walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (when we're all brilliant and fast)
Parents and I saw Charlie and Chocolate Factory on . . . huh. Um, Sunday? Maybe? reactions, mostly negative )

*

I've started working out again regularly (three times in the last four days) and if there are ten kinds of awesome, I feel them ALL. My body remembers the health club, and I started feeling perky and healthy and self-righteous as soon as I'd started the elliptical machine going, before I'd even worked up a sweat. The bloodmobile was parked outside last night, so I got to donate for the first time in a while. Juice and cookies and an extra-large t-shirt, your basic haul.

*

My mother did end up having to move classrooms, I don't know if I said, so my dad and I have been helping out, packing and transporting boxes and then setting things up as directed. It's utter crap, but hopefully she won't be moving again (current count is seven times in fourteen years) until retirement. We have all crossed our fingers and toes. Teachers go back to work next Monday and the new school year starts the week after that. My parents never made it to a vacation this summer, but my mom is talking very seriously about two weeks in Tuscany next June. I don't think I've been invited.

*

I've raved already about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and "Details of the War" right? Would anyone like to help me decipher the lyrics? I've listened very carefully fourteen million times, but I can't make it all out. Here is a yousendit link: Details of the War. It has harmonica! And I'm convinced it's the theme song of Major John Sheppard and the Story of His Life. You be the judge? this is what I've figured out for myself already: )

Speaking of John Sheppard, [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock posted Chapter 2 of Hindsight (John thinks, why do the crazy ones always imprint on me?) and I love John an absurd amount. ABSURD.

*

I shared a metaphor for life with my parents the other day. My father's very—well, not helpful, but certainly earnest about helping me find a direction in life and meaningful, gainful employment, but all his job models are business models, office models, and I keep trying to explain why the idea of traditional office jobs sap my will to live. So the other night, in the kitchen while my mom was preparing dinner and declining to help me articulate my feelings, I told them about the epiphany I'd had one day in a History of the American West lecture:

We debunked a lot of mythology in that class, deeply ingrained false histories of rugged individualism and the spirit of the pioneers and go West, young man, because the West was defined largely by corporations: corporate-owned ranches, farms, railroads, mines, etc. Even within an industry itself—a mine, for example—the support staff is huge: people to oversee the workers, people to hire and fire workers, bureaucrats to pray over paper, accountants to tabulate the money, security to watch the goods, management to ensure the transfer of product and payment. And each of those industries spurs the growth and proliferation of service industries: restaurants, hotels, brothels and theaters, banks and law enforcement (and the history of development in the American West is largely the history of urban development, crowded city streets with nothingness stretching between them), spiraling out into a bigger and bigger community, with the result that very few people anymore are down in the mines getting their hands dirty and their backs broken. And I want to work in the mines.

I'm fascinated by distillation. I don't really buy into the celebrity cult of personality, so I had a conversation once with [livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker about the phenomenon of, for example, Justin Timberlake. This was at the height of Justified, and I remember expressing bemusement that all the mega-stardom, the magazine covers, world-tour, bells-and-whistles arena concerts, etc., etc., all boiled down essentially to thirteen tracks of music. I care about the music, I know, I know—if I were old I'd be showing my age. But that's what I'm concerned with, the nugget at the core, the source. Whatever is being done, I want to be doing. In the doctor's office I worked in last summer, there was one doctor and fourteen staff, fifteen people making the office run. I am the doctor, not the staff. And it isn't that I want a staff: I'm as happy not giving orders as I am not taking them. But I don't do support very well. I am not your number two; I am not your right hand. As for what this means in terms of meaningful, gainful employment? I don't know. I don't need to get my hands dirty, necessarily, but I do need something to sink my hands into, deep, deep.

*

And while we're on the subject of future plans, S. and I got together yet again for GRE self-flagellation (again: I rock at geometry but not arithmetic; my Algebra II teacher warned us sometime before our first test of the year that most of the mistakes we would make would be careless errors, and that is the life I am living). But the best part of the day was when I ventured into the test-prep section to fetch us a book with practice tests we could practice on, and on the shelf behind me I found VOCABULARY NOVELS. Sparknotes makes them, and they are seriously the best things ever: 1,000 common SAT words stuffed into a YA novel! The novels are so bad (sample titles: Busted, Vampire Dreams, Sun-Kissed), and often include meta- vocabulary study (the characters are studying for the SAT too!), and they are the best argument against testing low-frequency vocabulary words, because they stand out like sore thumbs in the narrative, clashing badly with the otherwise super-casual tone and word choice. In terms of test-prep though, the idea is a great one, getting your vocab review in an easily-accessible context; the fact that they're unintentionally (unintentionally? let's assume so) HILARIOUS is just icing on the cake. S. and I broke up our study session with dramatic readings and laughed ourselves sick.

walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (Default)
Dear livejournal, how are you? I'm all caught up on the posted goings-on in your lives, but it has been ten days since my own last posting. There's this sense that one can say anything on livejournal, unburden oneself and confess oneself, without repercussions or Hail Marys or anyone even frowning at you like you should know better and they're not mad, just disappointed. If you've got your antennae up and your filters right, you even find people who'll applaud you for it, whatever it is. My entries tend more to the quotidian minutiae of the last book I read and what I had for lunch, but I miss my minutiae if I don't write about it. If nothing happened last Thursday—and around here, some days absolutely nothing happens—is it really so essential to document the fact? Why does it feel essential?

Anyway. To start from the present moment and work my way backward—no. To start from ten days ago and work my way forward to the present moment:

Did yoga on Thursday with [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu and her mom; the instructor is going on a month-long vacation and we'll be having substitutes starting next week. Class was over at 8:30 and we got out of the parking garage a little before 9:00, at which time it was POURING and lightning and thundering and RAINING REALLY HARD. I did not drive home. Instead Mal and I retreated to her place where we ordered in Italian food and watched Zoolander with a break in the middle for the food and Without a Trace. By midnight the movie was over, Mal was falling asleep, and the rain had almost stopped.

*

The weather stayed clear enough on Friday for my mother and me to take my grandmother to the cemetary for my grandfather's yartzheit; it was technically June 14th, but as my mother said, we're more about the spirit of the law than the letter. The day before had been a very busy day for my grandmother, grocery shopping and maybe a trip to the bank, and she was very quiet and tired today. We took her home soon and my mother took me out to lunch. Over huge salads at Chili's I explained yet again that the problem re: choosing a career isn't finding something I like, it's finding something I like to do. I like everything. In naming the top five classes I'd taken at UF, I came up with Social Psychology, History of Urban America, Intro to Linguistics, Biological Anthropology, and, um. Hmm. I really liked calculus. I thought very hard about taking Calc III for fun, but never did. I never took any hard sciences, so I couldn't say whether or not I would have liked them. I feel cheated of my science education, going back to high school at least. My biology teacher was fabulous, but I didn't take anything away from chemistry or physics.

Anyway. I dropped my mother at home to make a cake and drove around collecting my contact lenses from the optometrist and my prescription from Walgreens. I got home in time to start reading [livejournal.com profile] kaneko's Intersections and get halfway through before we left for dinner at cousin M.'s. More people who watch a lot of television and don't have much else to talk about. I realize of course that many of the people on my friendslist watch a lot of television and a lot of their posting content is about just that, but the level of engagement on which they tend to watch is incomparable to my dinner companions'. I guess I wouldn't care what we were talking about as long as it were interesting, that it went beyond what their TiVo queues held.

I watched SG:A vids tonight and here's what I learned:

cut for length, but I'm welcoming any conversation about characterization, canon, and general SG:A chatter )

Still to come: a rambling and incoherent discussion of giftedness in my favorite fictional characters.

I watched the trailer for Serenity again and am very excited about September. I don't know how much crossover there is between the fandoms, but I'm guessing everybody already knows David Krumholtz is in the movie, right? Playing a character called "Mr. Universe"?

*

Saturday was one of those days when nothing happened. I watched tennis; I did nothing; I did nothing; I read fic online; I fetched take-out with my mother for dinner; I started Fermat's Enigma, a history of the solving of his Last Theorem. I'm up to the twentieth century.

*

Tennis coverage started at noon on Sunday. I slouched around the house after that until my parents go out to dinner and I watched the last disk of Dead Like Me; in more when-my-fandoms-collide news, Kaylee of Firefly was the goth girl in Episode 114, "Rest In Peace".

Then I found SG-1 fic by [livejournal.com profile] paian omg. I have started reading SG-1 fic. But, come on! This was inevitable, right? Right? Guys? Half the authors I know and love write in SG-1 and a handful of the reccers I trust the most have been reccing SG-1 for months and years, but I'm taking suggestions.

The dog came in just when the thunder and rain started in the small hours, leaning close for me to scratch his ears and belly and croon at him that the big noise couldn't hurt him before he laid down on my foot to sleep.

