf.  So I was so disappointed in myself for wanting chips because I've haven't eaten that kind of crap for weeks.  Ugh. 
Around ten days ago I had to send something to a prisoner in the mail.  Which was fine, but I was warned by the boss not to include staples or paper clips in the package because then they would reject the package.  So I got the package back today with a note saying it didn't like that I had put a sticker on it.  It was one of those stickers that contain our address, so someone can send it back.  When I showed it to the boss, she said that prisons will do anything to send mail back.  No kidding, I thought.  So when I go into work next week, that's the first thing that's going to be on my list of things to do.  I can hand write an address, I just wish someone would have said something to me first. 
The rest of the day was spent doing some research.  I consider myself pretty good at research, but the person I was trying to find information on seems to be as close to a nonentity as one can be these days.  One of the other employees mentioned she's been in the news a lot lately, but if Google News hasn't been able to find her, I don't think that it's true. 
The problem I have when I'm doing research is that I tend to get sidetracked by interesting information that isn't pertinent to what I'm doing.  I ended up reading this philosophical discussion of a moral dilemma.  I don't really know much about philosophy; it's one of those areas I'd like to read up on or take a class on, though I never have.  Anyway, the author basically said that there are three options to a moral dilemma: do something bad but effective to achieving your goal, do something bad and ineffective or walk away.  I recently had a moral dilemma and took the second option, then after that didn't work, picked the third.  But according to this author, the best move was the third, at least in the context they were speaking about. 
Walking away is such a hard thing for me.  So hard.  I always want to fight for whatever.  And maybe this author was wrong about the moral dilemma thing, but the idea of always choosing to walk away (and then, assumably, taking a deep breath and getting over it), seems so unsatisfying.  And I suspect that approach will drive me half-crazy because then I'll always wonder "what if" about those circumstances. 
See what I mean about getting completely sidetracked at work?  I do it all the time. 
I got sidetracked in other ways yesterday.  I came up with an idea for a memoir a few days back, and I found myself considering titles and structure for this yet-unstarted project. 
And then I found myself contemplating why serial killers exist and why are they always white and almost always male.  I have a theory involving a lot of complicated globalization and dominance and the word hegemony, but I wasn't meant to be thinking about serial killers at all. 
And then later I was thinking about the novel Desert Blood, which I read a few years ago.  The book is about the Mexican/U.S. border and a series of murders taking place there.  Apparently there was a real case of a U.S. Border Agent who raped women when he caught these women crossing the border, and because they were illegal it took ages before one of them called him on it.  I was wondering if certain details of the novel were based on those horrific incidents.  (Certain things in the book are based on a series of real crimes that are related, though not quite the same.)
I then came across a reference to how people get notices to stick to brick buildings: something called wheat paste.  I'm assuming it's some kind of paste involving wheat as a major ingredient but I found myself thinking how I had never considered how people did that or that it was something relatively simple and easy.  So, if nothing else, all this research seems to be good for me in terms of learning trivia. 
I even wrote a poem at work a few days ago.  I know, I know: I'm not supposed to do that.  But I've got one of those fickle Muses that comes and goes without a lot of warning.  And if I don't write an idea down right as I'm having it, I always kick myself later when it doesn't work as well. 
I've actually been looking at that poem today, and I think it needs work, but I feel better about it than I was expecting to.  I have been writing longer poetry as of late, and this one is rather short. 
Sadly, sometimes I think I get more done than they expect me to.  Which makes me wonder what in God's name everyone else is doing.  I dawdle enough as it is; how to people dawdle anymore than I do?  I get my work done out of sheer boredom since there's nothing else to do. 
There's also been an ongoing drama over a crashed hard drive.  Not, thankfully, with anyone I work with, but across the hallway I can hear a fair amount of yelling and whatnot over it.  Mostly I've ignored it, but sometimes it's hard to.  The woman at the center of this ongoing saga is very loud and, I suspect, the head of that group of workers.  She has ordered various people around about it.  And she has complained loudly on the phone.  And then went into a rant about how computer people are stupid and lazy.  Maybe I've just had better interactions or maybe she has a particularly useless IT person, but I've always had good to great interactions with computer people.  They've always solved my problems and even have been good at calming me down.  (Computer problems stress me out disproportionately.)  Jimmy, Dean, even Daniel are all computer people and I know if I went to them with a problem, they would never dare tell me they wouldn't help me or give me a hard time.  They all love me, they would all do their best to save me from my own mistakes.  Especially Dean.  Dean has been particularly good to me about these kinds of issues. 
Not that I would want to inflict that women on those three.  All three are relatively calm people, and out of the three of them, only Dean would complain about her.  (Though only in private.) 
Also, I don't know if something happened while I wasn't here or maybe in another part of the office, but I noticed sexual harassment posters suddenly went up all over the office.  Was there an incident?  I'm really curious, even though I know it's not really my business.  Part of me wants to know so that I can avoid the harasser like the plague. 
I did a little report writing and sent it to the boss before the end of my shift. 

