yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Well, the rest of the vacation went well.  Despite the fact that I definitely left Nacogdoches a whole hour late due to a sudden inability to do travel math (there was, to be fair, a branching decision tree that I accidentally clambered out onto the wrong branch of), I wasn't overly late to dinner with the CBC folk.  It was good to see people, to drink margaritas, to eat grilled oyster tacos (I know!), to play Phase 10.  Well, maybe except for the Phase 10.  I think that game would be better as, like, Phase 8, but that's neither here nor there.

I eventually headed out to BR, did not die on the Basin Bridge (Mike vs. the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, still undefeated!), and ended up going out for a pitcher of Abita and a big basket of chips and queso with Erin at Zippy's.  Not that it started out that way -- Mellow Mushroom and Chelsea's both proved unreliable for various reasons -- but it was really a good place to end up.  Quiet, chill, well-lit, housemade chips.  Abita pitchers.  Need I say more?

At this point my memory goes off the rails a bit.  I know I did something with the girls involving Highland Coffees, but I suspect we mostly just hung out?  I do know that I had dinner with [livejournal.com profile] groovy2382 at Parrain's, which was predictably wonderful.  I'll have to make some boudin with one of the magical things that came back from the trip with me (all in good time, Eager Beavers), because otherwise I'll have to wait until at least December for boudin balls.  And I should really learn to deal with fish more, because that barbequed black drum (my favorite thing on the menu) is just too good.  And of course it was good to talk with A, see how she's doing, play with her cat.  And then home for more Olympics!

Sunday was yet more hangouts, first with Mandi and Erin at Hello Sushi on Highland for the obligatory sushi gorge, then at the old house with the now-married Shane and Rebecca.  I KNOW.  Madness.  I've really got to be in better touch with them (and with everybody) -- I miss our long conversations around the big dining room table.

And then Monday I got up reasonably early to drive to New Orleans the better to come back home.  Ah, right: funny thing happened.  I needed coffee something fierce, and I was forced to drive through a Starbucks (because there wasn't any way I was going to drive away from my destination, in rush-hour traffic, to go to Highland Coffees, no matter how much I love them).  I've learned from past adventures in road tripping that the proper way to get a caféau lait at Starbucks is, apparently, to order a Misto.  Which... what the fuck, but hélas.  Anyway, I pulled up and placed my order, and when I got the drink the girl in the window said, "Where are you from?"  I told her I was from Ohio at the moment, and she said "I thought so!  I'm from up north, and we say Misto up there, but they say café au lait down here!"  *facepalm*

Anyway, obviously made it home alright, despite delays in DFW.  And I brought things back!
Stuff from down South
6# Camellia red beans
2# Nacogdoches honey
96 family-size Luzianne tea bags
1 antique meat grinder, purchased by my parents at an antique shop for $8
(I just realized I forgot to bring home Café du Monde coffee.  Bollocks.)

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

On a totally different note, I actually had a good experience at Student Health today.  I've been meaning to schedule an appt with a local glaucoma specialist, since I'm far overdue for my yearly checkup, so I did that.  But for insurance purposes, I have to have a referral from primary, so I scheduled an appt with the Optometry segment of the Student Health Center today.  Yeah, only, it turns out that they have to do a full workup in order to issue a referral, but insurance will only pay for one of those a year, and I had one back in December.  Luckily, it turns out that the attending that did my exam back in December was the attending in the SHC today, and she remembered me!  So she had the file faxed over from the other facility, called in a referral to the specialist after a quick chart consult and pressure check, and then billed the visit as a standard office visit so I wouldn't have to pay out the wazoo.  Yay!
yrmencyn: (Default)
Hi folks!  As some of you know, I've been off on a whirlwind loop through Louisiana and Texas, visiting family and friends.  I flew down to New Orleans last Monday, rented a car, and drove to Baton Rouge.  Let's pause and give that act its due.  I felt like a Real Live Adult what with the whole renting-without-a-surcharge and signing-off-on-hundreds-of-dollars and not-having-anyone-meet-me-at-the-airport.  I've done parts of that before, but not all three at one fell swoop.  Anyway, I ended up with a Saturn Aura, which was larger than I expected, since I requested (and paid for) an economy car, and that's a midsize.  I've actually grown to like it, though, so that's nice, since I've put over 500 miles on it already.

Anyway, I crashed at Mandi's house in BR, where we feasted on chickpea salad, buttermilk curry, and tasty beers (I had Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale, which is just lovely).  After watching the Olympics for a while (I suspect we may have watched Phelps massacre one of his own WRs, but I've really lost track at this point), I went to sleep so I could head to Nacogdoches the next day (after chatting with Carla for a while at her new place).

And that's where I've been for the last couple of days.  It's been a fun time, busy in a good way.  Hung out with Megan and Kate Tuesday night, which included some tipsy Facebook messaging by committee, saw Therese and Ann-Marie on Wednesday and then hung out at the Kulhavys' for, yes, more Olympics, and drove down to Lufkin today to see Cliff before coming back home for dinner at Clear Springs and (you guessed it) more Olympics.  What can I say?  I'm happy to be part of the Olympic mania.  (I mean, what about Nastia Liukin tonight: she's amazing!)

