yrmencyn: (armadillo)
So... CGMC had its first choreography rehearsal today, and it kicked my ass, both physically and mentally.  Physically, just because I've lost the callouses I used to have on my toes from Dance Guild -- I'm feeling hot spots on both big toes.  Also, note to self: bring/wear shorts next time.

The more annoying thing is the mental fatigue.  I feel like I've reverted to 1996.  Back at the beginning of high school, I was completely uncoordinated; choreography for choir shows was an ugly thing set on my body, all gangly and unfluid.  But by the end of high school, even if I wasn't the best dancer ever, I at least looked like I knew what I was doing.  Well, it's been almost nine years since I did any of that.  And I thought I was doing ok, but then we moved to a room with mirrors, and... y'all.  As I said walking to the car, I'm too butch for this shit.  And I feel heavy, and kludgy, and ungraceful.  And it's not helping that I ended dancing a lot tonight right in front of our guy playing Joseph, who is himself a dancer.  And... fuck.  I felt all of 14 again, all "I look a moron in front of the cool kid."  I'm a smart, sexy, hilarious, accomplished man, and yet I felt like zilch.  Fuck this shit.  I'm better than the way I'm feeling.  But right now my streak of perfectionism is really getting to me -- nothing to do for it but just keep trying.  I've mastered my body before, and I can do it again.  I just hope I can do it in the next month and a half.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
The dark: I'm still in it.  AEP tells me that I'll have power by Friday midnight latest, and I'm really really really hoping it'll happen earlier.  Say, tonight.  Not holding my breath, though.  [livejournal.com profile] knightvln was kind enough to hook me up with some ice from the B&N cafe today, so my chest freezer -- which had crept up to a slightly worrisome 38 degrees -- is back down to 35 this afternoon.  A lot of that stuff shouldn't be refrozen, of course, but at least it's not spoiling -- I'll just have to cook a lot of formerly-frozen items, is all. 

I've really been mostly ok with the blackout, but it's been hard the last couple of days, since the people across the street got power Tuesday afternoon.  Before, it was all community-banding-together-oh-look-how-fun-this-is-like-camping.  Now it's the haves and the have-nots :)  I'm just envious, is all. 

Bigger madness today was an eye appointment, where they took very high quality pictures of the back of my eyeball to have a baseline for comparison.  To do so they had to dilate my eyes.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of being dilated, but it's hardly a new occurrence; I'm pretty accustomed.  Today, however, I forgot my glasses at home, so I had to wear my contacts while dilated, which I've never done before.  I thought it would be pretty much the same, but it's a whole different experience.  I have NEVER felt so googly-eyed.  It didn't help that the nurse accidentally got two drops in my right eye, so one eye was more deeply dilated than the other.  I felt almost drunk.  I'm mostly back to normal now, although I can tell that my right eye is still wackajiggered.  Ugh.  Thank God I don't have to do that again for at least 4 more months.
yrmencyn: (food)
Well, it's been mostly a good two days.  Yesterday, my actual birthday, Elisa and Francis took me out to lunch at Spagio, where I had never been for brunch.  I decided to try their omelet of the day, which was salmon and mixed veggies, with a greens salad and some really fine fried potatoes.  I greatly enjoyed it, but was even more impressed with Fran's brunch calzone, a behemoth with Black Forest ham, eggs, gruyère (I think it was gruyère), and probably some other stuff as well, all in a beautifully puffed dough shell.  And even if she wasn't a huge fan, Elisa's crab and avocado salad looked lovely, and tasted fine to me!

The rest of the day I mostly sat around and sorted papers, some of which dated back to 2002 (most of those got chunked).  I was amazed to find that I two novels in the paper box, texts from a Women's Francophone Lit class I had taken where the texts were out-of-print or hard to find, so the prof just xeroxed the ENTIRE NOVEL.  I'm kind of excited, because -- I'll admit -- I don't think I ever read them, so it was like "oh!  books!"  And then I took a quick walk with Ali, and hung out with the family when they both wandered by errantly :)

