Thursday, February 26, 2009

This will reveal to you the full extent of my tech-illiteracy.

But I'm going to ask, anyway:

Can one send text messages in italics?

Despite my use of a crappy phone (well, not too crappy, but not a cool iPhone like everyone else has), I love texting. I text more than I call, more than I email, etc. Perhaps owing to the seven years I've been studying English, I like to text in Standard American English as much as possible: I punctuate correctly, I use standard syntax and spelling (OK, not always spelling). And I like my texts to be emphatic. Sadly, my phone doesn't enable the use of italics, which I use a lot in other forms of written communication. Italics are my lifeblood. Or one of my lifebloods. Bloods: that's a weird plural.

So tell me: am I missing something? Can I actually use italics now? Am I just too technologically incapable to realize it? Or what?

Liking things I've never liked before...

Or, more accurately, liking things I previously professed to hating.

Exhibit A: Apocalypse Now. We watched it in "Fiction to Film" Monday, and I was astounded at how much I enjoyed it. Really? YES. I know. I viewed it the first (and only other) time for Freshman Preceptorial in college, and I remember hating it - as in, not even sitting through the whole thing. (Sorry, Stuart Allison.) I don't remember why I hated it (though any reasons I provided were probably just reconfigurations of my generalized freshman year surliness - sorry, everyone), but this time around, I dug it. Great use of sound, some beautifully framed shots. I didn't even mind the voiceovers! The ending, admittedly, dragged on; I also didn't really need the scenes of the cow butchery interspersed with the slaughter of Kurtz, but that's neither here nor there. This post is about my changed opinion, after all. (*)

Exhibit B: Modern Fiction. Some of you may recall a time in the not-so-distant past when I professed to only liking literature written in the last 30 years. OK, I never actually made such a ridiculous claim, but you'll grant that I read/discussed/emulated mostly contemporary fiction. No longer, friends. This Fiction to Film class has really changed my view. We're currently reading The Quiet American, and I love it. As in, I don't want to stop reading it. When has this ever happened? I mean, when (in the last few years) have I loved a modern novel this much? This, friends, is a pressing question.

I'm not sure what's going on here, all of my opinions undermining themselves, but if the trend continues, I might just end up liking other things I hate, like Hummers, Jessica Simpson, and seafood. !. Just kidding: I'll never like Jessica Simpson (or Hummers. Jury's still out on seafood). Whatever the reason for this change, I am glad.

(*) Just had a terrible thought: did we even watch Apocalypse Now for FP? All these years, I was convinced that we did & that I hated it, but I might be thinking of Blade Runner (which I actually do dislike, and which I know for certain that we viewed in Harbach). Nevertheless: continue.

Monday, February 23, 2009

That's what I'm talking about!

Amy Adams' Fred Leighton necklace was awesome. And Jennifer Aniston took the prize for best hair. (Yes, I could write an entire entry about my abiding love of side braids, but I'm going to be late to Pilates.) That is all.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday, Sunday

Having an uncharacteristically productive day of editing, hence this mini-foray into blog posting. Woke up early (7:00), made a breakfast of hard boiled eggs, toast, sliced strawberries & coffee for E. and myself. Tidied, got showered, and have spent the majority of the day (give or take a few hours) reworking two stories. I still feel like I need feedback on one of them, but things are looking good. Now, if only I can be this productive in the weeks to come...

Am supposed to go to an Oscars party tonight but the cold of death has descended on me. I've been taking cold meds every four hours, drinking tea nonstop, and taking Ricola honey lemon lozenges (which, I've read, are among the best throat lozenges), but nothing seems to be working. Drat, as they say. Drat.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Full Moon

The white spot to the upper left
which looks like the pith plug
in a peeled orange is the crater Tycho.
I have never been there. Perhaps one day
you will. I saw many jackets in the coatroom
but none of them were his. I know someone
who is alive somewhere.
It is embarrassing to be alive.
Sometimes you have to stand out on the street
and look upwards, and then you have to pretend
the stone at your feet
is not an object of observation,
when it is.

Mary Ruefle

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yesterday picked Jane up from the airport, and I realized how much I missed/need highway driving. Highway driving was a therapeutic staple while I was in college (and beyond), but I haven't had much opportunity for it while living here; yesterday I also realized that my move to the midwest in a few months will likely be the last time I make the trip through New York/Pennsylvania/Ohio/Indiana/Illinois/Wisconsin. I feel like I'm forgetting a state somewhere.

