yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Work today pretty much blew, to put it simply.  There were an inordinate number of charts to file, and I did nothing else from the time I got there until the time I left, discounting lunch.  I made a dent, but not a big enough one; I'm going to have to work like crazy to get somewhere close to caught up tomorrow.  There should really be more than one person filing, for this volume, ugh.

So by the time I left, after my usual quittin' time, I was beat.  There was, of course, but one thing to do: go home to change, and immediately adjourn to Chelsea's to read a book, drink a beer, and consume an entire plate of cheese fries (and those of you who've been to Chelsea's know how big those plates are!).  I felt completely gross when I was done, but in a very satisfying way.  Sometimes it's completely appropriate to abuse your bodily systems in retaliation against ill-defined blandishments.

I read the first half of Tobias Wolff's Old School this evening, and I'm quite enjoying it.  The reason I'm reading it is because it's the common book for OSU freshmen, and I volunteered to lead a session in one of the survey classes discussing the book; Michelle Herman of the CW faculty has been harassing faculty and staff to lead them :)  In addition, and here's where this gets interesting, I've also volunteered to be on a related question panel on Coming Out.  Old School deals with the narrator coming out as a Jew to his New England prep school classmates, and Michelle and Janice Miller of the Statistics faculty thought it'd be an interesting idea to do a separate session, outside of class, to further explore the concept of coming out -- as a Jew, as gay, as an addict, as bulimic, what have you --, and I volunteered to do that as well: in for a dime, in for a dollar.

In a sterling burst of meta, it functions as a furthering of my own coming out process, which is interesting.  It's only in the past year that I've really started acting on my sexuality, so I feel almost like this panel is a bizarre form of non-film cinéma vérité/reality tv: see it as it happens!  Like CNN, but live-action and at Hillel!  So odd.

Um... I'm bad at conclusions.  It's a failing.  I'll leave with a couple of entertainment-related items.

1.  There is a channel out there that I recently found through [livejournal.com profile] queenmargot, called The Tube.  It's wonderful.  It's what MTV should be: they show videos, and that's pretty much it.  I've seen a couple of PSAs on there, but I don't really have a problem with PSAs, and a couple of promos for WAFB, the local network affiliate, but those aren't too annoying.  AND: they play videos from all over the timeline.  I've seen a few current ones, but also a whole lot of stuff from the 80s, 90s, even the 70s (concert footage, mostly), including a lot of stuff that isn't really MTV fare anyway, which is nifty (though don't worry, mainstream vids have a strong presence, too).  It's wonderful.  Baton Rouge, you can see it on Cox Digital channel 120.  Columbus, you can see it on WOW 140 or Insight 834.  Other markets, you can check the site.  Highly recommended.  Seriously, they're playing David Gray's "Babylon" right now, and it's (a) one of my favorite songs ever (b) never, ever, ever on the radio or the tv.  Score.

2.  Thanks to the inestimable [livejournal.com profile] puppetoflove, I can now share with you a link to the video of the Dixie Chick's "Top of the World" (originally by the fabulous Patty Griffin).  I strongly suggest you all watch it, even if you think "Ew, country music."  Reasons?  Well, first off, it's a great song.  Patty Griffin is by far one of the most talented songwriters of our time, and the Dixie Chicks are very talented performers, and this is a standout track from Home, their best album to date IMO.  If you've ever wondered what it is I see in the Dixie Chicks, this should answer.  Second, the video itself is beautifully done.  It's artful and technically skilled, and it actually adds a layer to my understanding of the song, which is something that I can say for only a tiny minority of music videos out there.
yrmencyn: (Default)
I swear, I didn't disappear.  I just went to Texas for a bit, is all.  See, my license expires on August 3, 2006 (kind of weird to think of it expiring, since I've had it since I turned 18 in 2000; Texas has long renewal periods), and the online system was telling me my SSN didn't match my record (or something), so I had to go in person to a DPS office.  Hence I didn't go to work on Friday, and now I have a lovely slip of paper that will extend my current card until the end of September while I wait 2-3 weeks for the new card to be printed in Austin and get sent to Nacogdoches.  Add that to the registration sticker that I found waiting at my parents', and both I and my car are now properly accredited, just in time to drive to Kentucky on Friday (Fridays and Sundays are my travel days, apparently).