Today, you'd THINK would have been a downhill move, since the A/C in Denney was dead and it was a Sauna Party in the DMP.  But when I got home, such lovely surprises!  There was a package from Kevin, returning the rice cooker and sending me some gifties.  In addition, there was a letter from my auto loan company.  Now, this was a little worrying, since last I checked I had paid that loan in full last month.  But I opened it up, and there was the title to my Jetta!  So only 2.25 years after my parents paid off the loan on my Corolla and I subsequently totaled it, I own my car outright again!  And although a little part of me was just worried that I might be tempting fate to say that, I don't think it's too dangerous: I drive but rarely, and I have a not-entirely-irrational dislike of left turns now.  So yes, I'm totally an adult or something, with my paid-off car and my rice cooker :)

And I made tasty tasty dinner tonight.  Curried mushrooms and eggplant -- it's so rich and thick and almost meaty.  Really more of a wintry dish, though; I'll have to remember it for when it gets colder.  Ooh, and then later Meg, Amanda, and I had ice cream, and A gave me a probe thermometer -- she knows me too well :)

Oh, and I made 7 quarts of vegetable stock today.  Like you do.  And watermelon sorbet.  And watermelon agua fresca, because JESUS CHRIST WATERMELONS ARE HUGE.

Also, last thing: Giant Eagle, my lucky grocery, is a den of fail.  I went to buy more corn syrup (I realized halfway through the sorbet that I didn't have enough, and didn't want the flavor distraction a honey sub would add), and well -- it was bad.  First off, I can't find anything, because the thing's been under renovation for months, and it's entirely possible it will be until well past the end of the year.  Second, even after I found the appropriate sections, they've mysteriously stopped carrying the things I like.  I'm REALLY brand-loyal with my hot sauces, and they didn't have them.  Now, not having Valencia hot sauce is... understandable, albeit sad, since it's really delicious.  But to not have Louisiana brand hot sauce, that's just annoying.  I wanted to buy the big-ass bottle, which shplorts out perfectly when you shake it.  And yes, there is Tabasco, but I really prefer La. brand; Tabasco tastes unbalanced to me (too much vinegar, not enough pepper).  AND -- and and and -- they only had the stupid small bottles of Tabasco.  Not to mention that the Hispanic section, usually my source for non-kidney red beans, had only pintos, blacks, and garbanzos.  All fine legumes, but what about my red beans?

Suffice it to say, I'll be making sure to make room in my suitcase for bags and bags of Camellia red beans, boxes and boxes of Luzianne family size ice tea bags, and maybe a couple bottles of hot sauce.

(Oh yeah, I'm headed down to La/Tx on Monday.  Did I mention?)

HVAC fail

Aug. 4th, 2008 10:14 am
yrmencyn: (Default)
One of the office staff just sent out an email to the creative writing listserve:
FYI—Denney Hall is without air conditioning at the moment.  You might want to bring a fan in, if you plan to visit for a decent length of time.  The maintenance team tells us it should be fixed in a day or two.  I’ll keep you posted…
I work in the DMP for 6.5 hours today.  You know, a room full of computers and computer equipment?  Joy.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Oh, City of Columbus.  You are suffereing from an excess of fail this morning.

So after going to the market and picking up some tasty tasties (including 2# of sweet-sour cherries and the biggest fucking blackberries I've seen in my life), I decided to sit around outside and read with an iced coffee and a couple of fried pies (mmm).  While I was sitting there, I heard a big rustling, and looked over at a nearby tree to see a raccoon crawling headfirst down toward the ground.  It ambled down the slope toward the street, and then off up Tulane.

So I did what any logical person would do, and called up Kevin to exclaim on the weirdness of it all.  He pointed out that it was really odd behavior for a nocturnal animal, and suggested that I should maybe call animal control.  So I called the local 311 number (city non-emergency), who transferred me over to the Dog Warden.

I wasn't really sure that would, you know, be the right department, but I pressed on.

Me: Um... hi.  So, there's a raccoon wandering around in my yard and the neighbors' yards, which is odd, because they're... you know... nocturnal.
Her: Sir, this is the Dog Warden.
Me: Yeeesss, but this is the number I was transferred to from 311.
Her: Right, well, we only deal with dogs.
Me: OK, so... who should I call then?
Her: Well, is it sick?
Me: Er... it's wandering around in the daylight and doesn't seem afraid of people.  I'm just worried about the neighborhood animals.  And, you know, kids.
Her:  Hmm.  Well, there's really no government-funded agency for that kind of thing.
Me: So... there's nothing to be done?  At all?
Her:  Well, you could call the Dept. of Wildlife.  But I know for a fact that they don't work weekends, anyway.
Me:  ...  'Kay.  ... Welllll, I guess I'll just tell the neighbors if I see them.
Her: Good idea!


