walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (quite a fashionable dispassion)
walkingshadow ([personal profile] walkingshadow) wrote2006-03-18 02:42 am

just so you know, you sound like a fortune cookie

a. okay, i joked about it, but i really don't know how to post anymore. i thank god every day for the alphabet.

b. i've been reading back through my old livejournal entries: i used to post more, though i didn't have so much more to say; ninety percent of last year's posts were bitching about classes or panicking over papers and half of it took place at maude's. i was kind of surprised by what i didn't post, though. i read through the entirety of my last semester at school, this time last year, and it's a relatively accurate chronicle as far as it goes, but it's awfully skimpy and i tended to gloss over things. granted, there's a limit to how extensively you can beat yourself up about leaving a thousand-word paper until two hours before the deadline after staying up all night goofing off when it's the sixth time it's happened in the last two months—i mean, at some point it really does go without saying—but some things are glossed over, and other things aren't there at all.

my parents came to visit one weekend, and one of the places we went was cross creek, one-time home of author marjorie kinnan rawlings. and i posted about that, but all i said is that we went there—no mention of how clear and cold it was that day, how the world felt yellow and blue while we stood on the shore in the sun, that there was a swingset my mother and i swung on, that i wore the scarf i'd made myself over winter break, that the tour of the house was led by a groupie in period garb and there were cheerios in the authentic pantry and a desperately affectionate orange cat hanging around the steps outside. the cat had fleas. and obviously i remember all of that anyway, so maybe i didn't need to write it down; maybe all i needed was the placeholder, a post-it note of a journal entry just to jog my memory; though the memory's only a year old now.

i've got mentions of how horrible the roommates were, that's good, and what we discussed in anthropology that semester and how much i loved it, and how boring my history classes were; there's very little mention of the godforsaken research paper, except around deadlines and the feverish end-run to to get it written along with the rest of the projects at the end of the year—maybe i'll look over it again one of these days, maybe i'll post it for you; it has to do with the language you speak, livejournal! you can tell me i got it completely wrong, and it won't matter now.

[livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker popped up regularly in the landscape of my life, every time we got our hair cut together or holed up at maude's—and it felt like we were there at least once a week. what i never posted about at all, not once, was what a hard time i gave her for, oh, the first half of the semester at least, maybe two-thirds, for sinking all her time into the paper and her colleagues there—not just when i worried about when she didn't sleep or eat or go to class because of it, but how resentful i was for the time she gave them and the plans she sometimes had to break with me, how abandoned and jealous i felt, how incredibly passive-aggressive i was about it, and how mean. we talked about it eventually—maybe we even had it out—and in my memory it was mostly my apologizing for my irrational and possessive claims on her, for begrudging her that life, and for treating her so badly because of it. she let me get away with way more of it than she should have. but i never posted about it, and i couldn't have—not even a post-it note—and in a few more years would i have forgotten it entirely, or would the context of events always be enough to conjure up my bad behavior if years from now i took it in my head to re-read what i was doing in the spring of 2005?

c. i feel like my brain is running at half-speed. this is probably due to four parts sleep-deprivation, three parts mental stagnation, two parts boredom, and one part despair.

d. for my birthday—not last thursday, but two weeks ago thursday—my dad woke me up at nine-thirty in the morning to take me to breakfast on the beach where it was very bright, oh god so bright on three hours of sleep, and then to a movie theater where the only thing showing was eight below which it turned out he'd really wanted to see; so basically for my birthday i was a better daughter than i am for the majority of the other 364 days of the year. and the movie wasn't terrible: paul walker = exceedingly pretty; the dogs = AWESOME, jesus so awesome; and a few minutes of the action took place at McMURDO station (aka "MAC-TOWN") omg. McMURDO. my fannish heart went pitter-patter. afterwards, i retreated to the house for an afternoon nap (because if you can't nap on your birthday WHEN CAN YOU) before heading up to ft. lauderdale for sushi with [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu. the employees at hollywood video sent us home with dot the i's, but back at her place we watched our other rental, chris rock's most recent HBO special ("a father's only goal in life is to keep his daughter off the pole"). at home again late that night jules IMed me to wish me a happy birthday, and didn't mean to wreck me with helpful career and life guidance, but these things happen. you go to sleep wrecked, you wake up wrecked; may the new year be a good year for me.

e. i watched the oscars with [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu because awards shows are wanktastic, but we do adore jon stewart. the next time i have to watch four hours of red carpet, montages, and acceptance speeches because jon stewart says so, i'm doing it with ALCOHOL. hey, who has an academy awards drinking game?