When I got to Nac on Friday afternoon, the parents were still out of town (they went on a big trip throughout Colorado and New Mexico, hitting a lot Silverton (I think?), Durango (?), Mesa Verde, and Santa Fe, among others), but both my siblings were in town, as was Elisa's boyfriend, so we went out to eat at Union Cafe to celebrate Elisa's birthday that passed earlier in the week.  First time I've eaten at Union Cafe, and the Yins have done it again.  It's crazy, it's like they can't make a bad restaurant.  They started out with Szechuan (Chinese) back in the early 90s, then opened La Carreta (Mexican) in the late 90s, and now Union Cafe (Italian) just this past year, and they're all quite good restaurants.  Although I do have to say, Union's grill guy needs to learn what a rare tuna steak is.  Still, medium well tuna is tasty, too, and the rest of the food was largely excellent.  Later that night Elisa named Kevin "Pie Boy".  She thus needs a suitable nickname of her own in return/response/retaliation.  Suggestions?

Celebrated Dad's birthday with a weird deconstructed lasagna I made (eh... needs some work, honestly, although I still think the idea's good) and the traditional World War I Spice Cake.  While Mom and I were waiting for the pictures from the trip to be developed, we went out into the Kimbrook neighborhood over by the high school so I could practice starting my car uphill.  See, it's scary to start a standard uphill, because it rolls backward until you catch it by applying the gas.  Apply too much gas and you'll peel out, but too little will just have you stalling out, and consequently rolling backwards into the car behind you.  Unfortunately, there's not much possibility to practice the skill in Baton Rouge, situated as it is on a coastal plain, but it's still a pertinent skill, since the exit from my neighborhood, inexplicably, is on a quite steep incline.  The only one like it around.  So I've been, since I got the Jetta, pretty much praying that I won't get stuck in the middle of a line of cars at that intersection, so I can just wait on the flat ground at the top. And on the occasions when I do get stuck, I've pretty much been making a spectacle of myself and peeling out.  The problem is that panic mode sets in when I feel myself rolling backwards, and so I overreact.  In a controlled situation in Kimbrook, I caught it fine, no rollback, no peeling, so I'm hoping that I can perform the skill in real-world conditions now that my conscious brain knows for a fact that I can.

Which is quite a lot of words to say, basically, "Look, it's like I'm 16!  Again!  Because I remember doing this with Dad in his truck back then!  Mein Gott!"

The drive back today was uneventful, dominated by two major mind-wanderings: contemplating the shrimp brochette at the Nacogdoches restaurant Clear Springs, which is far better than it has any right to be (Nac really does have some good restaurants, now that I think of it), and insistent sex daydreams that, while not unenjoyable, posed the maddening problem of a raging hard-on on the interstate, with little to do about it except listen to NPR and hope that would chase it off (it did).  This moment of TMI brought to you by my subconscious and a certain lack of internet discretion.

Erin-the-roommate quote, upon her seeing me in a purple Tshirt (Pétanque Louisianaise) and a pair of red nylon gym shorts while I did laundry: "Red and purple, quite daring!  Bold splash of color!  If I were gay I'd be excited."  Which is pretty much unparseable as to intent, really.

Watched Gattaca tonight, only 9 years after it came out. Good film, echoes a lot of my mistrust of natal genetic modification. Plus, immolation. Better, in my opinion, than Kinsey, which I borrowed from Rebecca et al. at the same time and watched Thursday night (?).

Seriously?

Jun. 18th, 2006 03:28 am
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Seriously.  I was sitting here, watching Sports Night (my current spate of watching it in reruns TV fanboy-ism, apart from the Erin-inspired Buffy-fest), and I suddenly thought "I'd like a little nip of whiskey."  So I went in the kitchen and poured myself about a finger and a half and settled back in to watch another ep (30 minute eps are so short!).  All this beer drinking that I've been doing since moving down here has completely ruined my head for real liquor, I swear to god.  Times was, a shot and a half of Bushmill's would have been nothing, but now it's cause for increased concentration with the typing.  And?  It started tasting bad toward the end.  I'm choosing to blame that on the glass, which has been sitting on my desk being refilled with sparkling water for a couple of days, but I'm worried I don't like whiskey anymore.  This would really be upsetting!  I drink my whiskey slowly and contentedly, enjoying every sip.  I would be sad to lose my enjoyment of those distilled spirits.  Beer is for drunkenness, but liquor is for pleasure.  If I don't like my whiskey (a) what will I get as a reasonably priced sippy drink for a show at Chelsea's, (b) will I be left with only drunkenness?  Arg. 

This post is completely pointless.  Thought I should acknowledge that.  I think I'll watch another ep.  It's only 3:25.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Well, except not.

