yrmencyn: (armadillo)
The most recent PHD Comic made me laugh bitterly.  No, grad students aren't being made to take unpaid leave or anything like that, but the economy finally got around to annoying me directly.  Every year at the AWP conference (the biggest creative writing conference), there's a pedagogy forum, wherein folks submit one-page papers outlining a pedagogical point -- an exercise, a bit of philosophy, whatever -- and then, if their paper is accepted, they sit around for a while and discuss pedagogy with other like-minded folks for about an hour.  It's also the easiest way to be an official presenter at the conference, which is the magic bullet that lets you access your travel allowance from the department.

Last year, when AWP was in New York, everyone and their dog suddenly decided to go the conference.  Times was, pretty much anyone who submitted a paper was accepted, but under the flood of submissions the process got MUCH more selective.  So in those plush economic times, our program director negotiated an agreement with our department chair such that anyone attending AWP could use their travel allowance, regardless of presenter status.  That offer was extended to this year, and thus there was very little discussion of pedagogy papers on our listserve, and most people didn't submit.  Hell, I actually wouldn't mind having the extra CV line, and even I didn't submit; I knew I had the money anyway, and I was busy.

Up through last week, the department chair was keeping the funding agreement on the table, but now it's been retracted pursuant to a memo from the College regarding non-presenter funding.  I'm not upset with the chair or with our program director -- they both did what they could, it sounds like -- but it still stands that people have been making decisions based on funding assumptions, and that rug was suddenly yanked out from under us.  I mean, I can swing it, and I think everybody in my hotel room is still going, so at least we don't have to scramble to maintain our per-person cost, but it remains annoying.

On the plus side, we managed to find a sub-100$ one-way flight down to TX for my brother-in-law, thus making it possible for him to work his alloted hours AND for me (and, incidentally, Elisa) to drive down to the grandparents' for early-Christmas (Grammie's doing Christmas the weekend before).  Woohoo!

And now that I've finished complaining mildly, I need to get back to work.  Have to read poetry manuscripts for the Journal prize (due Monday) and grade student portfolios (also due Monday).
yrmencyn: (Default)
Hi, flist.  Been a while.  The while, though, has been largely nice.  This quarter is much calmer than last, which is very nice.  So I've just been going around, writing my poems and reading others', occasionally going and listening to artists talk about their work, and pretty much having a quarter that's simultaneously relaxing and fulfilling -- how about that!  Of course this isn't 100%.  There are moments of stress, like when Faire happens to be on a weekend where I also have to write a major presentation on a book of poems, or whatnot.  Faire, by the way, went swimmingly.  It was a lovely faire day to begin with, and Minstrelry had two well-attended, well-enjoyed performances before the rain.  Yes, the rain.  It poured torrential buckets for a little over an hour, which effectively killed the faire in terms of numbers.  Nevertheless, the show must go on, and we still had our third performance (after it had stopped raining, luckily).  Very small audience (mostly cast, honestly), but still enjoyable.

What else.  Got Kevin moved out of his apartment yesterday, which was 'fun'.  Not too bad, really, since we'd already done some preliminary work (he more than I) and his parents came down with minivan and flatbed.  Only scary part was when we thought we might lose the mattress and box spring while going through 5th and O. River... good times.  And then there was the cleaning, which was also reasonably painless.  Saw Cathy's senior recital afterward, and was greatly impressed: the tuba is an underrated instrument.  Also, any recital which includes P. D. Q. Bach's "The Only Piece Ever Written For Violin and Tuba" (S. 9, 10, big fat hen) has got to be good, right?  Funny thing, though: I had worn a hat on the way over, and I accidentally left it it the auditorium when I went off to the reception.  When I went back to get it, I listened closely at the door to make sure there wasn't a performance going on; hearing nothing, I went in.  I went in, and was greeted by stares from audience members, as my entrance coincided with a vocalist's entrance to sing another piece (they had been quiet in polite expectation.  So what could I do but close the door softly behind me, go back toward where I had been sitting, and send a msg to Amanda, who was giving me a ride home, saying "Trapped in aud in recital will leave as soon as able sorry.  If must leave will understand."?  Ariel Matthys, soprano, does a lovely rendition of Schubert lieder, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, the sun is rising higher and higher, and the apartment is somewhere between gross and squalid.  We have guests coming this week, so cleaning is in order.  And finishing a book of poetry for Monday, and commenting on people's poems, and seeing a choral concert, and celebrating a birthday.  I should probably also finish scheduling classes for summer and fall.  Just your typical, lazy Sunday.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Boo :(

So, a new low-cost carrier has launched in Columbus, name of Skybus.  They have some AMAZING fares.  Specifically, the first 10 seats sold on each flight are $10 (yes, that's ten dollars).  There's not many destinations available, but one of those available is Los Angeles area, or to be more specific: Burbank.  'Why, self,' I thought, 'you have a friend in Burbank itself!'  So I emailed [livejournal.com profile] alstaria, figured out dates that worked, and I bought a roundtrip for $40.80; the taxes and fees were greater than the fares themselves.  So I was very happy, and I forwarded the itinerary to A, who was also very excited. 