So, yeah.  Possibly diseased raccoon.  No one can help.  But hey, the dog warden lady gave me positive reinforcement for my bad backup plan, so I feel like a more valued member of society </sarc> Times like this I think I should own a small air rifle.  Or maybe take up archery.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)

 OK. So. I just went on weather.com, and I saw an ad for one of the most aggravating products ever, Smirnoff Mojito. I give the ad for reference.

There are SO many things wrong with this product I don't know where to start. First off, There Is No Such Thing As A Vodka Mojito. Sorry, there just isn't. It's a rum drink. Second, it should be mixed fresh; if you're bottling it all that will happen is that you lose the crisp brightness that is the hallmark of a well-prepared mojito. Third, and almost as damning as the liquor choice: kaffir lime. I mean, yay, I'm glad that Americans have now heard of this herb, but it simply doesn't belong in a mojito. You're looking for regular old Persian limes, and certainly not their leaves. The kaffir business is simply blatant faddism.

Sad to do that to such a fine drink.

 Smirnoff Mojito Ad
yrmencyn: (food)
No really, I am.  First, let me just disclaim: I have in no way committed any crimes against my country.  I even voted in the presidential primary, which is (sadly) Advanced Citizenship.  But I have committed sins of apostasy, or blasphemy, or whatever.  It's hard to classify when it's not religious.

OK, so, first off?  I bought a product that I have often derided.  That product?  Decaffeinated coffee. See, I started making my coffee in a tasty, tasty way: in a little moka pot, a nice dark roast freshly ground with cardamom and coriander.  Pour into a mug with about a quarter cup of warmed, sweetened milk, lightly frothed.  Nummy.  Anyway, I want to drink it... pretty much all day.  Problem is, I'm apparently getting old.  Either that, or I actually have finally kicked my bad caffeine habit.  Anyway, practically speaking?  I can't drink my delicious strong coffee after about 3pm, or I don't sleep.  So I broke down and bought some decaf Colombian French roast beans.  Go ahead and judge me.  I judge myself.

etc )

Couch woes

Nov. 12th, 2007 12:52 am
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
I'm sort of a seething ball of hate right now.  Not entirely, mind you, since I just won a game of Settlers, but the hate still burns strong in me.  Why, you ask?  A couch.  A hateful, hateful couch.  Now, I don't mean to be so hard on the couch, since it's served me and a number of others well over the years, but I want it to die.  See, Liz left this couch behind.  And while it was once a very fine couch, it's on its last legs.  Not only that, it's been marinating in cat for the better part of a decade at this point (maybe longer?  what's the original provenance of the big blue couch?), and Kevin happens to be allergic to cats.  So Kevin found a new couch on Craigslist, and it's in the house now, which means that the old couch has to go. 

Being responsible community members, we scheduled a large item pickup with the city for tomorrow, and this evening we geared up to drag the damn thing outside.  Unfortunately, we hadn't counted on the fact that it is, apparently, 100% impossible to remove the couch from the dwelling (thus leading us to the strange conclusion that it is impossible for the couch to have ever been put inside the building, and that we've been using an illusory couch for the past long while).  Seriously, we tried it so many different ways.  We even took a door off its hinges, thinking the extra couple inches that would afford us would let us get the damn thing out (it wouldn't).

So it's back in the living room, which is frankly too small for both couches.  And we're not entirely certain what to do.  We've contacted one of Kevin's friends who has power tools, but she's not sure when she can get here.  If I could just get a hold of an ax, I could deal with it.  It just needs a little trimming, and then it can be dragged outside.  Anybody have an ax?  I know I could do it with a three-quarter, probably even with a hatchet. 

Fucking couch.

Hi peeps

Oct. 31st, 2007 10:34 pm
yrmencyn: (Default)
We-e-e-e-ell, it's been about two and a half months since I put up a substantive entry.  I don't even know how to give an update of everything that's going on.  I've been really busy for... oh, since school started.  Teaching is kicking my ass four ways from Sunday.  Not that it's too hard -- I think I'm doing a good job -- but it's just a lot of damn work.  I know the teachers on my flist are rolling their eyes and saying "Uh, yeah," but really: it surprised me.  I think it'll be better next quarter, since I won't be preparing lesson plans all the time, and I'll have some sort of idea what I'm doing.  Or I could be totally wrong, and it'll still be nuts.  Either way, that's part of the reason I've been gone so long (although I assure you, I've been reading, even when not posting).