First we went to George's for supper (supposed to have been Zippy's, because I was craving empanadas, but they were packed: had Natchitoches meat pies at George's instead), and each had a beer.  Then we went by Albertson's and bought a six-pack each of beer of choice (Abita Purple Haze for her, Sierra Nevada Porter for me), the better to sit around and watch TV.  We each had two beers, and called it a night at about 11:10. 

I think I'm turning into a responsible adult, because when I came home I cleaned the bathroom and swept the dining room (after moping about writing, see previous entry).  Why?  Because Erin-the-roommate's moving in this weekend, and I think it's nice to move into a clean place.  I mean, sure there are already people living there, so it's not going to be recently-steam-cleaned-and-surgically-sterile, but at least the tub shouldn't have soap scum, eh?  I'm too nice; I'm not even the landlord!  And this in addition to Friday after work.  I ran errands on the way home!  I stopped by the bank and the pharmacy.  It's like I'm 12, riding around with Mom after school doing errands, except it's just me.

But the clincher?  I went to bed last night at about 2:30, and didn't set an alarm.  I awoke with that time-sense I used to get when I slept until 1pm, so I rolled over and looked at the clock: 10:20 am.  Whoo, crazy times.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
I'm afraid.  Over a year ago, I started making plans to overhaul my life and the direction it's going.  It seemed like the right idea at the time, and to be honest it still does.  I'm looking forward to working with other writers.  I'm looking forward to started somewhat anew again.  I'm looking forward to getting into esoteric conversations about rhyme and meter, imagery and metaphor.  I'm looking forward to all the surrounding material, but I'm afraid, because sometimes I worry that the core is rotten.  I worry that it's all a fluke.  I wrote some good poems, I guess, poems that I liked and other people seem to like, but I can't help but think I'm kidding myself.  I'm not much of a writer, volume-wise.  I've got well less than 100 poems to my name (and that's setting the bar WAY high, just so I don't accidentally lie) -- what kind of 'writer' turns out less than one poem a week?  It would be one thing if I edited and carefully revised, haggling with my inner editor over every precious syllable, but I don't.  The words come out of my head, they hit the page, I'm done.  I feel like I'm barely involved.  I worry that I'm a fake, that I got lucky, or that even worse, I had something and it went away. 

I tried to write tonight.  I wanted to write, I wanted to express what I was feeling about some life stuff, and what came out was a disjointed set of meta-thoughts and a set of four short stanzas that, even as I was writing them down, I knew were cribbing their form from a song I'd just listened to.  I looked back in my poetry journal just now (an actual book, not an online journal), and it's been over two weeks since I wrote.  And if we're talking about something that I really felt good about, it's been six weeks, with a gap of months before that to the prior good composition.  So... can I do this?  Am I going to fall flat on my ass?  Has my mother been right all these years, and it really is going to catch up to me?  I put a good face on it, but inside I'm terrified that this is finally the obstacle I can't overcome.

I'm not trying to be melodramatic.  I realize it comes off very apocalyptic, but really I'm just... resigned.  Which is probably the worst thing I could possibly be right now, as it will do nothing to get me out of this, but I can't find my groove.  I can't grab hold of the rope and rein in the words.  And all I really wanted to do tonight was to find a way to tell a couple of friends that I love them and that I wish I had the right words to really let them know that.
yrmencyn: (food)
Fine, fine, so I didn't get around to major writing tonight.  It's his fault.  Well, and Whole Food fault.  I bought nummies :)  Some tasty vanilla yogurt, quite cheap and delicious.  The cheapness made up for the radical expense of the cherries.  I thought they were 7.97/sack, which was a little more than I was happy with, but the free sample (damn them) was good.  Turns out they were 7.97/lb, and the sack weighed just shy of two pounds.  I bought fifteen dollar cherries.  Ridiculous.  Ricockulous even.  Bah.  Still, they were quite tasty together.  I also took a swing through the olive bar and wantonly combined disparate olives and other pickled items into a delirious mess of olive goodness.  I need to not eat it all at once, which is entirely possible if I don't watch it.  OLIVES!  And creole tomatoes.  And fresh mozzarella.  I smell a mozzarella-tomato salad coming on!  And some deli ham, which doesn't really excite me that much, but hey, it'll still make a tasty sammich.