Until she noticed that I had not bought a roundtrip Columbus --> Burbank --> Columbus, but rather Burbank --> Columbus --> Burbank.  And the change fees are draconian.  And the cheap seats are all gone.  So now I don't get to go to sunny California in June :(  I'm really disappointed, because I've wanted to visit for years, and then I fucked up -- no one's fault but my own -- and now that went down the drain.  The one silver lining is that, because of their federal pre-certification status, I may be able to get a refund (usually impossible with Skybus), but that's cold comfort.  Sigh.

Anyway, check them out.  Their fares, even the ones that aren't ridiculously amazing, aren't half bad, they're just more than I really want to spend right now.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Hello people.  I'm sure Christy will be posting about this soon, but she's got her plate full at the moment, so I'll go ahead and get this out there:

There will not be a Renaissance Faire in Bloomington this weekend.  As Christy said in an email to performers, 'rain or shine' was never meant to encompass 40 degrees with a chance of snow.  The faire will hopefully be pushed back to the last Saturday of this month, April 28, although that still has to be ironed out.  More information to come as, you know, it exists.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Holy Jesus.  I just came back from Neil/Dodridge, and the roads are super-shitty.  It's completely ridiculous.  Can we get some fucking salt trucks on the road?  I mean, Jesus, it's like a half-inch of snow; can we not deal with a simple dusting of snow?  The answer is, apparently, 'no', since that light dusting has now turned into a smooth plane of ice in the travel lanes.  Honestly, Columbus, what the hell.

In other news, I've had a pretty good day.  I spent some time tonight at the Hop along with [livejournal.com profile] gothicsquish, [livejournal.com profile] lucki_dog, [livejournal.com profile] piobaireachd, [livejournal.com profile] cmd_bakotl, and Squish's friend Adam.  We drank a good number of tasting pours of wines at Camelot Cellars (25 cents per taste, at least during the Hop; it's a steal!), saw some really wonderful paintings at... um... that gallery that always does member-curated shows just south of Camelot Cellars, wandered in the (at the time) lovely snow, and all in all had a nice time.  Following our time in the Short North, we retired to Neil/Dodridge for a tasting of various scotches that Pio had brought back from her time across the pond.  Sweet Jesus, 16-year Lagavulin is a delightful wallow in peat.

Before that, I did some work on my final project for my art seminar.  I'm planning on doing a multi-layered text piece, using some ivory broadcloth and the magic of iron-on transfers.  I had thought to maybe try and do a simply embroidered illuminated capital for the top sheet, but it turns out that that is too far beyond my skills to even contemplate.  So instead, maybe I'll do some illumination digitally before I print that one onto the transfer paper.  Anyway, I went out to Jo-Ann's to buy some fabric.  I had forgotten how much I hate fabric stores.  I think they're poorly labeled, in general.  So unless you're looking for, say, cottons, you're screwed.  I was in fact looking for cottons, but I also needed some other notions, and they weren't easy to find.  Seriously, just some labels.  A little signage.  That's all you need.  It did snow on me a bit as I was driving home, so I guess tonight's mess isn't a total surprise.

Anyway, I'm just doin'.  Gave a successful presentation on my progress on my final project for Editing/Publishing, so all I lack's finishing up in that realm.  Lots of editing to do on my poetry (and another poem to submit tomorrow, mustn't forget), and a paper to write for Medieval, but I think I'll get it all done without too much ulceration.  Oy!
yrmencyn: (Default)
Oh, food.  Sometimes you are delightful, sometimes I use the wrong horchata recipe and end up with a vaguely rice-flavored beverage with a texture reminiscent of... hmm.  Ok, you know how, if you put a dairy product in an acidic liquid, it ends up with a bunch of little curds?  Like that, but the curds are made of cooked rice and almond.  That shit is lo-fi, man.

Not to say I can't cook recently.  I've got a custard for Maritime Mist ice cream in the fridge, which I'll freeze tomorrow; it looks to be lovely.  Maritime Mist is a tea blend from the Great Lakes Tea and Spice Company, with an Earl Grey base combined with creme and vanilla flavors, and mallow blossoms.  I know, right?  Full of nummies.  I only fear it might be TOO sweet -- tomorrow will tell.  Also recently made, a lovely vegetarian shepherd's pie for a veggie potluck that people in Kevin's program do.  The 'meat' was mushrooms and lentils, a wine reduction, and the requisite carrots and celery.  In hindsight, some balsamic would have gone well, and I forgot to add any bloody garlic (which borders on the unthinkable), but it was still an unconditional success.  Oh, and just to prove I still have meat cred, I made some savory oatmeal with a bacon base for dinner this evening (I used the recommended 'heart-healthy' serving size of oatmeal for extra irony).