So tomorrow it's off to Lafayette to meet up with the CBC folk, and then on to BR for the weekend.  I already feel like I've gotten my vacation's worth, and I've barely hit BR at all.  It's been really nice to see people, and I hope it continues on through the weekend.  If you're down in the pertinent areas and haven't talked to me... do so!
yrmencyn: (Default)
Well, this is going to be a little mixed.  Yay!

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

I shouldn't be allowed to manage money, my own or anyone else's.  I just looked at my bank account, and it's at a level that's more appropriate for, oh, I dunno... the very end of the month?  And this is before I've finished my Christmas shopping, or paid a couple of bills that need paid, or, you know, driven to and from Texas.  Ack.  I think I should be able to hack it (thank God for a savings account), but it's disturbing.  I haven't even been really flagrant, I've just... not been as frugal as I should, I guess?  But I can only really point to one, possibly two expenses on my statement that I can classify as 'extravagant', so... that's upsetting.  Yay. 

I'm thinking about maybe trying to tutor for the Writing Center or for Student Athlete Support Services... I know people who do both, and it apparently pays pretty well.  I had really looked forward to a somewhat lighter quarter in the winter (no lit course, just workshop), but it's only 10 hours a week, and it doesn't go home with you, unlike the teaching (which I will, of course, also be doing).  So I hope this works out.  And I hope I make it to the end of the month without a negative number in my bank account.

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

Up until I tried to die of money-stress just now (which I'm getting over), I've been having a really nice, relaxed holiday.  Lots of sitting around, reading, watching Sex and the City.  We've had some random snow events, which have been fantastic for nesting.  Nothing better than sitting around drinking tea and reading books you've wanted to read for a long time.

Of course the nesting instinct is enhanced by some curtains that my sister has been making.  Kevin and I went with her and Francis on a big shopping trip, which was... maddening.  Finding the right fabric, especially for the big room, was all but impossible... not only are there budgetary concerns, but also we needed in excess of 14 yards of fabric for that room... dear God.  So we ended up with some waffle block muslin, which actually looks pretty nice.  And some microsuede for the study.  We'll get fabric for the bedroom at some point.

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

Had some lovely nights of eating and gaming.  Last night Amanda and Meg came over (with Brian joining us later).  We had radish root-and-green and leek risotto, wheat-free cornbread (an experiment that went SO well -- absolutely delicious), and a green salad with cranberry, pecan, and pepita.  It was all fantastic.  Go us.

And then a few nights before Aaron and Heather came over, and we had quinoa-stuffed roasted acorn squash, a pot of chipotle red beans, and some of Kevin's famous snickerdoodles.  The squash and beans came out of an amazing book I think I've mentioned before, Peter Berley's The Flexitarian Table.  It has a beautiful take on food, a whole series of recipes that can be prepared with or without meat -- and the vegetarian options are pretty much guaranteed to knock the socks of meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. 

It's really an inspiration.  I don't tend to like bifurcated preparations (that is to say, recipes where at a certain point you split the dish in two and complete it, separately, in two different ways).  Or to be more accurate, I *used* to be very mistrustful of them.  Basically, I worry that if you add in the meat at the very end, the flavors won't properly meld.  And at that point, why bother?  But Berley has come up with some really interesting techniques, *and* he knows when not to attempt the split.  Hardest thing to know.  Really great book.

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

And now my drive down to Texas has snuck up on me... it's looking like I need to leave town in a little more than 24 hours.  I'm not ready, not physically and not mentally.  I don't really feel like driving yet, and I don't feel like leaving Kevin yet :(  I know, I'm a sap.

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

That's it for now.  Maybe more later.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Greetings from our nation's capital!  Kevin picked me up from the Baltimore airport last night, nice and late (all my upcoming flights are late -- what is that?).  Since he has to be at his internship at 9am, we pretty much fell directly to sleep.  I'm sitting in a Caribou Coffee half a block away, trying to figure out what to do with myself for eight hours.  So far I've written a couple of emails, and that's taken up... a half-hour.  Woot! 

The times I've been to DC before, it's always been to see friends or friends-of-friends, so I've never actually done the usual touristy, except for the Natural History and Holocaust Museums.  I think here in a bit I'll hike down to the Mall and do the monuments.  I mean, it's what you do, right?  And I've never actually seen some of them (e.g. Vietnam War, Lincoln), which does seem... well, a bit inexcusable, honestly.  So yeah.  But if any of you have any suggestions on things to do and see, feel free to reply with a comment or just call me.  I'm currently at 17th & L (for those of you that really know DC too well), but anywhere in the Mall/GWU/Foggy Bottom/Dupont Circle area is totally in range.  Not to mention the fabulous Metro can take me elsewhere!  (I really, really love subway systems.  I don't know why, but they just make so much sense to me, in a way that buses, for example, never have.  Set me down in an unfamiliar bus system and I'm lost.  Set me down in an unfamiliar subway system and I'm pretty much instantly oriented.)