My Student/Faculty Reading went well.  I got many compliments, and I felt like it was a very successful time.  I like performing.  I'm fascinated by the performance aspect of my profession, which I think many of my colleagues don't think about, or discount.  (Not to say they're bad for that; everybody has different interests.)  It was a great experience, and I'm glad that my family was there for it (Mom, Dad, my aunt, my sister and her husband, Kevin).  Poetry in general... I feel like my work is strong recently, and that's great.

The broader academic view... oy.  There's a good chance I'm going to be going back to school after I'm done with this degree.  I hate this.  I mean, I like to learn.  I really do.  But more grad school... man, I will have been in post-secondary school for nine years after I graduate with my MFA.  I'm burned out.  I don't know if I can handle three (or more) years after that.  And yet, it's REALLY hard to get the kind of job I want without a PhD.  So I don't know.  I'm looking at regular ol' academic PhDs and PhDs with creative dissertation, but I'm also keeping my eyes open for other ideas (university jobs that I might could end up with despite not having a PhD, prep school gigs, the dreaded adjunct positions, etc).

Er... that's about enough writing, I think.  Yep, yep.  Maybe we'll try to make a tradition of this.  And maybe I'll see some of you tomorrow night [I'll be singing! Songs!]:
harvest
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!!

I am so filled with deep, deep annoyance.  I'm working at Camp Bon Coeur again, yes?  And I have to get a physical.  Now, down at LSU this was nice and easy: I called up the Student Health Center, scheduled it, paid a $15 copay, and I was out of there.  Here, though, I call the SHC and they tell me it's not covered by my insurance, not one little bit.  So, being the kind of person I am, I go and look at the benefits literature for my "Comprehensive" Student Health Insurance, and it spells out specifically that a routine physical examination is excluded as an Elective Treatment.

Now, this is fair.  It is, in fact, an elective treatment.  But two things about this bother me:

  1. I can't just make one appointment, because first a Preventative Care Nurse has to deal with me, order labs, whatever, and then s/he will schedule a second appointment at which "the actual doctor" (that's a quote from the appointment-taker) will go over lab results and sign off on whatever forms need signed.  Considering they barely permit me to have the damn thing at all, it wouldn't surprise me if they charge me for two office visits, each at no less than $65.
  2. Now, on the other hand, if I were just feeling a little under the weather, I could waltz in and probably get a walk-up appointment (this being summer), and pay absolutely no money to have somebody tell me I'm just fine.  I can't get a bloody physical, but if I had a little too much to drink last night they'll look at me for free!  They'll happily waste all the money in the world on hypochondriac idiots* who've up and decided they're sick, but I can't get a simple ten-minute physical!  In summer!  When there's no one in the bloody SHC and the doctors and nurses are playing tiddly-winks for lack of aught better to do!**

So yeah.  Anybody know of some wrong-side-of-the-tracks quack shack I can go to for cheap?  Only stipulation is that they have to be able to do a tuberculin skin test, and either an MD or an NP has to sign off (I honestly don't care if it's some pre-med bio major freshman who looks at me, though; I could fill the damn thing out myself).  Or does somebody know a random doctor/nurse here in Col's who'd sling it out pro bono?  I'm fit and healthy, it wouldn't take long.  Mandi, maybe one of the cardiac nurses wants to?  I could get down to Baton Rouge early.  (I'm joking on those last couple.  Mostly.)

Oh, and this thing happened back in April where half the apartment lost power, including the furnace, and though my landlord's electrician found a significant problem, it corrected itself by the time the power company got here. That problem? Yeah, it's back. And my landlord is out of town for the weekend.

Sigh.