f. it was my grandmother's birthday the monday after mine. we bought her a plant and took her out for chinese food; she might have remembered why.

g. [livejournal.com profile] silentfire sent me a t-shirt because she's awesome and we're dorks and it's the funniest thing in life. i wore it and cracked myself up all day.

h. [livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker hopped the train from lakeland and came into town for the weekend, which in her world meant wednesday to friday last week. ostensibly it was a belated birthday celebration, and granted we did go downtown for thai and gelato, and to the beach for lunch and a walk in the water, and to jaxson's for ice cream, and she kept buying me meals, but the REAL purpose of the visit was to pimp me into battlestar galactica and then RUN. *shakes fist*

we made it through the miniseries and the first three episodes and yes, everything the world has ever said is true: it's a beautiful show. it has depth and arcs and pretty, pretty people, and quite the talented cast; it lays groundwork, it leaves mysteries, it has continuity; it invokes religion and mythology and the dilemma of man vs. machine and what happens when the lines blur. it has characters i care about! it has callum keith rennie! it has an enormous budget and makes very good decisions with it, knowing just when to downplay or highlight violence or the moment for maximum effect. like the west wing and criminal minds, i have zero desire to seek out fannish resources or fic, but i would dearly like to know what happens next.

the discs weren't hers so she couldn't leave them with me, but still. STILL. the library will get them to me one of these days; of course, amazon would get them to me SOONER. perhaps blockbuster will make a middle ground.

i. oh, and also while jules was here we settled in for a good long chat about what i'm going to do with my life, featuring all sorts of rationalizations and navel-gazing on my part, and lots of praise and encouragement—highly flattering, though i still don't really believe most of it—on hers.

CONCLUSIONS:
  1. somewhere between then and now, between perfectionism, self-handicapping, non-contingent reinforcement, and apathy, i lost my internal motivation. i always procrastinated, but i don't know how i went from wanting to do a good job to doing a good job even when i just put in half the effort and a quarter of the time, to actively sabotaging all my efforts and getting paranoid when i was told the product was still quality.

  2. i sleepwalked through college. i didn't read the books; i didn't research the papers; i wrote everything in the few hours before deadlines; i kept to myself and away from my professors and fellow classmates; i ignored internship, scholarship, fellowship, job, and research opportunities. i emerged with a double major and a transcript that says i a) studied at cambridge over a summer, b) joined golden key honor society (never attended a meeting, never met with anyone affiliated with it; basically i deleted emails for four years) and phi beta kappa (still not sure how), and c) had a good GPA (As, two Bs, and one C—in the seminar class of dooooom); i also emerged with what is, essentially, an incredibly superficial education, no lasting relationships with anyone in a position to guide me or recommend me to strangers, and no direction. this is nobody's fault but my own, and that's true of everything.

  3. sometime in my senior year i came to the conclusion that if i had it all to do over again (and when i say "it" i'm limiting myself to my undergraduate college career), i would have gone to a much smaller school in a much larger city. somewhere with higher standards, a higher caliber of average student, but most importantly a much more intimate environment: professors and advisors that kept a close enough eye on me that i couldn't get away with not doing the work, who cared about the work i did, and not only expected but demanded (that is, could get me to produce) greater things. cambridge was obviously an extreme example of this, and i was a little culture-shocked at first; but it eventually made me realize that where i'm most comfortable (i.e. remaining anonymous in the city-like atmosphere of a large state university) is not where i'm going to be challenged to do my best work. and it turns out i need to be challenged, because i won't do it on my own.

  4. i am LAZY. lazy, lazy, lazy. i've got these inclinations to detachment, denial, and avoidance, those are my defense mechanisms and the way i handle things, and at the moment i've got nothing pulling me out of them, no real motivation or deep interest in anything, and i never realized how much i relied on momentum, but i'm stalled out. at this point it's imperative that i do something, and it doesn't actually matter what; but every day goes by and still finds me sitting on my ass.

  5. did you read this article? it's about how we admire but also hate people who are very much like us and yet doing better than we are. she says: To be truly idolspicable, someone must be thisclose to your own age, background, educational achievement and career, and they must be of your gender and general situation in life; there's no use idolspizing Gisele Bundchen, Stephen Hawking or those whose surpassing physical and mental gifts put them beyond the pale of human spizolatry. and yet—i'm hideously jealous of stephen hawking. stephen hawking, roger federer, presidents and inventors, famous authors and fictional characters: if you're successful, if you're talented, i resent you for it and want it for my own. and i know there's no use to it; it's just the way i live my life.