More words. Many more. On varied subjects. )
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Today was a really interesting day for me, artistically.  Wednesday nights I have my Word & Image seminar, and tonight we met out at the Ackerman Library, specifically at the Book Arts lab in that building.  It was really fascinating to see some examples of artists' books, to see what people have done creatively.  We have to do a final project for that class, and though I might do something totally different, I have all these book-thoughts in my head; the possibilities are so numerous!  I've got Liz checking out this kind of canvas that you can run through an inkjet printer (having, myself, no hand-drafting skills to speak of, I must use the computer).  I'm also wondering if I could get fabric to go through if I starched the ever-loving hell out of it?  The main problem is stiffness, and to a lesser extent strength: the material has to be sufficiently paper-like to work with the automatic mechanisms of the printer.  I know there are so many more things to do with book-arts, but this is just the current bug that's biting my brain, printed fabric.

[And then when I came out I found I had gotten a $50 parking ticket.  I knew that space was too good to be true!  Although I can say in all honesty that I saw no forbidding signage.  Oh well.]

My interest continues to be piqued by a mini-project for my Literary Editing and Publishing class.  Working in pairs, we have to present an introduction to a literary press or journal, and my partner brought to my attention Tarpaulin Sky, which appears to be mostly an online lit mag, but is also a press.  They make some really lovely stuff.  Their online mag is well laid out, but I think they really shine on their print work, which is just outta sight.  It's beautiful stuff.  Although certainly for visibility's sake one would like to be published by Sarabande or Copper Canyon (which, I realize, only poets have heard of, but trust me: they're bigguns), the product they're putting out over at Tarpaulin Sky seems like it must be a joy to hold and look at, on a totally extra-textual level (which is sort of where my head's at right now).

So rarely do I feel so full of ideas!
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Hey there peoples.  Well.  The quarter has begun: we're going into week 2 or 3, depending on whether you count the first, 3-day week; I think we are.  Let me tell you, it's going to be something of a doozy.  I've got my eighteen hours of classes (see previous post), and I'm sorta-kinda auditing another 5 hours, in the guise of Dr. Heller's Old Occitan class, over in the French Dept.  I did take the equivalent class in Louisiana my last semester there, but the emphasis in Heller's class will be different.  Whereas Dr. Stone focused on linguistics only as much as was absolutely needed to make some sense of the texts in order to talk literature and culture, Heller focuses much more on the language qua language, only dropping into lit and culture as examples and background.  So between the two, I think I'll be pretty well grounded in OOc come early March.  And yes, I know that it doesn't seem that important that I be grounded, considering I'm no longer in a French program, but the cansos (and other verse forms as well, though mostly the cansos) speak pretty strongly to my poetic sensibility; they're really fascinating.

And now a brief sidebar to rant about the university's course restrictions.  I'm sorta-kinda auditing because when I went to turn in my form for a formal audit, I was informed that this would not be possible, since I would then be carrying 23 hours.  The only way it could happen would be with a letter from my advisor to the grad school, who would then have to approve the overage.  I was also asked when I walked up to the counter whether I had talked to my advisor.  This... this is ridiculous.  I'm more annoyed now on a logistical level, but at the time I was pretty steamed.  It all centers around responsibility.  I understand the utility of hour limitations, especially for undergrads, who may not know yet what their capabilities are.  But once you're in grad school, take the damn gloves off.  Is it possible that I could really fuck myself over doing this?  Yes, indubitably (though: I won't). The thing is, though, I don't consider it any of their damn business.  Treat adults like adults.  Treat the students who are, ideally, junior colleagues as peers, not as fools who need to be shown how to wipe their asses.  If I screw myself over, that's my own fault, and I'll deal with the consequences; your job is merely to, at most, issue a recommendation on credit-load.  And the advisor thing?  That's just insulting.  I like Andrew well enough, and I'm sure he could give me some sort of advice if I asked him for it, but I haven't really consulted with an academic advisor since... well, never.  I regularly marched into the counselors' office in HS and told them what I needed signed to make things work outside the usual system.  My honors advisor in undergrad got angry at me 4 months before graduation when I came in to see her for the first time since she taught my survey class my first quarter.  I didn't even really have an advisor at LSU, and when I asked John (the Dir. Grad. Stud.) about classes and requirements, he basically told me to figure it out for myself.  So "Did you talk to your advisor about this?" pretty much equates with "Did you ask your mommy?" in my mind, and I'll not have it.  So instead I bypassed the system entirely, and I'm just sitting in informally, added manually as a guest in Carmen (the online course site system, for non-OSU students).  Fuck you, university admin.  Let someone else play your games.

In other news, Kevin and I went to see Volver last night.  It's the newest film from Pedro Almodóvar, and it's fabulous.  Does it rehash a lot of the same material as, oh, everything else he's every done?  Yes.  But it's still wonderful.  The shots are superb, and the dialogue (as much as I could glean through the subs and my rudimentary Spanish) is spot-on.  The music, in particular, kept making me laugh (with the movie, not at it).  Penelope Cruz et al. were a lovely ensemble cast, who I really think did a fine job.  Also, Volver did break some new generic ground for Almodóvar, I think: there's this thread of the supernatural running all the way through that isn't so present in, say, Todo sobre mi madre or Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios.  I may be an Almodóvar groupie, but if I am the critics are, too: it's been quite well-received.