* No, not everyone who goes in is a hypochondriac idiot.  I've been in multiple times for perfectly valid reasons.  All I'm saying is there's a 100% benefit on office visits, even if you've got no particular reason to be there.  Unless you're getting a physical, that is.
** I'm guessing, here.  But considering you have to buy off-quarter insurance separately*** (which, again, wtf; even LSU's crappy system didn't just drop you for 3 months out of the year), I kinda doubt their volume is as high.
*** Unless you're on fellowship, like I am, or etc etc.
yrmencyn: (Default)
Arg.  My bloody mp3 player is sick.  I think this has something to do with Windows Media Player.  Allow me to explain: after I upgraded to WMP 11, I noticed that my computer was much more lovey-dovey with my Zen (like, it recognized it, could read its directory structure, that sort of thing).  So I opened up the Zen in WMP, and then the madness started, because it said "Would you like to sync?"  I had a couple new things in my library that weren't on the player yet, so I said 'sure!'  Heh.  Bad move.  The Zen doesn't use any sort of internal directory structure, it just throws all the files into one folder and then makes an ad hoc database of ID3 tags at startup.  WMP, however, is very uncomfortable with this concept for devices, so it likes to impose a system on it.  So when I told it to sync, it looked at the fact that a lot of my music on the computer is well-organized in hierarchical folders thanks to the eMusic Download Manager, and it just copied that over, ignoring the fact that the files in question were already on there.  So then I had duplicates of quite a lot of music.

It was going to be very annoying to fix them.  Plus WMP had wandered around on the internet and helpfully updated some of the album info, undoing customizations I had made, and therefore made everything a mess of confusion.  Then, when I tried to use my normal software to fix the problems, it balked, presumably because of the psychotic tree structures.  BUT, I can't just format the player and re-transfer all the music, because there are things on the player that aren't on the computer.  And my usual software is too confused to manage to transfer it all over.

So I'm now using Windows' newfound ability to trawl the depths of the player -- which was the original source of the evil, you'll note -- to transfer all the data off the player by brute force.  I will then format and reload all the music, not using WMP.  Hopefully this will work.  There's also the mild possibility that this is a player hardware problem, but I really have no way of knowing until I get a clean format.  If nothing else, I do have another similar player just lying around that I could use (although it doesn't have quite all the features I want).  Hélas.  We'll see in another 40 minutes or so how this all goes.
yrmencyn: (Default)
Holy crap.  Apparently Columbus is due to get four to eight inches of snow between tonight and tomorrow night.  This, after a relatively warm day today (temps are supposed to get up to 38!).  Good times.  And I'm supposed to get people from the airport on Tuesday night.  Rapture.  I'm sure Columbus will be more than able to deal, ha.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
I have this recurring nightmare.  In the daylight, I can never really fully remember it, but I know there's some B-movie horror stuff running around in it (some sort of undead, I think, maybe vampires or zombies?), alongside some uncontrollable media (e.g. TVs that turn themselves on, messages and programs on TVs that directly address me, threatening information thereon that only I can see).  IT all sounds fairly innocuous, kiddie stuff, but it plays on three big things my brain responds to: classic horror, which is just fodder for my overactive brain, a fear of losing control, and a latent cultural mistrust of mass media.  The worst parts of these dreams are when I think I'm somehow protected (the method varies from a vaccine to an amulet to whatever), and then the monster in question is able to harm me anyway.  Hate it.

I can always recognize the nightmares; they've got a set of standard features, and they're pretty formulaic.  And within the dream, I'm always aware of its irreality, but I can't wake up.  It's a semi-lucid dream, but not one where I'm lucid enough to control or end the dream, so it ends up being sort of like I imagine it must be to rise to consciousness during surgery. 

This is The Dresden Files' fault, I think?  Not that it was that scary, but Liz, Kevin and I watched the series premiere last night, and it's the only trigger I can think of (the premiere, by the way, was good: I'll continue to watch).  I was very glad to be able to roll over and cuddle with my boyfriend when I finally managed to wake up in the dark of the early morning.  It's hard to resituate yourself in the realm of the real, but having an anchor helps.

PS:  Dear Columbus snow-removal people:  The snow stopped falling almost 24 hours ago.  I know the main roads are your first priority, but I also know you hadn't even gotten to bloody High St. by last evening.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad there's a plow on my street, but it would have been much more useful, say, yesterday afternoon, before the snow had a chance to be melted by traffic and then refreeze.  I swear to God, I don't know how it is that this city is so utterly worthless when it comes to snow.  Arg.
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: (Default)
Greetings.  I just wanted to note two things.  First, we had a lovely party here for New Year's, saw lots of old friends (including some I hadn't seen in, literally, years).  I made some tasty food, a number of people brought snackums and drinks, and all in all a good time was had by all.  The group singing of Auld Lang Syne (led by my copy of Barenaked Ladies' Barenaked for the Holidays) was a special treat, as was having someone to kiss at midnight for, I think, the first time ever.