  6. everyone talks about visualizing your goals, but that doesn't actually help me. i have an extremely vivid and active fantasy life, and always have; i've never bothered to separate the realistic goals from the pie-in-the-sky daydreams (e.g. i'm positive i will never win wimbledon or the gold in gymnastics), and i've therefore never associated picturing what i want with formulating and then implementing a set of actions to acquire what i want.

  7. i vacillate between thinking i'm quite smart and could do pretty much anything i wanted to do, and being sure that i'm nothing special. i'm realizing more and more what a strange high school i went to, because i was surrounded by people like me. i was in the middle of our group and i held my own, but there were a bunch of people smarter than me, more active and more driven, and i forget that we were just a bell curve of a bell curve. and yet—what does it matter, when it's that same small subset of the population i'm always going to be competing with in academia?

  8. in conclusion: if my life were a fannish media source and [livejournal.com profile] thefourthvine was writing the roundup, my apparent motto would be "if i could do just one near-perfect thing i'd be happy."


j. i think—i think—i've finally reached the ceiling on "i can't believe i'm STILL LIVING IN THIS HOUSE." it's not that it's horrible here; it's just that it's here, and i am ready, so very ready, for some new tensions in my life. i'm not asking for none, just different ones that the ones between my PARENTS and me, the same ones i've been ready to get away from for the last, you know, TWENTY-THREE YEARS. you never think you're going to be that person, but here you are.

k. inspired by the above, a short list of things i want, aka "goals to work for":
  1. to find myself in another part of the world. places that feature most prominently in my anywhere-but-here: the northeast, the pacific northwest, the british isles, the continent, and australia.
    requirements: TBA

  2. a new computer. specifically a macbook with all the trimmings, new speakers, new headphones, an external hard drive for all my pirate needs. arrr.
    requirements: approx. $3,500 USD
    sub-requirements: income, aka a job

  3. a ph.d. i want a ph.d. like [livejournal.com profile] hetrez wants one, just for the having. other people want cars, i want to be over-educated.
    requirements: research into programs, colleges, cities, and faculty; solicit letters of rec; study for and take the fucking GRE
    sub-requirements (optional): topic of interest


l. we had dinner at my aunt c.'s house last friday and it was refreshingly not horribly boring. i watched paper moon with my dad when we get home, a movie i knew nothing about except for ryan and tatum o'neal, and i found it 100% charming. it's a period piece, and everything was right—the sepia, the accents, the bibles and the cars. two minutes into it, i went looking at the DVD box to find the director's name, because it was such beautiful, distinctive work: establishing a frame and allowing all the action of the scene to take place within it, without moving the camera. i thought it was fantastic.

m. saturday night [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu and i were supposed to watch dot the i's, the movie we'd rented the weekend before, but she'd left it at work; so we watched high fidelity instead. that crazy john cusack! thank god he grew up. likes: jack black, todd louiso. dislikes: lisa bonet. i just don't, okay?

n. two people in two days randomly mentioned t. s. eliot's "four quartets" and i love t. s. eliot, and i went off on a, a thought tangent, in which i compared the process of reading a poem to playing a difficult musical piece, i.e. you generally break it down into component parts, work on the parts, work on the parts in combination, until eventually, with practice and repetition and concentration on the tricky bits, you understand all the parts and then can synthesize the parts into the whole and seamlessly play your way through it. which gives some element of production—or at least reconstruction—to the reading of a poem.

o. in re this week's NCIS: i would love every character on this show to bits and pieces if it wasn't for the DIRECTOR. i don't remember hating lauren holly this much previously, but possibly i just hadn't gotten to know her well enough. my dad approved of switching out kate for ziva because ziva is a much stronger character in a lot of ways and brings different skills, background, M.O., and personality to the team, and i liked kate but i can see what he means; and yet, it's like they took two steps ahead with ziva and three steps backwards with the director, who is weak, emotional, smug, ineffective, and thinks she knows more than she does. she's supposed to have history and still-smoldering chemistry with gibbs, but she DOESN'T, and mark harmon can have smoldering chemistry with a wet paper BAG. she thinks she knows him inside and out, but she's been proven wrong half a dozen times, and he plays *her* like a fiddle. she was, of course, not particularly but typically useless in this episode, getting emotional and strapping on her sidearm like she was going to go down there and what, do something? and she needed *ducky* to soothe her fragile nerves and approve her decisions. what was ducky even doing there? i adore ducky, and i realize we wouldn't have seen much of him otherwise, but way to take away all of the director's credibility. way to go.