So, there you have it.  That's today's writing.  Maybe family reunion... tomorrow.  I haven't even flickr'd the pics, so I've still got a ways to go.  I did clean my kitchen, so that's worth something, right?
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Hmm.  LCA may be killing my soul slowly, but it's kinda working for my body.  I was sitting at Erin's house a couple of night ago, and I looked down at my leg.  It looked odd, but I couldn't figure out why, it just looked... different.  So I went back to watching Buffy and didn't think about it for a while, until I suddenly realized that the weird thing on my leg was a tendon.  SO I started looking closer, and a lot of the subdermal structures in my leg are more visible than they've been for a while.  Then today, while washing my hands in the bathroom at work, I though, "hello veins."  The veins on my forearms and on my lower biceps were standing out a lot more than usual.  Not freakishly or anything, but more than I'm used to.

See, LCA is distributed across the 9th and 10th floors of our building (plus a few things on the 1st, but I don't go there).  You could take an elevator between floors, but honestly that's just lazy unless you're moving a cart full of charts.  Thus, I'm constantly running up and down the stairs, in addition to moving around a lot in general, and it appears that it's had an effect on my physical fitness.  I've definitely lost some weight in just the couple of weeks I've been working.  It's a good thing, but it surprises the hell out of me.  Anyway.
yrmencyn: (bananas)
As I'm being all insomniac right now, plus it's hard to sleep anyway while my ass is being all sweaty (TMI, I know, sorry, but it is, and for no good reason!), so I might as well update.

The parents came down Saturday to bring me my sister's car, a Ford Taurus.  Y'all, that thing is big.  It's a midsize, instead of the compacts I'm used to; feels like some big animal I'm barely controlling.  I imagine this is due to the bigger engine.  Whatever the reason, I feel like I'm driving some huge-ass Lincoln or whatnot, even though it's your pretty standard midsize sedan.  It is long enough that it's parked in the driveway tonight on the off-chance that Kregg might show up in the early morning: I'm pretty sure I can't do my standard S-curve backing out of the garage in this car [Kregg parks in the driveway behind me].

Mandi, Erin, and Katie came over on Saturday night for dinner with the 'rents.  I made pork chops (decent), bean salad (tasty), banana bread (a little odd, since I had to substitute in ground almonds for part of the flour -- who runs out of flour?!), and a chocolate sorbet (not actually -- I think I boiled the syrup inadequately, as it never congealed right, even up to the present).  Erin brought potato salad (scrumptious) and Katie brought crescent rolls (nummy).  It was a pleasant meal, and it was confirmed to me that I have nice parents.

Got up early to see them off, then compensated by having nap in the living room this afternoon.  Phoebe took one too, on the floor just below my head.  Very cute.  Much Buffy watching tonight, further cementing my excessive identification with Anya.  Seriously, I'm Anya.  I yell out her lines before she says them, because they're things I'd say anyway.

I drove myself a little crazy just now.  When my brain drops down to its idle state, I tend to worry about money (legacy of fiscal irresponsibility throughout undergrad), and the whole car thing only exacerbates it.  It's a big effort to blank my mind and not just run numbers obsessively.  Well, I couldn't quite win the struggle against the number juggernaut earlier, so I started going through budgets in my head, but I made a severe error in my calculations (not quite this simple, but in essence I figured that there are only two weeks in a month) that led to me concluding I'd have to take on LOTS of credit card debt.  I'm an idiot though, so all is well.  And now I'm feeling sleepy, so maybe I can finally go to sleep.  If we can tune down the ass sweat.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Well, nothing more has happened, insurance-wise, with the wreck.  I hadn't expected it to, since they might not have even retrieved my car until today, and then they have to do an analysis and all that.

Health-wise, it's a mixed bag.  My knees were very sore from getting knocked around on Thursday, somewhat less so Friday morning, and are now pretty much back to normal except for some tenderness on the actual bruise sites.  The abrasions on my hips/upper thighs (from the lapbelt) have stopped suppurating, and are now kind of fun to watch as they change colors -- sorry, I tried to take pictures, but I just can't get the angle right.  The airbag friction burn/abrasion on my left inner elbow continues to be a source of distracted amusement, as I am continually able to pull off the little blobs of dead skin that pill up like lint on an old blanket. 