Yesterday I also went to the chiropractor for the first time, not for any major complaints but just because my shoulders are sometimes tense and because I got a recommendation for this particular D.C. Let me say, I was skeptical of chiropractors at first, but my shoulders feel like 75% better. Also, I am going back this afternoon because most of yesterday's appointment was spent talking about the spine in general/the physiological effects of eating refined sugars. (For this week, I am experimenting with not eating candy to see how this lack affects my mood and shoulder tension. Though now that I've decided not to eat candy for one week, I just want to munch on my leftover Conversation Hearts. Sigh.)

Valentine's Day was nice and leisurely. E. and I went to play with some pet store puppies; went to lunch; bought some shoes; bummed; went to dinner; ate some dessert and watched "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." I bought the necklace, too(!) Impulsive: yes. Awesome: yes.

A random question: does anyone have a good recipe for Kale? I would like to start eating Kale, but need some inspiration.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I swear, I could not get the pic any smaller than that. (I could have, if I had resized it using any of various photo programs, but blah. Aah! What is wrong with me and why am I so lazy?)

Wow: I am exhausted, but I don't think this exhaustion is warranted. I'd planned to go to the gym at 7:00 sharp, but it looks like that ain't gonna happen. In fact, I don't think I can make myself move from my bed. WHAT IS THIS? WHY AM I SO TIRED? WHO WILL GIVE ME THE ANSWERS?

For a grad student, I'm kind of a wuss.

In other news, I wrote the first of my independent study papers this evening. It is not the best response paper I've ever written, but neither is it the worst. Mostly, I just needed to get the [independent study] ball rolling.

I'm thinking of getting myself this necklace as a Valentine's Day present: is that bad? To buy oneself a present? Maybe it's only weird that I'm classifying it as a "Valentine's Day present" instead of "Something That I Just Really Like." Or maybe I'm obsessing about this pending purchase because I know, in my truthful heart, that I don't need another piece of jewelry. But it is so lovely, and my favorite shade of blue! I would wear it well, and with a tan! In fact, I would lay out in the sun (with SPF 30, of course) just for this necklace.

OK, I'm getting ridiculous here. I'm going to go do some more independent study work and stop broadcasting my neuroses to the internetz.

Yes, I am reminiscing about my childhood mall.

Some late-week randomness by way of updates. First, I was sorely disappointed by Mallrats, for which I had (perhaps unreasonably?) high expectations. The dialogue was terrible and wooden! The acting was just terrible! The songs didn't seem to correspond to the scenes during which they were played! I liked the premise, though. Additionally, watching the movie made me overwhelmingly nostalgic for my childhood mall: Northtown Mall. Ah, yes: Northtown, whose logo was (is?) a Viking ship, whose lack of stable anchor stores has not diminished my appreciation! When I was in elementary and middle school, I was obsessed with this mall store called 20/20 sound - a music shop that specialized in "alternative" albums/apparel. There, I almost bought "Under the Table and Dreaming" (still have never owned any DMB: and I never will), and it was there my dad got me a Soundgarden tee the Christmas of sixth grade. Ah, 20/20 Sound. It strikes me now as a bit incongruous that they were selling DMB, but whatevs.
What else about Northtown? In late high school/when I'd come back on breaks from college, Ali and I would go to the Gap approximately once every three days. The reasoning behind this was unclear, though I think this is what happened: Ali always had an item (a lace-edged cami, a pair of chinos) that she wanted, but she was really indecisive about buying said item. So she'd put the item in question on hold, go back the next day to look at item, decide she didn't want it, and return the item to the shelf. But a few days later, she'd rethink her previous decision and trek back to the Gap. What a cycle!

In other news, I am still stoked about the upcoming move to Wisconsin! I've gotten into the mindset that my life will be way more exciting and jawesome with this pending shift in geography - though I know I'll still have irksome schtuff to deal with once I'm there. Certainly, I am excited to be moving to a place where I actually want to live (as opposed to having to live in a certain, not-as-awesome place for purposes of grad school); and I have been doing research re: all the things I want to do upon arrival at the WI border. (I almost wrote, "the shores of Wisconsin," because I am a pioneer like that.) Maybe my excitement boils down to the thrill of change, but it's more than that. I miss the open spaces of the Midwest, driving through farmland at spring dusk. Yeah, there are farms here, but even these seem tiny and cramped. Everything here seems tiny and cramped and only 2 hours away (or 3, but who's counting?), and also the Iowa-80 Rest Stop is awesome. The end!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Today is going to be awesome because:

1) It's payday! (yeah, yeah!)
2) After work, I'm getting my hair treated with the magical protein serum! (yeah, yeah!)
3) Tonight I'm cooking bok choy! (yeah, yeah!) (Bok choy and teriyaki chicken, that is. And watching "Mallrats" with E. I've never seen "Mallrats" - can you believe this? I have the soundtrack...)