Last Letter

Found this great little blog post discussing the publication of the a poem Ted Hughes wrote about his wife Sylvia Plath.  I'm a big Plath fan, and although Hughes is a good poet, I hate him as a person.  I think it's pretty telling that his companion after Plath died also committed suicide later on.  This sort of thing also reminds me why I'm so glad feminism exists, because it gave women permission to take care of themselves and not sacrifice always for their husbands at the expense of their minds and well-being.  Talented young women are far less likely to kill themselves now, and for that I am entirely grateful.  We need those talented women to create art, music, and books that forces us to see the suffering and strength of modern young women.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Today Was a Complete Save of Makeup

About forty-five minutes after I got to work, I realize I wasn't wearing any makeup.  I hate wearing makeup, but my Mom insists that I shouldn't be showing my uncovered face around work without it.  So maybe this was a Freudian slip of sorts? 
I really still can't believe I walked out without even thinking about it.  And that it took me so long to realize it. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hitler Stashing

So, everyone knows that a couple of days ago there was the Rally to Restore Sanity.  I didn't get to go, and I'm really jealous, because my best friend made it out there.  (Why oh why didn't I beg her to take me too!?!)  Anyway, short story short, one of the things that came out of the event was that there were epic posters at this thing.  (Apparently.  Like I said, I didn't make it.)  Someone made a little slide show of them over here, which I think is worth seeing.  I love "I can see reason from my house" poster and I like all the critiques of the Hitler stashing that's been going on.  (Can we say that now as a verb people?  Hitler stashing?  As in: to put a Hitler stash on someone as a way of making an over the top, insane political statement that upon further reflection doesn't make sense?  Thanks.) 

Long Walk Kind of Day

Went out to the park today.  I use to take walks, consistently, every day, but I've been so busy lately I haven't had the time. 
I was first annoyed with myself because I forgot my music.  Not that it's necessary, but I love to have a soundtrack when I'm out and about. 
One of the things I've noticed this year is how muted the colors have been.  I'm used to them being super bright, but they just seem to be turning brownish as quickly as possible.  I'm wondering if this is a weather thing or a pollution thing (as Dan mentioned to me last night) or maybe a combination of factors.  Anyway, for the most part, the trees have been disappointing this year in terms of color.  I spotted one tree that was layered with four different colors on it, but most trees were either green or orangy brown.  This saddens me deeply, because there are those couple of trees near the auditorium that are usually gorgeous yellow, like the color of a kid's crayon, and all I get is muddled colors this year. 
Also: the lack of wildlife!  I'm used to seeing so many squirrels, all over each other, and I think I spotted two the whole day.  (One with a very large chunk of apple or bread.)  I saw two packs of ducks and one swan.  And a couple of birds that were white with black spots, which I've never seen before. 
I did a bit of rock climbing, which I'm sure my Mom would yell at me for since I wasn't really in the proper shoes for it.  At the top of one of the first rocks I climbed up, I saw this big nail in the top, which I still haven't figured out what that's for. 
Not much in terms of people watching today either.  Saw a couple of older ladies, one who had this stripped bag and another wearing leggings and a plaid suit jacket, but generally no one that interesting. 
I apologize for my complaining.  It was in no way all bad; in fact, it was very lovely.  I have a strange love for the details of nature.  For example, I totally fell in love with a hollowed out tree stump today.  Later on I saw a tree with this tear shaped hole near its roots that I thought was very beautiful.  And the way the shadows of trees fell caught me by surprise.  And a lot of the rocks I climbed were sparkling in the sun, which I always feel is out of place, since it makes me think of being at a club or Lady Gaga more than it makes me think of nature.  I also saw this tree that had its bottom half of its trunk covered in some kind of vine and then one very ambitious vine going straight up its side, for about a yard.  Or even the way a set of stone stairs can be perfectly covered in leaves, as I saw today, can make me really happen.  I like little details.   
I also went past a jungle gym, and I realized it had been ages since I played on one.  (I can remember babysitting a little boy once and playing there, but that was almost a decade ago.)  There were all sorts of strange devices which I honestly could not figure out what the utility (or lack of utility, as this is a playground and the point is to have fun) was for. 
It's early enough that not all the flowers have died, so I got to enjoy some of those briefly. 
I'm sad Dan wasn't with me to enjoy this.  He's such a nature boy.  He knows a lot more about the stuff out there, of course, and I'm sure he'd be happy to improv a tour for me.  But as I was wandering about, I couldn't help but think of him, and I imagined his laugh.  He'd probably think I was being silly for thinking about him, and then laugh at me.   
I accidentally went home just as a bunch of kids were getting out of school.  They were yelling and carrying on and eating snacks and bragging to each other about their candy stashes this year.  One little girl with glasses kept staring at me. When I gave her a little smile, she walked away from me.  Oh great.  I probably scared her. 