In other news, my laptop has finally deteriorated to a point where I feel the intense need to replace it.  The breaking point (HA.) was when I noted that the left lid hinge has come apart.  Now the screen occasionally decides to just straight up fall backwards, but conversely when you try to move the screen you have to clamp down on the lid's edge very tight, so as to keep the pieces of the mechanism together and not break the plastic casing around the screen.  This, on top of: an appallingly balky optical drive, a sporadically malfunctioning built-in webcam (it likes to pop up a balloon telling me it's unplugged), a keyboard with various idiosyncrasies, a completely fucking dead battery, some possibly-related power supply issues, and some of the worst customer service I've dealt with from a computer supplier.  The customer service, particularly, is about to drive me over the edge: they promise to do things, and then nothing ever happens.  I have to call them on Tuesday and harass them about my replacement battery, which really should have been here at least a week ago.  They were actually supposed to have replaced my entire system at one point soon after I got it (dead pixel issues), and that... well, it never happened, despite repeated calls and assurances.  So, the gist: don't buy a computer from Widow PC.  Their site is very convincing, as are some of the deals, especially on the low-end products, but in the end you're going to get a crap computer that will not last nearly so long as a competitor's equivalent product.  They claim to make the computers from high-quality products, but from the casing on in, I've really not seen evidence of this.  Maybe in their high-end products (their main focus) there's good stuff, but every last bit of my notebook is cheap knock-off shit, held together with Bond-o and baling wire (as we say where I'm from).

So what am I doing?  I'm getting another Dell.  My geek cred will hardly skyrocket, but you know what?  I've never had a problem with them.  The Dell boxes I've had have always been of high quality, their support is generally friendly and efficient, and the purchasing and delivery process is smooth and easy.  Sure, you have to do a little bit of work to get rid of their pre-installed madness (I really don't need a Dell Update Manager, thank you), but I'll much more happily take a computer whose main error is over-protectiveness than one that just makes me angry.  Plus Kevin found a coupon on the Dell site knocking off 20% from any Inspiron notebook (which is what I'd be getting), so that sweetens the pot.  I'm still not 100% sure -- I won't be until I've actually bought the damn thing -- but I'll probably be getting a new laptop soon.  I mean, I've even applied and been accepted for Dell financing (though, sadly, not at the zero interest for 6 mo. option), which says to me that I'm pretty sure of it.  Anybody want an old laptop?  She's not pretty, but she'll get you through the day-- as long as you hold her lid together.  Cheap.

Anyway, off to go read more.  I've completed my 30 lines of blank verse (not the worst thing I've ever written, though far from the best), but I've still got four poets' work to read in our anthology for workshop, and the second half of a facsimile of the Dialogus of Salomon and Marcolphus for Medieval Lit on Tuesday.  Cheers!
yrmencyn: (food)
What the hell.  It's like I have a 50-50 chance of making seitan successfully... I don't get it.  I took the standard recipe and halved it, since that was how much gluten flour I had.  I had a scant cup of gluten, so I also made the liquid scant.  But it still should have worked; proportions were the same.  I altered the spicing, but the spices aren't water-bearing or water-sucking, they're just spices (with the possible exception of the ground-up bouillon cube, but even so that shouldn't change it much).  I used non-standard liquids, but still: a liquid's a liquid, as long as it's aqueous.  I may have overdone the yeast a little bit, but I'm not certain if that accounts for the bizarreness.  The bizarreness, by the way, is that the seitan categorically refused to become, you know, seitan.  It wouldn't form a gluten matrix, which... ok, but... the flour is pure gluten.  If you put it in the presence of moisture and look at it funny, it should make a protein matrix.  Not a moist, non-bound blob.  I ended up (well, I should say the trash ended up) with these little blobs that resembled nothing so much as polenta dumplings. 

*throws hands up in the air in a sign of exasperated defeat*

Fuck you, fake meat.  My fried potatoes sauteed in bacon fat were delicious, and the bacon bits weren't made of mush.  So there.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
I'm not even going to bother apologizing for my absence anymore, since it appears to be my default state nowadays.

-------------

Dentists, catholic stupidity, driving, coming out, grades, and a disclaimer. In that order. )
yrmencyn: (food)
So.  Saturday.  It was a productive day, albeit in a non-academic sort of way (can you tell I'm having a bout of school-related guilt and stress right now?).  First, I went to the Home Depot to go make a Happy Skippy Purchase.  Upon returning home, I then set about that most fundamental of kitchen activities: making stock.

This is image-heavy )
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Well, I found out today that there's a very good reason I've felt too tired to do much outside of the absolute necessities, which, sadly, does not include LJ.  The reason, basically, is that this quarter has been the absolute pits for me, health-wise.  Allow me to elaborate.