Already on the list: Teaism, The National Cafeteria of the American Indian (our joking name for the caf in the Nat'l Mus. of the Amer. Indian, which serves all traditional foods, apparently), the Pride parade (and thus by extension the Dupont Circle area), the aforementioned national landmarks walk.
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: (vdub)
Just thought I'd let the world know, I'm headed down to Texas and Louisiana this December.  Leaving here on the 8th; I'll stop through Nac and then be in Baton Rouge on the 10th.  Headed back to Nac on the 13th so I can get to Elisa's graduation in Lubbock, and then I'll be in Nac through Christmas, coming back to Ohio in time for New Year's (Liz and I will likely be having a party at our place, so pencil it in!),  Kevin, incidentally, will be coming along through the Louisiana leg, and then flying back to the North while I drive back to Texas.  So yeah, Lafayette and Baton Rouge, get ready!
yrmencyn: (vdub)
So.  Friday after work, we got in the car and drove to my parents' house in Nacogdoches.  The trip, I must say, goes a lot faster with other people in the car; takes away the monotony.  We got in around 11, at which point I spent another 2 hours searching through listings AGAIN before finally going to bed.  Poor Matthew, the girls all slept in Elisa's room, and I slept in his bed, so he had to sleep on the couch. 

So on Saturday, we headed off to Dallas.  I had intended to let somebody else drive while calling places to check availability/do basic triage, but that only half-worked.  Mandi did indeed take over driving after I had taken them on a brief driving tour of downtown/SFA/Nac HS/etc, but I had forgotten that you just can't use a cell phone in between cities in rural East Texas: there simply isn't reception most places, and when there is the hills cut you off.  So I sat in a Dairy Queen parking lot in Jacksonville and made a bunch of calls, narrowed it down.  Mandi continued driving until there was some trouble with the po-lice outside of Athens, at which point I drove.

For our first stop, we went up to Plano, where we saw the Jetta I referred to before leaving.  It seemed pretty decent, fairly clean, etc.  The sunroof was having some issues, but I was willing to try it out.  I had some trouble getting it in gear, but I assumed that was just a consequence of me not having driven a standard in a while.  So we pulled out onto Preston Rd. (people who know Dallas just went 'oh, shit!') and proceeded to drive.  Sort of.  But not really, because the clutch was not cooperating.  Even Mandi couldn't make it work, and she's been driving manuals the whole time she's been licensed.  And there was this smoking smell.  And then when I tried to just loop back around to the dealership I ended up on the PRESIDENT GEORGE FREAKIN' BUSH TOLLWAY.  I started shaking a bit at some point in there.  When we got back to the dealership, shaking and cringing (and not just the car, us too), we got out to the smell of burning petroleum products.  Why?  The left rear tire was molten and smoking.  Not to mention the clutch was all but completely shot.  As Mandi so aptly put it in a comment to the previous entry, OMG DEATHTRAP.  Needless to say, I did not purchase that vehicle.  Boo, Toyota of Plano.  In fact, we made a sign:
fuck plano

Lunch and a Shiner Bock at La Madeleine helped a lot.  Come to think of it, the fact that I had only consumed coffee, soft drinks, and a tamalito in the 12 hours previous to the DeathTestDrive may have had something to do with my frazzled nerves.  The oddly poofy hair we'll also blame on that.

The second place we looked was so much better.  Since we were in Plano already, I decided to go on up to Lewisville to Huffines Chevy-Subaru, which had been last on my list (Lewisville is past the north side of tomorrow).  Huzzah!  This place felt so much better.  The salesmen were warm and personable, gave me an exact list of what they had done to prepare the car for sale, and even gave me pointers on driving the Jetta (German transmissions are a little odd; I nearly drove into the dealership because getting into R involves movement in 3 dimensions; I hadn't ever had to reverse at the first place).  Once I got the hang of it, the car drove beautifully.  I am not a car person, generally.  I rarely turn my head to follow a nice car.  I just don't care generally; cars are a form of conveyance to me.  This one, though... it's sexy.  It is a sexy beast.  It growls and purrs.  I actually enjoyed the test drive.  So, yeah, I bought it.  Pix, I didn't read your note until after I got home, but I'm feeling pretty good about this one.  It's been well-maintained, has almost no cosmetic damage, runs very smooth, etc etc.  Though you may of course reserve the Right of I-Told-You-So.

The car is also fiscally handy!  I had intended to put $4k down upon purchase and finance the rest, but I got this one for just under $6k through a combination of luck and miscommunication among the pre-owned sales team, so the banks wouldn't finance the resultant small amount.  Instead, I put down $3k, and the TTL fees are rolled into the loan.  This means I still have $1,646 left over from the insurance payout.  I'm going to use the money to get the car looked over/tuned up (even though they had it looked at, always a good idea to have somebody do it whose only allegiance is to you and your money).  The remainder will help me get over the rocky gap between the end of summer and the first fellowship check.  The remainder of that remainder will then be applied to the loan, since there's no early payment penalty.

The drive home was largely uneventful.  Mom is a saint, and thus held lasagna for us (two kinds, meat and veggie, just for Katie's benefit), before shipping us off to an Econolodge for the night, because my aunt, uncle, their three kids, and Hannah's friend who came along had prior reservations at Chez Bierschenk.  We watched an ep of Entourage on the free HBO, and now I must see the whole thing (dammit). 