This Year's Costume Report

I started out the evening doing something I don't usually like to do: trying to get people to come with me.  Maybe it's just the people I have befriended, but it seems like over the last three or four years I'm always trying to go out and do something fun and whoever is just wanting to be a homebody.  Which would be fine, if I wasn't a young woman and could just go out on my own whenever I wanted. 
This time, it was Jackie and Camilla who didn't want to come out.  Even though it's Halloween, Jackie was basically not interested in going out.  Camilla said she would come if Jackie would too, so that meant it was just Inga and me. 
Inga and I stopped to get some pizza on the way.  I had a huge dinner of pasta, rice, and peas, so I wasn't hungry in the least.  She ate her pizza while we chatted.  Inga told me all about her Grandma and how sick she was. 
I was bundled up tight, which sort of ruined my witch costume, but it was so cold.  As we walked the streets, people were dressed in all sorts of costumes.  Most of them were typical costumes.  Inga told me that she wasn't use to celebrating Halloween as this big thing.  I wish Halloween was bigger, frankly, but I'm always so busy, I never have time to do something like get a fancy costume or make my own.  (Which is exasperated by the fact I haven't sewn anything in years, so making something might be a disaster the first time I try.)
We were mostly out to see and be seen.  And we totally caught some good costumes.  We saw a little girl as some kind of ghost or goblin.  Her face was painted white with black outlining her mouth and eyes.  She had this cane with a skull on the end of it. 
At one point, a bunch of actual firefighters came by and I said "Wow, look at those firefighter costumes!  They look totally real."  An older man standing nearby laughed. 
Also saw an Uncle Fester, who I got a great picture of.  The light hit his eyes just right so that they looked like they were glowing.  Later on in the night I saw a Wednesday. 
One of the costumes I saw three of was a Barbie in a Box.  Really clever, which I like, but I wasn't expecting this to be the popular costume of the night.  (I was going to guess Lady Gaga, who I didn't see once.)  One of the other popular costumes was Michael Jackson, which I was expecting after he passed away last year, but I didn't think he would be popular this year as well. 
I did spot one guy that I think was trying to pull off steampunk (he had the goggles) but he was wearing really bright clothing, so it was hard to tell if this was what he was really going for.
I was surprised by how normal most people's costumes were.  Some years people do really different, weird, esoteric stuff.  This time almost everything was some kind of person and there were few abstract or object costumes, though I did spot a Rubik cube, the only one I've ever seen.  Someone else was what I think was suppose to be a hand, which gave me the idea of someone dressing up as the Michigan Hand, maybe with major cities indicated, the way Michiganders always do.  Probably people didn't want to do weird costumes because it's hard to explain.  I saw one man covered in spoons, for example, and I still don't get what that was meant to be. 
Most importantly, I caught an entire group of boys dressed as Greco-Roman soldiers.  If I had to guess, I would say they were probably Spartans!  I wanted to scream at them "Tonight we dine IN HELL!"
After a while Inga wanted to go.  My fingers were getting stiff from the cold, so we started walking home.  We spotted a woman dressed as a cat who had climbed up the side of a building.
Then, right as we were a block away, I noticed my phone, Sir Chip Flip with the Roam Roam, was gone.  I didn't panic as much as I thought I was going to, but I told Inga we had to go back.  Yeah, it's a really old phone, but losing something like that is such a hassle to replace.  So we walked back.  By which I ran for it. 
I went back to the spot where I was and started looking on the ground.  There were so many people milling about that I couldn't see anything.  As soon as Inga caught up to me, I was going to ask her to call my phone, opening it had fallen a way that would make it light up. 
A man approached me.  "Are you looking for something?" he asked. 
"Yeah, my cell phone."  Without even my asking for him to call, he asked for my phone number. 
Just as it stopped ringing, I spotted it two people to my left, right behind someone's shoe.  I snaked my arm through legs, hoping no one would get offended by my pushiness, and grabbed onto a small black thing.  It was Chip Flip.  Someone had just tried to call. 
"Thank you so much!" I told the man.  I hugged him.  He was really surprised.  Inga showed up and told me to get a hold of myself and we walked home.    
If I had lost my phone, I would have died.  My parents would have never let me forget it, which is deeply annoying, because my Mom's lost her phone six times in the past three years and I've never lost a cell phone once.  (At least not in the permanent sense.) 
While we were walking, some teenagers were fooling around, and Inga and I went around them.  "Dude," one of the guys said to the one girl, "You better move, or that girl is going to fuck you up," in reference to me.  
I turned back to look at them.  "I like you wicked socks," the guy said to me, in reference to my witch's tights. 
"You should hear my wicked cackle," I said. 
As Inga and I moved through the crowd, I heard him shout after me "Let's hear your wicked cackle!"
We finally made it home and went back up to see Jackie and Camilla, who were exactly where I left them.  (Jackie, I suspect, didn't even move herself.)  I got to meet their new roommate, who's name I didn't catch.