*

I went to bed in the small hours of Monday morning (so small they were almost big again) and tried to get up three hours after going to bed for shopping with my mother, as planned, but though I have a very clear recollection of setting my alarm for nine a.m., I have no memory of turning it off again. My mom came in at a quarter to ten to get me up, told me not to rush, take my time, etc. I set tennis to tape and we hit the Pembroke Mall. We came home exhausted five or six hours later and stopped at Publix on the way home for essentials (mostly fruit); we made dinner and I watched the tennis I'd taped and was very, very tired.

*

My last dentist visit was in 2002. On Tuesday both the hygienist and the dentist chewed me out for getting lost for three years, and then grudgingly proceeded to tell me my teeth look great. I think they almost would have loved to find half a dozen cavities, just so they could say "see? See?! This is what happens!" Except nothing happened: three years and no decay. I've never had a cavity. I brush thoroughly, I floss nightly, and he said if I keep doing what I'm doing I'll have my teeth until I'm a hundred and twenty. They both said I should think about having my teeth bleached. I'm thinking about it.

I came home jubilant only to find my mother had been crying but was too upset to talk about it, just that "[we? I?] have to move." She said telling me why would just make her cry more, and she had errands to run. This is a bad thing to do to me! I have an extremely vivid imagination. I am paranoid. My first thought was financial disaster. My second was personal/medical disaster. My third was divorce. Common sense started kicking in soon after, as I remembered that if any of those things were true, *moving* would be the least of all difficulties; and my dad had absolutely no idea what was going on, hadn't even known my mother was upset before she left; he did say she had talked to her school principal before she left, maybe she'd heard bad news? Should he call back and see? And I was like, don't call anybody, Mom will tell us when she's ready, etc. I worked out that it's likely she'll have to move classrooms within the school. This will be a total bitch. It's something like the fifth move in as many years and she was pretty invested in this room already, had unpacked things and set them up, and moving will be a bitch—but it'll get done. There's a lot to be said for the worst-case scenario.

I watched taped tennis! and then went to the 5:00 yoga, with Jason as instuctor this time: he was cool, he led class just like Tim at UF had. He gave us the option of doing a backbend instead of a bridge, which, whoo, should have helped my brain, according to this article. I'd gotten back the results of my bloodwork from last week: I am an extremely healthy human being; I need to eat more fish. My triglycerides are 67, my HDL cholesterol is 78 (total: 130) though my LDL is only 39 and that could be higher. Iron is fine, blood sugar is fine; as I remarked to my father, imagine if I were actually still working out five days a week.

We had an excellent dinner when I got back, a sort of alternative picnic: split-pea burgers a la Alton Brown, homemade baked sweet potato chips, corn salad, salad salad. We watched House, Detox )As I mentioned the other day in [livejournal.com profile] isilya's journal, it's laughable what these doctors do. Are they the only five doctors in the hospital? Okay, plus Cuddy, the token administrator. Are there no nurses? No lab technicians? The ducklings do EVERYTHING. They draw blood, they run scans, they perform autopsies and brain surgery. What is the head of Oncology doing up in Diagnostics all the time? In what universe would he draw blood himself? Whatever. I am entertained.

*

On Wednesday my mother and I made a heroic effort at all-day shopping at Sawgrass and were immensely successful. We worked our way through five stores (with a break for a delicious lunch at the Cheesecake Factory) and found shoes and shirts and skirts before losing the will to live. We brought home sandwiches for dinner but were still too full from lunch to eat them. I'd gotten about seventy pages into The Tipping Point before my parents and I went to see Batman: I was disappointed. My mistake was in listening to so many positive critical and personal reviews and getting my hopes up. Hope is fatal. No spoilers here, but—it dragged. The plot was no worse than any other superhero movie I've seen, but considering how much there should have been going on, it all felt too thin and insubstantial. I've never liked Chrisitan Bale and, though I'd heard very good things about him here, I still don't like Christian Bale. He's unattractive, and he can't juggle his teeth and his lines in his mouth at the same time. I wasn't impressed with either his acting or his presence in the role. I liked Katie Holmes better than I liked him. And this is me flagging down the Cillian Murphy bandwagon and clambering aboard. I'm genetically disposed—or contractually obligated, or something—to find Cillian Murphy very attractive, as he has dark hair and light eyes, PLUS high, sharp cheekbones and a great mouth. And he's so wee! Is he not wee?