Sunday we had lunch with the whole big gang at my parents' (where the air conditioning had just crapped out, ugh).  Leftover lasagna, a huge amount of marinated, grilled chicken, squash casserole, salad, cake and ice cream.  Wowsers!  I now have tasty leftovers in my fridge.  Score!

Two pictures to leave you with.  Neither is a clear picture of the car by itself, ridiculously, because we never got around to taking one, and I keep forgetting until it's already closed up in the garage, at which point laziness takes over.  Nevertheless.

pictures )
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Good e'en, all.  Thought I'd update on the car situation, despite the fact that a nagging little voice in the back of my head tells me that doing so will jinx it and cause it all to end in tears.  So, I've been driving my sister's car around, yes?  Even back and forth to Austin.  It's a serviceable machine, but I have been really chomping at the bit to get my own car, instead of driving around her car (which is bigger than I'd like, and made in these United States, a negative in my list for reasons of mechanical dependability and performance).  This weekend is the likely end-point of that chomping.  [livejournal.com profile] queenmargot, [livejournal.com profile] rnbowpixy, [livejournal.com profile] schatiekech and I are all going on a car-buying trip this weekend.

If the moons align properly, I'll be buying a 1999 VW Jetta from a Toyota dealership in Plano.  There are many opportunities for this to end in ruin, of course.  I already found another likely car prospect (also, coincidentally, a Jetta) in the metroplex earlier in the week, but when I inquired about it I was told it had been sold the day before.  I'm very much hoping this damn car doesn't poof the same way in the 36 hours (ish) between now and Saturday when I'll be there.  Of course, even if it doesn't, I've never seen any image of this car.  I've looked at the Carfax report (provided free by the dealer, cool), and I've asked questions about its appearance and condition, but it could turn out to be garbage, and I have to be prepared to walk away.  On the other hand, let us focus on its positive points: Jetta!  Sunroof!  Pretty!  Good mpg!  Good price!  Clean Carfax!  It's also a manual, which is really neither a negative nor a positive for me.  I can drive stick, but I've never owned one.  Gas mileage is better if you drive it right, and standards can be kinda sexy.  They can also be maddening when you're juggling phones, drinks, and foodstuffs, like a good American.

In addition, there's also a random variable floating around, as there often is.  Malcom Doan, the guy I bought the Corolla from, went to an auction today, and he told Mom he'd keep an eye open for Corollas, Civics, and Accords in my price range.  He's going to call her tomorrow to tell her if he saw anything good.  While I have a little bit of an automotive crush on the Jetta, Doan Autos is still definitely a possibility.

Also, I'm looking forward to showing the girls Nacogdoches.  I know I high-tailed it out of that town as soon as I could after I graduated from high school, but I'm actually quite fond of it.  It's not a bad little town, and it has some interesting things to see.  Plus I've been having an El Chile Picoso craving for a while now, and I hope to assuage it.  (El Chile Picoso, also known as "the taco shack," is a 24-hour Mexican eatery on South St.  If it has closed down, I will cry bitter tears.)

So anyway, I'll be away from the computer for a few days (I say that, but I might bring ye olde laptoppe).  Hopefully I'll return in a different car, woohoo!
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
I'm trying to figure out where I'm living next year, or more accurately with whom.  It's full of drama, and I hate it.  So rather than talk about that, I'll give you lots of pictures from various things.

PICTURES! )
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Wow, it's been almost a week since I updated.  Damn, bad me.  No cookie.  Well, I was in Kentucky for a while.  I drove up on Wednesday (12 NPR- and Pimsleur German-filled hours [And a book called A Treasury of Deception : Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes, and Frauds that wasn't terribly interesting, but made good background babble]) so I could attend the 59th Annual U Kentucky Foreign Language Conference.  I was rather less than excited about the conference, since I knew that I was breaking one of the cardinal rules of non-boring conference attendance (at least in my book): don't go it alone.  As it turns out, the conference was, while at times a bit lonely, overall a good time.  Working backwards: on Saturday I presented successfully (a UK grad student actually came to the session with the express intent of hearing my paper, oy), then went to the French and Francophone Luncheon with the expectation of making awkward small talk with random professors.  As it turned out, when I popped my head in to look around, there were two people in the room: the F&F organizer, and LSU's own Dr. Kate Jensen.  So I sat with them and talked about Jungle Jim's, and it wasn't unbearable.  Plus they served Kentucky Hot Brown (or at least the institutional hotel pan version thereof), which is a dish I've been meaning to try for bloody ever (though I still want to go have it at the L'ville hotel that's famous for it - name escapes me).  It was tasty.

On Friday, I went quite early (session started at 8:30!) to a session on French Lit in North America, which is, as you may know, kinda my thing.  I thoroughly enjoyed the session (especially the rambling piece from Stamos Metzidakis that blended memoir with social history of French in Missouri), and as I was standing around talking with the presenters afterward, one of them suggested we go grab lunch, so... okay.  Professors?  Have no idea how to gain information on local areas, I swear.  The appropriate method is to ask the locals, especially those you have met tangentially that day or the day before.  They will tell you the easiest way is to just walk down Limestone Ave. and see what you like.  We ended up eating at a place called Pazzo's, which does your standard pizza/calzones/hoagies thing.  It also has an impressive beer menu, although I chose not to partake (despite the apparent presence of La Fin du Monde and La Chasse-Galerie on tap; can't imagine Trois Pistoles was far away).  It's nice to feel like a colleague; doesn't always happen, and especially at KFLC, where the grad students are ghettoized: we didn't present with the 'real' presenters, but rather in our own sessions (*rolls eyes*).