Health History and Treatment! )

In other news, I admitted defeat on the financial front.  When I was first applying to grad schools back in fall of '03, I remember Danielle told me that if I paid to go to grad school, I was doing something wrong.  And I took that to heart.  For the two years I was down in Louisiana, I had no reason not to continue to run with that idea, since I was living high on the hog (wastefully, too).  But now that I'm up here, I've had to sit back and re-evaluate.  I have tried SO hard these past two months, I really have.  My monthly dropped by about 50% when I moved up here, and I have gotten so close.  With a couple of exceptions, I have been a very, very good boy, have constantly said to myself "No, Mike, you don't need <insert anything not a necessity here>."  And here's the plain fact of the matter: I still can't hack it.  Rent, utilities, car note, insurance, once you take out those big chunks I'm left with a tiny amount to live off of, and I can't fit the pieces together.  So I have re-evaluated the dictum (which I still think is valid, especially in my new reformulation) as "if you're paying tuition do go to grad school, you're doing something wrong."  And I'm not paying tuition, I just need a couple hundred more a month (basically enough to pay off my credit card debt, sigh).  So I just filled out my FAFSA online; the woman in the Student Financial Aid office says it should be a little more than a two-week turnaround.  I'll steal from my own savings until then.
yrmencyn: (food)
Oh, what a day it's been, food-wise.  It all started with homemade chicken salad made with homemade tzatziki, which is scrumdiddliumptious.  Garlicky like all hell though; I thought it seemed like a tetch much of the stuff when I was making it, but hey, the recipe came from a reputable source!  Ignore your culinary instincts!  Oh well, just needed a little dilution.

Course, then as I was cleaning the massive pile-up of dishes in the kitchen (seriously.), I realized I may have inadvertently ruined my big non-stick skillet, which is annoying.  Last night I made some stir-fry, and after I was done I left the pan on the stove.  I, of course, turned the burner off... or did I???  It appears I had a brain fart and turned the knob the wrong way, which would be LOW, not OFF.  So from approximately 11pm last night until about 2pm this afternoon, my pan just sat there, slowly encrusting its spicy glaze onto itself.  I got the burnt-in sauce off with repeated soakings and the stiff [nylon] brush I usually use for the cast iron, but I really wonder how non-stick that thing will be now.  Teflon really isn't supposed to be dry-heated at all, certainly not for 15 hours.  At least I don't have any pet birds, they'd almost assuredly have died (Teflon emits fumes when heated improperly, and birds are extremely sensitive to them).

Redeemed myself, though.  I've tried twice before to make seitan here at home, once with the wrong flour (dense, slimy mess), and once with a slightly incorrect recipe (looked like it had Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).  Today, I finally had the right ingredients and the right technique in the same room, and it came out the way it's supposed too.  I altered the spicing to make it more beef-like (emphasizing smoky flavors, basically), and since I am a Texan, and what's more Texan than beef, I decided to make the most classic of Texan dishes: Chicken Fried SteakSeitan.  I used an amalgam of AB's recipe here and David Bulla's recipe here over at the Texas Cooking website. 
Texas Cooking, by the way, is an amazing resource.  The recipes are always spot-on, and there are a number of articulate, well-written and -researched articles, obviously written by people who not only know their stuff, but have a passion for helping people enjoy the foods they love so well.  The range of recipes is also much broader than you might imagine; we have a lot of different people down in the Lone Star State, and they each have contributed to what we think of as Texas cookery.
Twice-dredged seitan, tangy mashed potatoes (you have to try yogurt in your mashed potatoes, by the way, it's life-altering.  That, and sour cream.), and that fabulous traditional chicken-fried-steak gravy over it all, a flour-thickened mix of chicken stock and milk, full up with coarse black pepper.  Mmmmm.

Went to class, too.  Gave a presentation.  Wandered around naked a lot at home, the roommate being out of town.  Discovered that though I last sang it, what, two years ago, I still know my part to "Fair Phyllis" quite well.  Also discovered that [livejournal.com profile] talyr makes delicious cookies and truffles.  Completely slacked on reading the Althusser and the Jameson for tomorrow; I'll remedy that in the morning.