This morning, everything seems to warrant a "yeah, yeah!" But this is good, right?

Yesterday morning, I read a NY Times article about the popularity of going fridge-less. I hadn't realized that there was an "unplug your fridge for good" movement; my ignorance of this trend doesn't surprise me too much, because even though I recycle and walk/bus as much as possible and all these good things, I would not consider myself an ueberenvironmentalist. Anyway, reading about this shift in some people's buying/cooking habits made me think of Germany, where people's fridges are generally smaller than ours - some the size of dorm fridges, actually - and where people aren't super obsessed with refrigeration. Eggs aren't refrigerated in the store; some people leave open containers of juice on their counters. (That was just my host mom, actually, but you know...)
For the short time that I was there, I felt like I became more comfortable with not refrigerating certain foods that could, for a certain time, be left out. Then, when I got back to the US, my old obsession reared up and now everything's kept cold.

I did a little mental exercise, recollecting the current contents of my fridge and determining what, if anything, could be transferred to the counter/pantry. Apples could be moved. Bread: moved. Lettuce, if I used it within the day, would be OK. Eggs (reluctantly) could stay on the counter. A lot of my condiments (salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, etc.) need to be kept cold, I think, as do my dairy and meat products. With more deliberate shopping habits and better meal planning strategies, I could definitely get by with a dorm fridge.


One of lnb's recent tweets (about the beautiful house) made me think of a house in Galesburg that I saw for the only time during senior week. A. and I were driving back from a diner - was it the Brickyard? I feel like it was way out past Dick Blick - and we saw a house with a fake leg hanging from the front porch. A mannequin leg. I wanted to take a picture but didn't have my camera, and when we went back, we couldn't find the place. It was straight out of Flannery O'Connor, and I sometimes wonder if I didn't imagine it.

Also: Bibnall, I totally lied yesterday about the absence of independently-owned donut shops in my area. There's a family-run place on Rte. 9 called "The Donut Man," and I've only been there once (for coffee and a pistachio muffin - this was three years ago). But now I'm geared up to visit and get an actual donut. Yeah, yeah!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One thing I like about winter is that it facilitates my self-improvement efforts. Deterred from my warm-weather habit of just bummin' around (walking, biking, sitting on a balcony somewhere), I have plenty of time to devote to such self-improvement initiatives as 1) reading a set number of books; 2) having stuff done to my hair; 3) working on the knitting projects I've started over the years; 4) paying semiregular attention to my blog, and other bloglike services. And so on. This is not to say that I wouldn't magically make the air 75 degrees right now, because if I would, I could. But I also appreciate this inside time which has allowed me to be so productive lately.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wrap Up

At once an eventful and seemingly slow-paced weekend. Saturday, A., J., and I went to lunch at a Greek restaurant in South Hadley. (A. has been craving Greek food and so we decided to make a trip.) The restaurant was the best sort of horrible: dining room was dead silent, but for the low-volume lite rock soundtrack; decor was a cross between a strip club and a funeral parlor (highlights: mirrored Venetian blinds, wallpaper border that alternated images of the Parthenon and the Bud Lite logo, white/gold Naugahyde booths). Our waitress was helpful, the food was terrible, and the immediately recognizable scent of resin wafted from the kitchen at uneven intervals. After we left, A. told us that she'd read that the place had roaches. Niiiice.

Our Superbowl gathering was low-key: just four of us with Midwestern delicacies aplenty. I wasn't rooting for one team or the other, especially, though my sympathies lay with the Cardinals (based on their supposed underdog status). It's strange: I never used to enjoy watching sports - pro or otherwise - but this trend has reversed itself in the past two years. I do appreciate the social aspect of spectation, but also the knowledge of the athletes' skill: how much training has led to each performance. Yes, I feel (strongly) that pro athletes are paid waaaaay too much, but thinking of the physical perseverance required of said athletes is kind of awesome. (Instant replay only increases my appreciation - seeing some of those collisions in slow-mo makes me cringe, and makes me glad that I'm not a pro football player.) Perhaps my own rekindled interest in physical fitness has inspired this more abstract appreciation of athleticism? Who knows.

A crazy week ahead/in progress. Meetings, appointments, thesis work (the end is near). Last week, fueled by nostalgia and consistent doses of Tylenol Cold, started writing a story I've been thinking about for years. I'm not sure if I'm pleased with the partial draft or not: pleased with the voice, not necessarily with the mvmt. Will keep at it.

Last night, I dreamed that I was in college again, this time at UMass. I kept taking on responsibilities - working at the circulation desk at the library, helping clean the horse barns (for free?), joining flag team. And I was really stressed out because I'd obviously overcommitted myself, and then I woke up.