Thursday was an odd day with a cute boy.  So I walk into my first session (interesting, if disjointed, paper on Hotel Rwanda in there, by the way), and there's this guy who's gone in right before me.  I note his general attractiveness in passing and move on.  Then he goes and talks to Dr. Willging from OSU, who happened to be chairing that session, and thus I learn he's an OSU student.  Interesting, but again, moving on.  He leaves at the coffee break to catch some papers in a different session, as do I (as I had been planning to do).  We end up going to the same session, and... ok, but again whatever.  Then the presenter doesn't have sufficient handouts, so we end up sharing.  At this point it seems we should introduce ourselves, we do so, and then I asked him for a lunch recommendation (I also knew he had been a UK student in his MA, from overhearing him talking with Willging).  As it turned out, we ended up going together for Thai.  Now, by this time, my gaydar has been routinely observing, and has come to some interesting conclusions.

For this next part, I'm going to put his words in bold with my [unsaid and not reflected in my facial expressions] simultaneous thought process in italics:
So yeah, Lexington's kind of bittersweet to me, since it's where I was for 3 years with my significant other.  (pronoun game, whee!)  He (HoYay!) died tragically (Ah.  Euh.  Oh. *personal foul*)...
Not quite so much a conversation killer as it seems in the retelling, actually, but I was terribly amused at my own thoughts.  Plus I could swear to God I got invited to both a club and the horsetrack, so I feel like I was not too out of line.  I'll keep in touch.  Never look a cooking-obsessed French-speaking gay man in the mouth.

In addition to conferential shenanigans (which also included more sessions and people than I'm noting here), I got to hang out a lot with Michele, and then with Carter when he drove over, and that was wonderful.  Cap it off with a visit to the Lenoues, where Jan couldn't not make an inordinate amount of food, and the Kentucky trip was officially a success, and not at all so soul-killing as expected. 

The drive back was greatly helped by the downloading last night of Mark Salzman's The Soloist in audiobook form.  I'd never heard of it, but it seemed the best choice out of the sometimes slim pickins of EBR library's NetLibrary affiliation.  It wasn't a masterpiece by any means, but it was reasonably well done.  There are worse ways to occupy ~8 hours of drivetime.  ETA: I just looked on Amazon, and apparently it's considered a YA book?  Perhaps... an older YA, I'd have to say.  Plus the addition of a couple of random German syntax points to my repertoire (and eventually they'll get around to introducing the numbers 6 and 7; they've already done the rest of 1-9, and the absence is driving me nuts, even though I know enough pedagogy to see where they're going; also the absence of the word 'never' is getting ridiculous, since it would have been a perfect introduction in the dialogue where the lady keeps blowing the man off).

Lastly: if your knee hurts after a long day of driving, you can do far worse to treat it than a piping hot bath followed by a bracingly cold shower.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Hey there.  Well, Easter was had.  Religiously speaking, it was actually quite a good weekend; I feel like I got a lot out of it.  Reminded me that even though I may have major disagreements with the Catholic Church and its hierarchy, the central tenets of the religion -- its true, base-level beliefs -- are things that I still believe.  Every year at the Easter Vigil mass when we reaffirm our baptismal vows, I also think very carefully about them, and I always worry that someday I won't agree with them.  Up until now, though, I've always come back to them without conditions.

Singing was also very good.  I've really and truly missed singing; it's been a good year and a half since I sang on any sort of regular basis.  I honestly don't know what I'll do next year... I know I want to sing, but I'm really less than enthusiastic about rejoining Glee Club.  It was a great time, but first of all it's of the past, and second of all I just don't think I want to dive back into the random juvenile crap that seems to go with it.  My options... still uncertain.  Singing at the Newman Center, or with another church choir?  Would involve me going back to church regularly, but at least when I was last there it was a surprisingly liberal congregation that I felt comfortable in.  Or I could go into one of the other university choirs... U Chorus is distinctly unattractive.  Mastersingers equally so.  Chorale's very attractive, but it's also the top vocal group, and my sight-reading skills are so rusty that I'd be very worried about the audition.  Eh.  We'll see.

This was a weekend of much baking.  I baked another pear tart, Mom helped me out on a couple loaves of challah (I need to post my preferred recipe online somewhere though, since I was without it and had to use a passable, but inferior, random recipe from the interwebs), and Dad made a real pumpkin pie (i.e. not with pumpkin pie filling) and one of the best apple pies I have ever eaten, ever.  All that some buttery mashed potatoes, Jody's Pineapple Salad (lemon and lime jellos with crushed pineapple, cream cheese, and 7-Up), and a Greenberg smoked turkey, mmm.  Food is tasty.