But my ribcage, oy.  It had been feeling pretty good, albeit bruised, and then I sat up tonight and it felt like there was a pop or something, though honestly I may have imagined it.  The pain has come back more now (concentrated on the right side, I think the 9th rib, right where I would have knocked into the console), and I'm wondering if I have a cracked rib.  I had hoped to go in tomorrow to the Student Health Center (despite no longer being a student, my insurance premium's paid up through August), but they won't be open on Saturdays again until fall semester.  Really, though, I don't know what good it could do to go in, other than getting some prescription painkillers (which seem uncalled for, since the pain's not really that bad).  I know self-diagnosing patients are the bane of a doctor's existence, but I've been doing some reading up on it, and really it doesn't much seem worth it to go to the emergency room, since from what I can tell from the literature, the treatment for a cracked rib that isn't causing pleural damage (again, self-diagnosis bad, but it doesn't hurt to breathe deeply except insofar as the ribcage is expanding) is pretty much to tell the patient "If it hurts, don't do that," the bone being naturally splinted by the other ribs and the intracostal muscles.  I really have no desire to sit for hours in an emergency room just to get told not to perform actions that cause me pain, and I have no other reason to get it X-rayed or whatever: it's not like I'll need it for a legal proceeding against myself [me being the at-fault party].  So, yeah.  Any medical types want to weigh in, with the understanding that any such weighing in would in no way hold the weight of a medical opinion based on an actual exam and should not be construed as medical advice?

Anyway.  I'm going to go to bed and try not to cough.  Or laugh.  Or move.  Or worst of all, sneeze -- I've found sneezing to be a safari through the jungle of sudden surprising ouchies.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
This is starting to bother me.  OK, so, y'all should all know by now that I'm not straight, right?  So that's covered.  Sorry if I surprised anybody; my bad.  I'm mostly quite comfortable with who I am, that's not usually an issue.  What's at issue, at the moment, is my outward demeanor.  In my own perception, I'm pretty straight-acting; I don't think that people glance over at me and say "GIRL."  I'm actually very much ok with this, since I tend to be turned off by the stereotype gay effeminate, and I'd hate to turn myself off. 

Recently, though, I've had my self-image called into question.  Exhibit A: I went in for my interview at LCA a couple weeks ago, and after I left, the woman I was interviewing with asked Mandi, "Is he gay?  He got too much shake to be straight!"  [I'm still not sure what this means, exactly, but I get the gist.]  Our interview, obviously, didn't touch on my personal life, that being illegal in most locales, so, what?  Was I exuding some sort of gay pheromone?  If I was, I must have been doing it again yesterday, because apparently soon after I went back to work after lunch, one of the Treadmill Guys, who was in the break room, asked Mandi, "Is he gay?"  Seriously, people.  The fuck?

It's just bothering me, because it conflicts with my self-image.  I don't dress particularly 'gay', nor wear a 'gay' haircut, nor talk 'gay' (these all being references to the stereotype, hence the quotes), so... what?  Is it because I use big words, and straight men don't do that?  Is it because my accent's usually neutral faded slightly toward proper, and straight men talk country?  Is it because I work in medical records, which is apparently a woman's job (I never knew.)?

I've been asking people.  So far I've got a "yes you do come off as kind of gay, a bit" from Mandi, and a tepid yes from my sister, and a couple of no's from other people.  What do y'all think?  I know it's hard to ignore current knowledge, but when you first met me did you think I was straight?  Gay?  Asexual?  Chickensexual?

It's a fair question, of course, to ask what you think even now, too.  I despise labels, so I have trouble applying one to myself.  I've tended to go with "bi" for the last couple of years, because it's technically the most accurate: proportions and degrees aside, I do find myself attracted to both sexes.  But if we're really considering proportions and degrees, then "gay" is probably a lot closer, since I find myself attracted to vastly greater numbers of men than women.  Also, "gay" works better; it's really quite a tricky proposition to maintain an identity on the bi fence, culturally, especially when you don't find yourself (and others don't find you) talking about hot women, but you'll stop in mid-sentence because of some random guy walking by or flicking up on the TV screen.  Still, calling oneself "gay" is a much more highly charged political act, because it's so black and white.  And don't get me started on "queer," which on the one hand I love for its vagueness, but on the other hand I hate for its academic-y pc-speak.  This shit is stupid.  Fuckin' labels.

On the plus side my apparent obviousness plays well into certain schemes I'm considering.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
OK, so.  Network Neutrality, and the possible advent of a tiered access system.  I've been hearing about this for a while, but if MoveOn's wading into the fray I guess it's a big enough issue for me to write about.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you should read here (there's some definite bias in the write-up, but it's the best I have at the moment).  And you shouldn't just read it because it'll enable you to understand what I'm blathering about, you should read it because it's an issue which is of vital importance to all of us as internet users, no matter what side of the issue you're on.

Me, I don't know what side I'm on.