okay, now that i'm done being hysterical about that, this episode was all about TONY. tony of my heart! i was completely unsurprised by the way he stepped up and how competent he was, because i've watched the show, and he does that shit all the time. one day, when i finally write up my NCIS pimp post of doom love, i will go into rambly, besotted detail about tony-the-big-kid, tony's need to please, the reason tony and gibbs work so well together, and the reason gibbs keeps tony around. for now though, if you're reading this and you actually care, check out this article (transcribed) and what [livejournal.com profile] twoweevils had to say about it here.

other things to love: gibbs (forever and ever amen) and his ASL, the team (and the MARINES) responding to tony's leadership, tony's gut, abby (though i didn't think the slap-fight was nearly as funny as i was supposed to), and the way they saved the day! i called speed as soon as we found out the bad guys were using the other webcam, but it was still a damn good idea. and double-fisting the pizza at the end was adorable.

p. because house wasn't on this week and i always forget to watch scrubs akjhdfkashj, i watched supernatural. people. this show is HILARIOUS. also i think i've seen it before, except it was called buffy: the vampire slayer and the banter was better. it even had DARLA before her brain tumor made her super-skinny.* to be completely fair, i probably shouldn't be judging the show entirely on its faith-based episode**, but it really did feel like x-files meets buffy, and they both did it better. if i liked the leads and got sucked into their story,*** that would be different, but i suppose this is as good a time as any to express the unpopular fannish opinion that i don't find either jensen ackles or jared padalecki to be particularly attractive—though their names are FANTASTIC. and jared padalecki's hair is hideous. have they checked the hair for supernatural qualities? are they exercising CONSTANT VIGILANCE?

what would have made this episode exponentially more awesome: if the reaper (who i called a reaver SIX TIMES) had actually been george from dead like me.

* inappropriate brain-tumor humor? (omg THAT RHYMES. *goes straight to hell*)
** seriously, i have a habit of catching shows on their weaker nights. the one and only time i saw lost was the Very Special charlie-kicks-his-heroin-habit episode. i mean, come on.
*** where the story is something like "father missing, sons looking for him while carrying on his work of exorcising demons across this great land of ours," right? the dad's been in the backseat the whole time, hasn't he? "just kidding, boys!"


HOWEVER: this does fulfill my one-episode minimum prerequisite for fic-reading.

q. speaking of unpopular opinions: i suppose i could care less about march madness if i tried, but why expend the effort? on the other hand, there's no rain at indian wells right now, next week they're playing the nasdaq right in my own backyard, and the rest of the country doesn't even know who roger federer IS, so i figure we're even.

r. on wednesday i went with my mom to the aventura mall on a wild-goose chase for dishes. i ended up making a list of things i hate, including (but by no means limited to): 1) the city of aventura, 2) malls, 3) conspicuous consumption, 4) brand-name loyalty, and 5) people in general. this sunday she's dragging me off to sawgrass, oh god.

s. this week's criminal minds was a repeat, but i watched it anyway (because it's awesome) and it inspired me to finally, finally, for the love of god, make icons. I THINK I GOT MY MOJO BACK. i owed [livejournal.com profile] saturn92103 and [livejournal.com profile] leksa icons from, like, a month back, but i finally made good.

and then last week's criminal minds finally finished downloading at 7:30 this morning (coincidentally: also when i went to bed!) and i watched it this afternoon. it's all about hotch, except that it's all about all of them. it's like the west wing in the way that whoever's onscreen and speaking at that second is my absolute favorite. they're such a team, and they so obviously know and like each other, and they're good people, they do the right thing, or try. and in a way they're like, the anti-SGA, because they're so rarely stupid, and when they are stupid for, you know, a second, they realize later that hey! they were stupid! and then they FIX IT and THEY AREN'T STUPID ANYMORE. the concept is so strange and new!

t. yesterday was our weekly dinner at my grandmother's; we brought thai. she doesn't remember names most of the time anymore, but she still knows who i am. last week she'd forgotten that my grandfather had died a year and a half ago (my dad's dad, not her husband), and asked if anyone had heard from him recently. the other day she confided to cousin m. that my mom and dad looked like they might "make a go of it." last week she thought she was at our house, not her apartment, and asked as we were leaving whether anyone was going to take her home.

u. [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu pulled me a virtual pint because in general she's, oh, a thousand times more awesome than i'll ever be. cheers, baby. here's to you.

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