I'd taped the tennis that aired this morning, but I was so tired by the time the Wimbledon update was over at midnight and I already knew Roddick had won his match, so I went to sleep instead. Shocking, I know.

*

I met S. for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes on Thursday—a working lunch that included a study session for the dreaded GRE. I love math; I just don't remember much of it. Still uncertain as to how knowing low-frequency vocabulary words out of context and without benefit of a dictionary will make me a better graduate student. Please advise.

The yoga instructor this time focused largely on breathing and energies, chanting to begin and end. Sanskrit still sounds very much like Hebrew; she tried to tell someone after class that Sanskrit was the first language, from which all other languages come, and that babies call their mothers "ma" in all languages because of the inherent vibrations that all objects sent out, which we all intuitively pick up on and know, even babies know, when they don't know the words. Um. Yes. Or, you know. No. But the class was good.

Instead of going home right afterward I sat with Mal in Dunkin' Donuts for an hour or two, drinking coffee and eating donuts and singing along with the music, the same music that was playing last time we were in here, and the tape started repeating within the hour. I dealt the first three games and turned over the Queen of Hearts all three times. The odds of that are 1 in 140,608. I also kicked ass in the game, but that'll all even out next time. It always does.

That night I finished The Tipping Point and found it fascinating. Aside from being fascinating in its own right, with the case studies and the examination of Paul Revere's sociability, it was like a walk down Social Psych memory lane. One of his first endnotes referenced Granovetter's "Threshold Models of Collective Behavior" and I had to smack my forehead for not anticipating that one. The Granovetter threshold! is the number of people who have to do something before you'll do it too. For some people, this number is zero: they are the people who go first. Then everyone in the crowd whose threshold is one follows; say there were ten of them: then everyone whose threshold is between two and ten follows them, etc., and soon everyone rushes the field after the game, or starts looting the store, or buying a cellphone, or whatever. There have to be enough people whose threshold is low enough (and some other restrictions may apply) or you've just got one guy rushing the field and getting picked off by security.

*

As of Friday, my parents have been married for thirty-two years. We all went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant in downtown Hollywood and to dinner at a French restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard. I recycled their anniversary card from last year (I was in England at the time and forgot to send it off) and gave them a tiny DVD player for use in the kitchen (installed in thirty seconds or less; it took longer to make room for it in the cabinet) and Field of Dreams. May they use them in good health.

*

My toes hurt from having separators in for most of the day. I've manicured and pedicured and painted, for fun but also for the wedding tomorrow. I'm going to a wedding tomorrow; it's completely bizarre. We were invited, by phone, about two weeks ago; it's cousins on my father's side whom I have never met. My mother and I are strongly of the opinion that we either 1) were entirely forgotten until now or 2) are third-tier guests; neither is particularly flattering. I was all "have fun! I'll be over here, not at this wedding!" but my dad appealed to me with I would really like for you to be there, so I'm going. I won't know anyone at all, but maybe the food will be good?

I was up early this morning, intentionally, for Breakfast at Wimbledon! My mother made scones and I made tea, and I ate strawberries but drank no champagne—I thought it a bit much for 9 a.m. First Roddick and Johannson had to finish their semifinal match, rained out from yesterday: it's going to be Roddick and Federer in the final tomorrow morning, unsurprisingly. Today it was Venus Williams over Lindsay Davenport in three dramatic sets. She had to come back from match-point down to win—the last time a woman had done that in the finals at Wimbledon was 1935.

*

ETA: Didn't manage to get this posted last night. My mom poked her head in my room at five after nine (and lucky that she did; an alarm is all well and good, but one can snooze indefinitely) and I roused myself for Breakfast at Wimbledon, Day Two: all about Roger Federer in straight sets over Roddick. Straight as an arrow, such a clean match, something like 48 winners and 11 unforced errors, no double faults—just beautiful tennis. It was great to watch, because the man is an absolute rock through two weeks and seven matches, giving absolutely nothing away, until his last serve went unreturned for an ace, and he threw up his hands in victory, then fell on the ground and burst into tears. Really, he was smiling and obviously elated, he hugged Roddick when he came around to his side of the net, and shook the chair umpire's hand, and sat in his chair and sobbed into his towel. His third straight Wimbledon championship and he's never really been tested. It's not a rivalry if only one of you ever wins.

I keep wandering around the house blurting out, "tell me again why I'm going to this wedding?" Damned if I know. I'd bring a book if I could. At least my nails are pretty.

March 2011

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