I realize that as a good little party-line liberal I'm supposed to go "Fire bad!" when MoveOn waves its magic wand, but honestly my first reaction (when I read about this in some opinion piece somewhere) was to say "meh."  Seriously, "meh."  Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe in the free and unrestricted flow of information in a society, since I believe that that is what leads to an informed public, and therefore to a more open and tolerant society.  See, I still have my lib cred.  But there's another side of the coin here.  I'm not, in fact, a good little party-line liberal.  I believe not only in free and unrestricted information flow, but also in a free market.  And in a free market... money talks.  And if money wants to buy better services, well, that's not new.  This has been the case in almost every industry for quite a long time.  And I'm sympathetic to the telecom companies, because I do realize that network traffic is on an astronomical upswing, and despite what we the consumer would like to think... bandwidth is far from a limitless resource. 

So here's the deal: you don't want tiered access, right?  You want everybody on the same access level, equivalent to telephone's common carriage laws?  Amen, brother.  But if you don't allow telecom companies to gather more income by offering expanded services to a subset of users, something else has to give.  One option is to raise prices across the board, because that's the flip side of common carriage: common pricing.  Another option is to give some (more) sort of government subsidy, or, casting our hypothetical nets further, state control.

Am I just misreading the cards?  Because it seems as if this is a no-win situation.  Something's going to happen that we're not going to like.  The question is merely one of determining the least of the evils.
yrmencyn: (Default)
I feel terribly weird.  I don't truck with apocalyptic yahoos who go around babbling about the end times, not at all.  And yet, ever since  late August I've had this odd thought process constantly running in the back of my head.  Katrina devastated NOLA, Rita hit parts of Texas that have never in recorded history experienced hurricane winds (including my hometown), incredible earthquakes in the Kashmir, the Kentucky tornadoes, and now the Iowa tornadoes. 

I know for a fact that this is mostly a matter of perspective.  No matter how big they were, I know that I feel especially close to Katrina and Rita because of where I'm living and where I've lived.  The Ky and Iowa tornadoes are really run of the mill tornado season with better aim than usual (and pinpointed aim on my friends); just ask Xenia, Ohio, which can't seem to stop getting flattened season after season.  The Kashmir thing... well, ok, that was pretty major, but disasters happen all the time, and not just in the past months. 

And yet, I can't stop thinking about it.  I can't find it in a news report, and I forgot to ask Kate, so I don't know when the tornadoes hit Iacty last night, but it strikes me as quite possible that it was as we were singing Aquinas' beautiful hymn Pange lingua while the present Body of Christ was processed through the church, or as I was kneeling in the chapel for Adoration of the same Body...  Then today I started crying a little while Molly was singing "The Old Rugged Cross" and the littlest altar server gave his candle to the girl next to him so he could take his turn to kneel and kiss the cross for Veneration, because I felt a wrenching sense of loss...

I know it's me.  I know this is hindsight reconstructing the events of the past to meet a certain expectation.  I know the loss has nothing to do with an event I didn't even know about until after mass, and everything to do with my own personal hangups and issues.  I hope that if the end days were coming we could at least muster up something better than annual weather systems, however destructive. 

I still want to curl up in a little ball and cry with my cat.

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

Note to self )

So tired.

Mar. 25th, 2006 01:40 am
yrmencyn: (Default)
What the hell is up with me?  I went and played pétanque, had a couple beers, went to Dr. Stone's party, then went to Duvic's (Chelsea's had bands in both the cover and the "non-cover" sections, boo -- I don't like Duvic's) and was home before midnight.  I dozed off to What Not to Wear.  It's 1:30 and all I want to do is sleep, which is what I'm doing now.  Tomorrow I'll try and figure out a feijoada recipe that approximates what that guy brought to Stone's tonight; it was absolutely amazing.

Guess I need sleep.  Jesus.

PS:  Cold here.  37 degrees outside.  Turned on the heater when I looked at the thermostat and found that my house was sitting at a nice, crisp 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stupid March.  Stupid Spring.  I'm going to go to bed now and imagine strong warm arms holding me, because I have officially gone mad.  Bah.
yrmencyn: (Default)
The main problem with having class only one day a week is that I always think "eh, I've got a while yet to do <whatever>," I put things off, and then I spend Thursdays, especially between classes, in a maelstrom of frantically completing readings/translations/presentations/whatever.  It's a little exhausting.  Today's assignment du jour was a presentation for Occitan class, which I had, of course, put off.  I will give myself minor props for having responsibly done Actual Library Research on Tuesday to choose my poem to present, but then I sort of didn't do anything on Wednesday.  Wise move, Bierschenk, very wise.  So, I didn't really get much of the reading for today done, being too busy finishing up a translation/minor analysis/blah sheet (you know, the sketchy notes you write to yourself to help prod your brain into regurgitating the crap it's been tossing up like a Yellowstone mudpot while you work on the piece to be presented).  And then Carla, oh Carla, she went first and gave a dazzling presentation that pulled in bloody Julia Kristeva and made casual reference to Lacan and Marx (to be fair we've dabbled in some Lacanian and Marxist theory in class, so that's not too out of wack).  Great.  I wing this shit, dammit.