This has also been the conclusion of an already very book-filled week.  Finished up Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History, read the better part of John Berendt's City of Falling Angels (a study of Venetian society in the vein of his earlier Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil).  Listened to Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and a strange philosophical treatise by Harry G. Frankfurt called On Bullshit.  I also downloaded the audiobook of the Pimsleur Company's German: The Short Course, as I've finally decided that my lack of German proficiency is just stupid.  I can now officially ask you if you speak German or English (or French, cause I sneakily have prior knowledge), and I can exchange salutary pleasantries.

When I arrived home (the Benadryl for the cat helped, by the way, thank you Mary and Amanda!), my camera was waiting for me on the porch.  It works beautifully again, and I am very very very pleased with Sony's warranty repair service, which was lightning-fast and utterly hassle-free.  Now I'm washing clothes, basically beating time until Wednesday morning, when I leave BR nice and early to drive to Kentucky.  I'll be in Lexington from Wednesday evening to Sunday morning; I actually do the presenting Saturday morning.  I have to admit, I am entirely unenthusiastic about the conference; I wish there was another student from my school attending, instead of me just being there all alone giving a paper that, while I think it's quite good, I just don't give a damn about.  Oh well, it'll look good on a resume, and it'll give me something concrete to show for my work down here (other than my degree, which is of course the biggest marker).  I'm looking forward to seeing Michele at least, so there's that.
yrmencyn: (Default)
OK, so.  I can't deal with the cat any longer.  The next trip I take with Phoebe, I am sedating her.  She started to freak out today after I stopped in Alexandria for food.  Up until then she'd been sitting contentedly on my lap, but after she started to freak out.  She panted like there was no tomorrow (even though it was nice and cool in the car), and the front half of her body looked like it was drenched in sweat.  Except... cats don't sweat.  All the massive amounts of wetness was from her licking herself all but compulsively.  So I was already kinda worried about her (seriously, saliva dripping from the tongue, looked like she'd been at the dunking booth at a country fair), and then just outside of San Augustine I smelled a truly fowl smell [the misspelling of 'foul' was a typo, but I think it's still kind of accurate -- ever smelled a chicken house?].  I glance over my shoulder and see Phoebe taking a shit on my pillow.  I mean... what?!?!  I couldn't decide whether to be angry or really worried.  I defaulted to worried when I stopped and she didn't run to hide under the seat (like usual), but instead just stood there cowering.  I had to grab a couple of napkins and clean her up; she was all wet and shitty on her backside, and she was significantly hot to the touch all over her body.  I made her sit on my lap on a towel the rest of the way home...  I nearly called the vet, just 'cause she was freaking me out, but she's gotten back to normal.  I've decided it was a stress reaction, but it further cements my decision on sedation.  If nothing else, hopefully it'll keep me from having to throw pillows away.
yrmencyn: (food)
I'm back in Baton Rouge.  I'm not really in so verbose a mood as I was last time I wrote, so this will be much briefer.  Friday dinner was good.  Then, I made the grievous error of attempting to go to sleep at about 2am (when the bars let out) in a house right along a major thoroughfare.  Sleeping didn't happen.  This did mean, however, that I was in a light doze when the entirety of Columbus emergency services appeared on the street outside the window.  Turns out there was a hit and run, only the hittee got snagged on the hitter's car and dragged 6 blocks, which sucks a lot.  Well, eventually everybody in the house (me, Lauren, Cass, and Heather) got up and sat around in Brian's room watching the proceedings (it was the best vantage point, Brian).  Come about a quarter 'til 4, and we were getting pretty hungry, so we walked to Hound Dog's and got pizza (24 hour pizza joints are the best thing ever), eventually getting back at around 5 full of sauerkraur and ham pizza (*swoon*).  So... I had intended to go hiking Saturday morning, but instead I was kind of knocked out with NyQuil, because I was DYING OF THE PLAGUE I SHIT YOU NOT.  I am still not quite well, I coughed and hacked all the damn way home.

Anyway.  So Heather, Aaron, and I went to the indie craft fair at Little Brother's (quite nifty, and who knew Natalie Dee was a C-bus local?):
Aaron is a fetus.
Thence to the Cornerstone Deli.  Moving about of belongings ensued as I shifted my homebase to the Kelso House, then we went to Romeo & Juliet, from the Panopticon Players, [livejournal.com profile] lareinenoire directing.  Quite a good performance, followed by food at the Dube and then the cast party at the Kelso House.  I'm old.  I'm like 80 years old mentally, I swear.  I just kept thinking the damn kids should learn to quiet down, goddammit.  Damn kids.

After retiring to my bed-couch at 6 am (yes.), I slept a long time.  Then we had chorizo and eggs.  Then I hung around the Guild garb workshop.  Then I met up with Kyle and Amber, which was very nice.  Finally, I went to go see Night Watch, which is a fascinating Russian vampire movie.  The cosmology is like nothing I have dealt with before.  It is SUPERB.  Also, apparently its counterpart Day Watch was filmed simultaneously, so it will be released in theatres not too far in the future (I hear tell it's already on DVD; oh, the vagaries of arthouse film!).  So, yeah.  See Night Watch.  Or if it's out on Netflix, as it well could be, rent it (is that proper Netflix terminology? add it to you queue or whatever).  And then Aaron, Beth and I played seemingly endless rounds of 31, and I proceeded to lose, harshly, at Hearts:
I pretty much failed at Hearts.