Else the Puck a liar call.  And so good night unto you all.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
I just looked at my bank account, and I had a strong urge to vomit.  Now admittedly, it's the first week of the month, when everything comes due and bank accounts just hemorrhage money, but this is completely beyond.  I have to really, finally, come to terms with the fact that I am beyond horrible with money and do something about it.  I've been lucky the last few years to have had a ridiculously large income, but that's no longer the case.  I spend far too much on... everything.  Eating out, random purchases I don't need, 'treats' that I rationalize far too readily, just everything.  I need to sit down tonight and make out a hard-core budget, and then --here's the clincher -- stick to it.  There is absolutely no way this can go on.  This month may already be shot, but savings can fill in the gaps there.  Can't keep doing that for three years, though...
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
See, I'm in hate with Cleanth Brooks right now.  Being "in hate" is analogous being "in love": it is a passionate, though ultimately transitory period of high wrathful dudgeon, destined eventually to subside to an abiding simmer of loathing.  My present wroth is caused by Brooks' essay "Irony as a Principle of Structure," which I just finished reading at Cup O' Joe, in preparation for class tomorrow.  It starts out (seemingly) straight-forward enough: Brooks basically asks why poetry uses metaphor so much (uh, basically because if you just said "X", that'd hardly be poetry [which... whatever, I have my reservations/objections, but it's not my essay]).  He then wanders off toward irony, which he sees as a contextual function.  I can vaguely connect this to metaphor, although honestly it's a stretch (which he himself doesn't make).  THEN, he [sort of] reveals that he's interested mostly in why critics of his age are so apt to cry "irony!"  Thus as a completely logical extension he begins to speak of the merits of a Jarrell poem.  And comes to a 'conclusion'.

I'm sorry, but, while he's got some good material in the essay (and in case anyone whose specialty this is reads the above: yes, I know I'm grossly simplifying his essay, in part for dramatic purpose), his structure is just not good.  I'm not requesting a five-paragraph form, certainly; that particular form is boring and excessively limiting.  But I wouldn't mind him actually sticking to an argument, or providing pertinent support, or maybe returning to a point to tie it together.  Right now he's got a through-composed piece, where what he really needs is a verse-refrain sort of gig.  It's maddening, it's like he decided "I'm a beeg eemportant theorist, I don't need to hew to standard rhetorical principles, reader be damned!"  Yes, we teach people how to write an argumentative paper for the express purpose of having them be able, eventually, to rise high enough in the academic echelons to eschew such forms entirely.

So anyway, you can thank Mr. Brooks for this actual update, since I just have to take a break before tackling the next bloody essay; hopefully it'll be more parseable so I can actually write a damn Statement of Understanding that doesn't have to include the phrase "irredeemably confused."

I've had a very good weekend.  Kevin and I got together Friday evening to go out, which is a sort of novel idea :)  We've tended to cook at home, or just hang out, or go to a gathering, or whatnot, so actual 'dates' have been less present.  After looking at some menus online, we decided to go park in downtown Grandview and wander about looking at places before deciding.  We did so, and eventually decided to go to Spagio.  The food was delicious (he had the potato gnocchi with veggies, and I had the fresh mushroom pizza), the waitstaff was attentive, friendly, and competent, and the atmosphere was trendy while still feeling cozy.  I may also feel somewhat biased toward them because of the bright and sparkly caipirinha I had to start off the evening while we waited at the bar (a caipirinha is similar to a mojito, but has no mint and is made with the Brazilian sugar-cane liquor cachaça).  Dinner was followed by a trip to Jeni's ice cream next door, where you really can't go wrong.  Cantaloupe sorbet, Backyard Mint, and Buttermilk Strawberry.  Mmm.  Hold onto the flavors of summer while you can!

We went and met [livejournal.com profile] nogoodnick and [livejournal.com profile] piobaireachd at the Arena Grand to see The Black Dahlia (stopping en route at Caffé Apropos to see some of Kevin's friends who were there for the weekly wine-tasting.  Of the movie... well, less said is more.  There were some moments that were good, but by and large it was a big disappointment.  I think it was trying to evoke film noirs of a bygone era, and occasionally the diction was perfect, but usually the effect was humorous, since... well, swing and a miss.  The styling, however, was very well-done in my opinion; it's a pity the rest of the movie didn't hold itself up to the same standard.  Oh, as a last note: while the movie was mostly a wash, the [unintentionally?] hilarious performance of Fiona Shaw as Ramona Linscott was worth the price of admission.  Almost.  Anyway, then we went back to his place and went to bed, it being late and all.

Saturday.  Oh, Saturday, what did I ever do to you?  You were supposed to be a productive day :)  Instead we ended up going to Penzey's (after a long saga involving the recalcitrance of Kevin's car to, uh, work), because that's what you do.  Oh, spices.  So inexpensive if purchased in small quantities.  We love you.  And then, of course, what does one do with new-bought spices but cook with them?  I'd had this idea for a roasted allium pasta sauce, and decided to try it out, so we headed to my place.  Although the recipe diverged from my mental plan at some point, the end result, with roasted garlic/onion/bell pepper and fresh garlic, plus veg stock, wine, and spices and just a touch of cream, ended up being quite delicate and very good with tagliatelle (although if I make it again I'll chop the vegetables finer to make a more homogeneous sauce).  Also a sort of mango wine cooler/bellini appeared at one point, with Covey Run's off-dry Riesling and some mango nectar.  Mmm.