Nevertheless, the presentation went off pretty well.  I did have a moment of panic when Stone asked me if reading the poem (which enlightens class tensions between noble and non-noble trobadors) had clarified my understanding of "The Kohler"... I blinked while my brain scurried rapidly around inside my skull, trying desperately to figure out what the bloody hell he was talking about.  Eventually some perceptive synapse mentioned to the others that this was probably the Marxist article that I had unaccountably failed to read despite my best intentions.  Some rapid hemming and hawing eventually led me to the code of courtly love compiled by <insert name of monk that's in my notes here>, which made, if not an apt surrogate, at least a reasonable diversion that I could expound upon.  (Dr. Stone, if you ever happen to read this, er... oops?).  Also I again mixed up the verbs jazer and jauzer, which is just getting stupid, and I think I'll get them tattooed with proper translation, one on each inner forearm.  Since one means 'to sleep with' and the other, basically, 'to cum' (honestly couldn't tell you which is which), that will be quite the conversation starter.  As a sidenote to the ja(u)zer thing, I started blushing furiously when he pointed out the resultant translation error.  This had absolutely nothing to do with the content -- I can talk about pretty much anything in an academic context without anything more than an amused smirk on my face, just ask my Pynchon class of Spring Qtr 2004 -- but rather with being wrong.  I can't help it, and it drives me absolutely nuts!  If I'm wrong, I'm not even usually too upset about being wrong, cause hey, it happens and life's too short to care too deeply about it, but nevertheless my face erupts in an upswelling of blood that I can feel.  It's beyond ridiculous.  Feh.

Carla said to me after class that I should stop "putting [my]self down" after presentations (I said something to the effect of "and, as usual, my presentation just sort of trails off into the dust" to finish tonight).  She said "I used to do the same thing, to make myself look better, but I'll tell you the same thing a friend told me: you don't need to, your presentations are great."  She's got a point, I'm sure, except that I'm not being self-deprecating in a reverse-self-aggrandizement manouver, at least not consciously (there's no accounting for the subconscious), I'm just... that way.  And in this particular case, I just honestly hadn't planned out an ending, and I figured humor was better than saying "Uh, that's it."  Hard to make people understand, really.

The upside to the once-a-week thing is that I usually feel relieved on Thursday night.  Not relaxed as such, mind you, but generally relieved.  I actually do feel relaxed tonight, having eaten my chicken w/ black bean sauce and curled up in bed with Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour: In search of the perfect meal.  I adore Bourdain's writing.  He's the same one who did Kitchen Confidential (now adapted into another in a long line of good shows canned by the braintrust at FOX).  He is quite possibly the funniest food writer I know of, and certainly the most vulgar.  He curses, heaps aspersions on other cooks, rhapsodizes on loving oysters, generally fails to give a fuck.  I love it.  None of that pretension garbage.  Anyway, read his books.  A+++ WOULD READ AGAIN.

Also in the recommended reading category, a book I finished a couple of days ago, Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated.  It's the story of the narrator, Jonathan Safran Foer's, trip to the Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis.  The interleaving storylines, the interplay among metanarratives, the use of language as a far more malleable and expressive medium than it's usually understood as... it's beautiful.  It's brilliant.  It's deeply moving.  I nearly cried in Highland Coffees when I finished it, because there was such a delicate bittersweetness in its conclusion that I was honestly surprised.  The characters unfold slowly, almost imperceptibly, throughout the novel, such that although they're utterly familiar at the end we can hardly recognize them as the same strangers we met in the opening scenes.  And despite my talk of interleaving and metanarrative, it's beautifully clear and lucid, with none of the emotionless, highfalutin formal experimentation that mars so many "brilliant" recent novels.  Everyone can love this book.  You need to read it, now.  If you live in BR, I'll lend it to you on the condition that I will require its return.  I cannot stress enough how serious I am in this recommendation: I avoided the book for, literally, years because I didn't believe it could possibly live up to the hype, but I was totally and completely wrong.

In terms of other fine literary stuff, we were discussing Cajun poetry in Ancelet's class today, and I started to read a chunk of one of ZR's most powerful poems, "La vérité va peut-être te faire du mal" ("The truth might hurt you"), and I accidentally got dragged into it, not only reading but reciting, performing a whole page of text.  I had so much fun, it was so wonderful.  God I love poetry.