Today was pretty light.  Had lunch with Liz, turned in my travel receipts to Christopher Griffin so I can get the moneys.  Walked over to Cup O' Joe to use their internet to upload my thesis, which is now approved and online, sweet Jesus me.

Capped off a nice relaxing day by having the most delicious barbeque ever in the Memphis airport.  Jim Neely's Interstate BBQ is an institution, and I strongly suggest that you eat it next time you're in Memphis.  The airport location is in between gates B12 and B13 (or somewhere near there), and it looks like both stand-alone locations (in Memphis proper and right across the line in Southhaven, Miss.) are easily accessible from I-55.  Next time I'm headed through Memphis I know I will.  It was seriously the best barbeque I've had in a long damn time.  Chopped pork plate with baked beans and slaw.  The meat was juicy and tender (not dried out like you get sometimes).  The sauce was spicy, but balanced.  The beans were just barely sweet.  The slaw had mustard in it!  *LOVE*

Er, so... yeah.  Night.  Back to real life tomorrow.

ETA: Just found the mail that I got while I was away. It includes a rejection from Indiana, so now that's resolved, thank God. I mean, finally, potzer.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
I have been having a wonderfully wonderful visit.  I'll try to get everything in, but I may skip some stuff, oops.

So, Meg picked me up from CMH without a hitch.  The plane ride from Memphis to CMH, btw, was a special kind of hell.  It wasn't really NWA's fault, actually, it was just the plane itself.  I have gone from a general distaste for Embraer jets (little 2-seats-to-a-side jet) to a profound hatred of them.  This is directly related to the fact that as the years go by my right foot (and only my right foot, weirdly) swells more and more when I fly, so I have to take off that shoe to stop the pinching.  Which is great and all, but then the Embraers are so wee that I'm also contorting my legs at bizarre angles such that blood flow becomes a major issue.  Not fun.  Not NWA's fault, but not fun.  Also not fun is the large man in the seat next to me, making me turn awkwardly to fit in the seat.  Anyway.

I spent most of Wednesday night at Rennie Dinner and then at Fight Guild practice.  I'm very impressed with how Fight Guild has grown progressively more structured under Cathy.  I remember it being rather disjointed and lackadaisical, since Pat didn't really adequately rein in the trouble-causing elements (*cough* = me).  Ended the night sitting and drinking coffee at the Rennie House with Jeff and Jessica.

Thursday and Friday, only 1601 more words! )

Trip stuff

Mar. 29th, 2006 02:04 pm
yrmencyn: (Default)
Doot doot.  I feel liek I should be using my wifi access more obsessively.  Thus my writing this.  First off, I'd like to say that I'm pleasantly surprised by my experience so far with Northwest Airlines, who I've only flown on codeshared KLM flights, which isn't really the same thing.  When I had told people I was flying NWA for thsi trip (because it's one of those things people talk about to fill conversation gaps, like the weather), the uniform reaction was one of mixed commiseration and dismay, so I was a little afeared.  So far, though, the employees have been polite, the flight was smooth (although there was an odd sort of rhythmic aortal thrumming for most of it, but eventually it lulled into a strange pseudo-embryonic state where it was simultaneously all-encompassing and nonexistent).  I realize, of course, that by saying this I open the door for all sorts of air travel calamities -- orange juice down the front of my shirt, flight attendants deaf in one ear (always and variably the one away from you), an angrily fetid bathroom, lost luggage --, but I'm hoping that whatever djinns and sprites consort with Bernoulli's principle to keep planes aloft will note my self-awareness and have pity.

And now there's some madness with valet checking I have to deal with.  Thus it begins.  Ciao.
yrmencyn: (food)
Headed up to the great white North here in a couple of hours (plus a layover in Memphis, damn you Northwest).  Looking forward to it, should be good.  I'll be crashing at the Rennie house, and I'll of course be around.  I realized last night that I've had a number of conversations with people, arranging lodging and transportation and etc, but that all of these conversations have been entirely in my head as I walked around campus: extended notes to self, as it were.  So... I just left a message with Jeff to see if he could get me, but my flight comes in at 5:10, and I'm not certain if that'll work for him, what with, you know, jobs and such.  So... if anybody knows for sure that they're available, please give me a call, because I'd love not to be sitting at CMH going "Dammit, guess I need to find a taxi."  And if you're headed over to Rennie Dinner right after, no problem: we don't even have to stop by anywhere in between, I'll just be along for the ride.

My number, for those who don't have it, is in this locked post.  (Disclaimer: although the cell number and IM identities are correct, the postal address is no longer valid, nor is the hotmail address).

EDIT: Right, so, Jeff doesn't get out of work until 6pm. So... call me. Please. It's for your own good, you know: if I don't figure something out, every person I know in Columbus will be getting a call during my layover in Memphis. Just, you know, FYI.

EDIT 2: Situation resolved, yay Meg!