Second thing is to say that I've just now finished reading Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game for the first time ever in my 24 years.  Yes, I know, I waited more than a decade too long, but you know how these things go: sometimes important books slip through the cracks.  It was really stunning.  It can be read as an insightful treatise on the problems of interaction with an extraterrestrial species, of course, and in the unlikely event that that becomes more relevant I certainly hope the book is required reading at all levels.  That said, I think it's hugely applicable right here, right now as a story about the dangers and consequences of dehumanizing the Other.  It's a sad habit we have as a species, our willingness to paint those with whom we disagree as obvious fools or fanatics, when an interior examination would almost certainly reveal an internal coherency -- and thus an empathizable connection -- to rival our own.

In other news, OSU starts Winter Quarter tomorrow, and I can't access the registrar's site.  Which means I can't view my schedule.  Kevin helped me recreate most of it from other sources (he's a smartie, and I was having a mental block), but I still don't know where my Art seminar is.  Or when.  Or, for that matter, what the damn course number is.  Good times.  Guess I'll be calling the Department of Art tomorrow.  I'd use their website, but it is, unfortunately, pretty much worthless, a monument to form over function.  All pretty, no content. *rolls eyes contemptuously*

I bought a leather coat last night; it is sexy.  I bought Marcus Samuelsson's The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa today; I've been VERY excited about this one since I saw it about a month ago.  Yay Christmas money!  Also had my glasses repaired today, since one of the lens-frames decided to break at the bridge while I was cleaning them a couple days ago.  All-American Eyeglass Repair, 999 Bethel Rd. (just east of Kenny), was wonderful: fast, cheap, and the repair looks to be both neat (you have to know it's there to see it) and sturdy.

Finally managed to get over to the departmental office to check my mailbox, where I knew my portfolio was waiting.  Also there was my commented final paper from Phelan.  For once, I was very happy to receive comments on a paper; he noted a lot of places where my argument was weak or, more frequently, underexplored, and the comments were actually truly constructive, in a way that I don't often feel like I've gotten.  This felt more like I was being approached as a peer by a more experienced colleague, rather than as a peon by a professor just going through the required motions.  Not to say I've had all disaffected, disinterested professors -- far from it -- but it's been a while since a prof and I have both been on board; I've written a lot of papers I could care less about.
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. )

Blah.

Oct. 1st, 2006 11:09 pm
yrmencyn: (Default)
Note to self: watch Gilmore Girls season premiere AFTER you finish your work for class, not before.  While it may seem like you need (deserve?) a break, you will not feel in any mood to work after you've lain in the dark on the couch for 45 minutes.  Especially if your stomach is unaccountably being unpleasant.

EDIT: Ha! Be vanquished, evil thing. I really haven't the vaguest idea if I produced what Phelan's looking for, but it seems rightish, and at least it's tangible.
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)
So, I'm sitting here taking a quick break from the madness of packing and moving (about which: blah.  boo.  suck suck suck suck suck), and the Minstrels of Mayhem's take on "Captain Jack and the Mermaid" came on courtesy of the mp3 player.  As I've thought many times, Jack is really quite a dick.  "I've long loved a lady who lives on the land / but my life with the mermaid is ever so grand! / Won't you go to my lady and ask her for me, / can I marry this mermaid who lives in the sea?"  Seriously?  I mean, it's bad enough he's scamming on his lady, but to then ask her if it's OK if he dumps her for some moistened bint (that's a Python reference, there)... that's shitty.  On the other hand, the lady's obviously mentally defective, since she basically says "what choice do I have?  Of course!"  Your choice is to not even give his pruny ass the time of day, obviously.  Crazy woman.

And... this is all fictional.  Of course.  And yet I somehow seem to care.  My brain is going.

Tomorrow morning we set sail leave for the first leg of our trip, which will stop either in Nashville or in Cincy.  And thence to Columbus on Sunday!

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December 2009

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