To close this long and disjointed entry, I'll leave you with Dr. Stone's translation of a Medieval Occitan poem that he gave us last week.  It's an alternating discussion between two speakers on a moral question, a genre called partimen.  It is untitled (most medieval poems are), but I'll title it "The Ass-wind" )

ETA: I just had to add this. This is a part of my life that most none of y'all know about, since I've only gotten really obsessive since I moved down here, and usually the computer's already powered down when it happens. In fact I just booted back up to add this. I have gotten, in the past couple of years, quite persnickety about the state of my oro-nasal cavity at bedtime. In the bathroom, after peeing, I brush extensively. I scrub the back of my tongue until I set off my gag reflex twice (and I have a quite atrophied gag reflex). I snort and hock like nobody's business. I'm sure Kregg, whose bedroom is across the hall, must think that I have to extract, nightly, some sort of primordial creature with suckers and tentacles from my sinuses. It verges on both the ridiculous and the vile. But when I go to bed, at least for long enough to go to sleep, I can usually breathe halfway clearly through my nose. That's worth it. Plus the nose-octopi are a pernicious infestation which must be rooted out vigilantly.
yrmencyn: (food)
Alright, I made quite successful lasagna, I've had a Hidden River Amber, I'm feeling well-nourished and loose, and I shall continue to relax for the next 30 minutes with the first new ep of The West Wing in months.  After that, I'm going to crack my knuckles ostentatiously before me and then pound out this bloody translator's note.  No hesitation, no snafus, for a solid hour until my reward in the form of Grey's Anatomy.  How shall this bitch be smacked?  Lo, up shall it be smacked, and prodigiously.

Class rank

Mar. 4th, 2006 12:12 pm
yrmencyn: (Default)
There's a NYTimes article today (available with login here) about the growing trend among American high schools either to not calculate class rank or to withhold it in most cases from universities and colleges in the supplementary application materials.  It's interesting overall, but this quote, from the second page, was especially interesting to me:
"The day that we handed out numerical rank was one of the worst days in my professional life," said Margaret Loonam, a co-principal and director of guidance at Ridgewood High School, a public school in northern New Jersey that stopped telling students and colleges about class rank a decade ago. "They were sobbing. Only one person is happy when you hand out rank — the person who is No. 1."
Who are these sobbing students?  I don't remember anything like that when they handed out rank at my school.  I was always near the top of my class, as were most of my friends, and thus I should have seen some of this behavior among my peer group (the top-ranked students being theoretically the most susceptible to cutthroat behavior and grade-drama), but I just don't recall any at all.  Sure, there was some rivalry, and a desire to either do better or keep doing well, but when I got ranked 28 I didn't boohoo and cry, I just shrugged and thought, for about ten seconds, that I should try harder, and then I threw the paper away.  I graduated 4 in my class, and I honestly was just fine with that.  Maybe they hid it well, but no one seemed too egregiously bent out of shape over where they fell  in the rankings.  Maybe Ridgewood High School's just full of drama queens.
yrmencyn: (Default)
Is tomorrow, apparently.  I think I've finally managed to completely disconnect with the popular culture, because I didn't even realize this until Sunday night, despite the neverending torrent of ads reminding you to OMIGOD SPEND MONEY ON YOUR LOVER OTHERWISE THERE'S NO PROOF YOU LOVE THEM.  I only realized it after Rebecca mentioned that she was going to be making matzo ball soup for she and Shane on Tuesday night, and would I like some?  I said sure, and she said they'd try to hold down the mushiness.  I blinked, and took a full 5 seconds to figure out why they would be uncommonly mushy.  Also why she'd be uncharacteristically over on a Tuesday evening.

It's not that I have anything in particular against the holiday -- the above minirant about over-commercialization excepted; at least it's not a totally arbitrary holiday like Sweetest Day -- it's just that I don't care.  Some of this is a lack of conditioning, I think, since to the best of my knowledge I've only once ever been involved with someone on Valentine's Day, so I've never really had to deal with the onslaught of obligatory romance.  The one time I was involved on the fateful day, Kate and I ended up breaking up on it.  Over ICQ.  Amicably (pretty much).  Yay highschool.  Really, when you think about it, that says something.  Not sure what, but it's talking.

I wonder how I'd act on Valentine's Day if I were with someone?  I might go crazy-overboard, or I might be really low-key.  Hard to say, hard to say.

Sorry, this musing hasn't even coalesced to discursion, much less coherence.

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