Ma malaise

Mar. 18th, 2006 01:19 am
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
I've been in a pretty bad funk the past week or so.  I've had some up moments, like going and eating out with French folk on Wednesday night, but overall I've just felt... off.  There have been other emotions on top, of course -- it's not like I've been sitting in a padded room bemoaning my sorry fate -- but there's been this constant, underlying malaise that keeps poking its head up.  I finally identified it tonight while I was talking with Mandi: I'm nostalgic/homesick (two sides of the same coin, really).  I miss my friends in Ohio, terribly.  Luckily for me, I'm headed up soon, so until then I've just got to deal.  This has all sorts of potential ramifications running through my head... part of me wants to say "see, this is what your heart is telling you to do."  Another part of me notes that this is really symptomatic of "I wish I could go back to college" syndrome, and that I'll find that nothing is as I remember it.  I have to find some sort of balance between the halves of my schizo brain, because as it is now I'm just trading in raw emotion, and that's not only unsettling, it's profoundly irresponsible.  In retrospect, I probably should have gone up over winter break and damn the finances... I really could have used that little 'fix'.  Above all this hovers Indiana, Damocletian.  As I told Shane this evening, I almost don't even care anymore if I get in or not, I just want it to stop flapping around above my head like a manic bat, adding to my general dis-ease.  This whole situation needs to be resolved and quickly, because it's ruining my carefully crafted façade of self-deprecation and wise jocularity.

On related notes: I'm trying to figure out where to stay.  Some of this depends on the madness that is COTA - do they still just do a quick visual check of your student ID, or have they set up some fancy swipy thing?  Because, in all laziness, talyr and squish's places are closer to a bus line (I think), but if I can't use the bus the rennie house is closer to the campus area (big plus even for my scary calves), plus I get the impression it functions as a common gathering point?  Give me some input here.  (And thank you, everyone, for your offers of housing; I appreciate it.)

Rosepurr, could you get me some sort of contact info for lit_girl?  I just found her comments, but she's less simple to web-stalk than most.

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

I went with Erin and Hans to see V for Vendetta today.  Hans had been describing it in very action movie terms, all Matrix etc, and I didn't care less.  Until, that is, I read Lev Grossman's write-up in TIME and saw Natalie Portman's Daily Show appearance a couple nights ago, and realized that Hans' impressions weren't really the most accurate.  Likely consequently, while Hans hated it, Erin and I loved it.  The film is profoundly disturbing.  It plays with our basic moral judgments about order, conformity, security, and freedom, all while referencing (sometimes a tad anviliciously, I'll admit) the visual and verbal propagandist touchstones of the past century (look at some production stills: the High Chancellor's addresses look palpably Hitleresque without really directly referencing Nazis at all).  What's most shocking is the true catalyst of the art.  The comic on which the movie is based (Shane owns the entire bound edition; I'll be reading it, although I strongly dislike the art style) is reacting not to the preset Bush administration, but to Britain's Thatcher administration, contemporaneous to our own Reagan presidency.  Yet, the film glosses quite well in the current political climate, both because of judicious alteration on the part of the Wachowski brothers, I'm sure, and because it's applicable already.  Different people, I'm sure, will take different lessons from the film.  I took it as a call to arms, and resolution never to be silent, never to be unheard, and for all its flaws (all movies have flaws) I found it quite moving.  All this not to mention a generally tight script (including some virtuosic alliteration) and some truly gorgeous visuals. 

Just go see the movie, really.  Even if you tend to shy away from comic-book movies (as I do), go.  It's not a superhero movie, occasional excessive set piece fights aside.
yrmencyn: (Default)
Good evening Columbus people!  As I may have mentioned earlier, OSU's Creative Writing program is holding an open house for admitted applicants on March 30th.  After some consideration, I've decided to attend (the 250$ travel reimbursement helped, heh).  So, I'm looking for: (1) a place to stay; (2) pickup/dropoff from/to the airport.  My flight information in locked post to follow.  Any offers?  I'm really looking forward to this trip!  Thursday's largely spoken for, but other than that I'm open throughout my stay, so I'd like to see everybody I can.

Bye, y'all

Feb. 19th, 2006 02:21 am
yrmencyn: (Default)
I'm off to Alabama Sunday AM, not to return 'til Wednesday evening.  Since apparently I've forgotten to tell anybody about this, an explanation: it's the American Camp Association's Heart of the South Regional Conference.  Education/training/etc.  Anyway, yeah.  I'll have my phone on me, although it'll probably be mostly turned to silent, and I haven't the vaguest idea as to reception quality at Camp Sumatanga, Gallant, AL.  Nevertheless, I'm reachable if it's necessary.

Talked to Mr. Daigle (my Cajun speaker) today, and it went quite well.  He, his wife, and I talked for a good 3 hours almost, and I had a lot of fun.  She doesn't speak much French at all (although she's trying admirably to learn), so it was sometimes a bit crazy with the multilingual.  They talked about maybe organizing something later in the Spring for Frenchy folks, a cookout or whatnot, which would be all kinds of fun. 

Relatedly, I'm quite proud of myself.  I finished my dictionary review work I had to have done before I left, AND I finished transcribing a 2-minute section of my interview today, which means I don't have to schlepp my laptop with me à l'Alabama, woohoo!  And I just finished laundry and packing, so that's not left to the morning.  Damn I'm good.  Anyway, Luke and Andrea will theoretically be here to pick me up in a little more than 7 hours (yeah, that'll happen; I'm betting it'll be more like 10 than 9:30, but whatever), so I need to brush my teeth and go to bed.  Night.

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