Next, since it was stormy out anyway, I decided to try this intriguing recipe I'd seen for pfeffernusse cookies.  It was intriguing because the method was rather unusual... almost more like a candy recipe than a cookie recipe.  The results?  Wretched.  I mean, really, really unpleasant.  The cookies looked benign enough, but upon mastication they transformed into a substance midway between taffy and caramel.  Oh, and they had a sort of... crust?... that went crunch when you bit it.  The mouthfeel was horrifying.  I link the recipe here only so you can look at the method and go "huh?" So glad I halved that.  Do not make this cookie.  I compensated for the horrible failure by breaking out my mixer and making my old standby: chocolateless chocolate chip cookies (basic Nestle Tollhouse recipe, omit chocolate chips, add in whatever you like, in this case walnuts and chopped dates).  They are, as expected, perfect.  We ended up the night by watching the first few episodes of West Wing Season One, since Kevin had never before watched WW (SIN.).  Discovered that night on the Anime channel (who knew there was such a thing?): Bento Beat Box, an all J-Pop music video program.  Addictive.

Today we had brunch at Whole World, up at High and Como, and it was great.  Their vegetarian sausages were startlingly good recreations of their meaty brethren, and I really can't figure out how.  The texture was almost perfect, and I want to know how the hell they managed it.  Kevin suggested TVP, which seems like a possibility.  Mind-boggling.

And then we come back 'round to the beginning of the entry.  Ain't that a deal?

Other than Cleanth Brooks, the weekend has been wonderful.  I've tried to keep my cute down to an absolute minimum, but... *smile*  Like I told my sister a few days back: I'm really very happy.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Wow, I'm just really not normal, am I?  I was sitting here, and I thought "I'm still hungry, but not enough for a whole 'nother meal" (take that, Taco Bell's so-called Fourth Meal!).  So what did I do?  Did I... run to Taco Bell anyway?  Heat up some leftovers?  Go hungry?  Eat jellybeans?  Or did I go into the kitchen and make a little tiny portion of lentils?  If you guessed the lentils, you know my madness too well.  I dunno, I just LURVE LENTILS.  They're so filling, and they cost almost nothing, and they're absolutely delicious, so nutty and fantastic.  Throw in some minced onion, a little cumin, maybe some curry powder (or hell, just straight up turmeric and coriander)... you've got a party.  A delicious, nutritious, economical party.  I am such a dork :)

So, the weekend's events.  First off, since I know everybody's been wondering, the brisket was amazing :)  It was so tempting... a vegetarian even ate it!  In my defense on that count, I didn't even pressure him, I just turned around and he was eating it.  As he said when I questioned him, "It's a brisket made by a Texan, how can I not?"  I can't say I disagree.  The party was also fabulous!  The rain played nice, and though it was overcast the whole time it only sprinkled briefly, so we still boated, grilled, and swam, huzzah!  And then a large portion of Jägermeister seems to have disappeared over at Angélique's house, which was good times.  I think I may have taken... 6 shots?  I don't know.  I'd had quite a lot of beer at that point, plus swigs from a bottle of mezcal (the cinnamon-flavored magic that Michele brought me from Oaxaca).  Other highlights?  Black bean pupusas, crawfish pies right off the grill, fresh cracklins (read: still warm from the fryer), seeing quite a large number of my friends, staying up talking to Gél until quite late.  Lowlights are composed entirely of injuries: I cut my fingers a couple of times on twist-offs (did they start putting those on tighter or something?!), and I burnt my arm on the oven coil as I was warming the brisket: there's a really cool dark-colored blister full of liquid on my arm!

Failures, however, happened today.  Mainly these failures are sartorial.  See, I went through my clothes and got rid of things I no longer wear.  The thing is... I now have no cold-weather clothes.  I can list the cold-weather garments I have: a few pairs of jeans, a hoodie, a flannel, a weird cowboyish double-breasted corduroy shirt, and a couple of fleece jackets.  That's it.  See, two things have happened in the past few years.  First, right toward the end of undergrad, my arms grew a little bit.  This means that quite a lot of dress shirts just don't fit right, but unlike down here, I can't pull off the "look at me, I'm so casual with my rolled-up sleeves" look throughout most of the year.  Second, my style changed (for the better).  I've become much more comfortable and happy with my body in the last couple of years, and thus I've gotten away from wearing baggy clothes.  So I've got a lot of clothes, and not really bad ones, but they all need to be, like, a size smaller.  And I'm done growing.  So away they go.  I was really quite frustrated by this earlier, now I just find it ridiculous.  I'm going to be spending a lot of time in thrift stores.

Still, the day was not a complete loss.  Tasty pasta happened for supper (leftover brisket and carne asada pasta with dry gnocchi), the girls gave me a very sweet going-away gift (giant picture collage), and I finally bought a hands-free kit for my phone, thus enabling me to drive and talk at the same time without feeling like I have one less hand than I need for phone, wheel, and stick.  Plus I watched an inordinate amount of Sports Night, did laundry, and boxed up books (I have 14 boxes of books, total -- that's ridiculous).  And of course my tasty lentils :)
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
I cannot find a lantern battery to save my soul.  You all know the batteries I'm talking about, the ones with the little conical springs sprouting from the top.  I have an incredibly cheap-ass flashlight that takes one.  I use this light not because it's fancy or anything (like I said, it's cheap-ass), nor because it's light and packable (it takes a lantern battery, for chrissakes), but because it throws a whole, whole lot of light, yet I don't worry about losing it or breaking it, since it cost me something like $5 dollars about an equal number of years ago.

But I can't use my giant flashlight, because I can't find a battery.  First I tried at Albertson's, a long shot to be sure, but it's the closest store, and they have ziploc containers, some of which I needed.  I couldn't even find the batteries there, so I gave up on that jaunt.  I then decided to make a drive out to Target, because hey, it's a bigger store.  And if Wal-Mart carries lantern batteries (as I'm pretty sure they still do), surely Target does too.  No luck.  Seriously, I looked all over that blasted store, and there is nary a lantern battery to be had.  They have lanterns in their sporting goods section that appear to require them (although an increasing number seem to be plug-in-rechargeable, which may explain the sudden dearth of gigantic single-use batteries that have no other conceivable purpose), but no batteries.  It's maddening.

You also can't buy a 4- or 6-pack of AA's anymore, I think.  I had to buy 16 AA batteries -- what is that?  I just don't use that many batteries.  I was only barely consoled by .99$ key lime-white chocolate cookies in the checkout line.

So, yes, in about 30 minutes I'm headed out.  I'll have my phone with me, but I generally have it turned to silent in camp situations.  Feel free to leave me a message, or maybe I'll even be both free and aware of the flashing screen.  What an idea!  I'll be back from training the night of the 6th, unless it's like last year and I get sucked into dinner and drinks in Lafayette (or was that just after the encampment itself?  I can't recall).
yrmencyn: (vdub)
Work today?  Ve-e-e-e-e-ery slo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ow.  On the plus side, none of the charts were running around like madmen with evil evil pernicious brains, so that was nice.  We even successfully matched a lot of random crap that was, well, being randomly crappy.  And homeless.  Unconscionably.

In other news, I have set a new record.  I bought my car on Saturday, here it is Tuesday, T+3 days.  What did I do this afternoon?  Lost the key fob*.  Couldn't find it for love or money.  I was fairly sure I'd set it on the table, but it sure wasn't there.  So I used the valet key to drive over to Erin's and figured it would show up soon enough with some judicious morning looking.  When I got home, what was on the table but the key fob!  All is well, though; I'm not crazy.  I asked Erin-the-roommate about it, and she said she had found it in the backyard while letting Sammy out to do her business**.  Must have fallen out while I was watering the plants; the pockets in my scrubs aren't big fans of keeping items contained.  Oh well, no harm done, lesson learned, must ensure that important items are safely placed inside on the dresser before doing, well, anything.

* A slightly confusing usage.  While many cars with keyless entry have the key proper and a separate fob with lock/unlock/iced-cappuccino buttons, the Jetta (and many [all? most?] other VW models) has what they call a 'switchblade key'; the key folds down into the rectangular fob, and the push of a mechanical (as opposed to electronic) button releases it to pop out, like a switchblade.

** I've always loved this euphemistic idiom.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
So... yes.  While I was in Nac over the weekend, I stubbed my pinkie toe on the counter (well, the cabinet beneath the counter -- you understand what I mean).  This is a not uncommon occurrence, I think because the natural angle of my feet, even when walking, is somewhat splayed, thanks to moderate inward torsion of my legs when I was born that was subsequently over-corrected with orthopedic shoes (I bet, like, none of y'all knew about that chunk of my medical history).  So it didn't really hurt that much, and I thought no more about it.  (I think I've killed all the nerve endings in my pinkie toes by now in any case.  It's the frequent knocking about and the wearing of hiking boots for various outdoorsy purposes that does it.  The former contributes blunt trauma to the mix, while the latter contributes circulation-inhibition, since I inherited my grandmother's toe lumps [the balls of my feet are significantly wider than the span of my toes].)

Fast forward to today.  I was picking at my toenails (a boredom habit which is ridiculously hard for me to break), and I realized that my left pinkie toe, the one I stubbed, was acting like it was on a hinge.  Intrigued, I cranked my foot up toward me to look closer.  The nailbed (underneath the nail) was completely healed over and non-bloody.  I could tell this because the nail first tilted up and then came clean off.  I didn't mean to remove my toenail, it just... popped off, like a bottle cap!  What the fuck?  It wasn't blue-black, like a crushed nail that falls off, it was perfectly normal.  This is totally different from a crushed nail.  Am I just going to go through the rest of my life without one of my toenails?  Will it grow back?  Do I care?  It's just odd... there's this rudimentary keratin covering where the nail should be, like a little thin nail that didn't ever grow up to be a real one. 

Seriously.

Ugh, work.

Jun. 6th, 2006 10:05 pm
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
I have to be at work by 8 tomorrow instead of 10.  Kill me now.

ETA: Oh yeah, almost forgot to wish every happy Devil Day. Only comes round once a century!

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