walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (weeds: waiting for my rocket to come)
the application process is not going so well; i'm considering just shooting myself in the head instead. it would at least be quicker.

current tally: one (1) professor happy to write a letter, one (1) professor happy to write a letter but unsure if he's really the best source of a recommendation (for many truly excellent reasons), and one (1) professor who would be happy to write a letter, if only he'd known me for more than five minutes weeks. so i need another referral source, except that there really isn't anyone else. i made sure of it! and i'm honestly not sure if it's a fixable problem; it's not like i've built a time machine in the last year and a half so i can go back and forge stronger relationships throughout my undergraduate career. though that certainly would have been a better use of those idle days!

still need to finish the statement of objectives (though i found old livejournal entries that will be PERFECT for recycling) which professor #2 would like to see so he can have a better idea of "how i am presenting myself in the application, and how i am defining my goals"—when do i get to give up this horrible ruse about HAVING GOALS IN THE FIRST PLACE? i still need to have ETS send my GRE scores; and i still need to figure out how i would be paying for this little lark and fill out the financial statement. still need to track down the titles and authors of the textbooks i used in all my courses, and WOW does that sound like a lot of work. if only i'd left myself more than a month do to all of this! if only!

oh, and through a series of misadventures, both my mother and a. and l. have found out about this delusional pipe dream. AWESOME. the only thing better than being a fuck-up is when everyone gets to follow the trajectories of your failures.

in other news, i'm wearing jeans to the office today because a) it's FRIDAY THANK CHRIST, b) sister c., the admin, is out of town (also the reason i am wearing backless shoes), c) m. has been wearing jeans ALL WEEK ANYWAY because we keep saying we're going to shift the files in the file room, but, you know, we haven't, and d) i seriously, seriously need to do laundry.

in addition to laundry, what i should really do this weekend is come in and file for hours and hours so i can have a chance in hell of catching everything up before the holidays. YOU CAN SEE THE COUNTERS AGAIN GUYS, MERRY CHRISTMAS.

this morning i fell in love with this song: the hold steady - boys and girls in america
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (misc: music makes me invincible!)
i've been writing without posting again. i know you're all desperate to get the details on the weekend [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu was here, my run-in with the oral surgeon (the extended surgical root canal redux re-mix), the drinking i've been doing, the friends i've been making, every thought i've ever had about stargate: atlantis, ETC.—and you will! one day! in the meantime, HAVE SOME MUSIC.

first up, i made a mix of 100% covers for the challenge at [livejournal.com profile] mixxtaped (a locked community). album art and links behind the cut below.

I'M GOING IN: a covers mix, aka i'm a sucker for visual puns and 29 is a prime number )

and then i took a stab at [livejournal.com profile] calikali's frankenmix v. 4.0 challenge, which you can find one entry back, over here.

and THEN i have random zip files for you: jem's album finally woken (the other week i was linked to the teal'c vid sorry and couldn't stop listening to "they" for three days); lazlo bane's album all the time in the world; and a random mix of the songs that popped up the last time i did the first-lines meme. enjoy!

[ETA: drop a line if you missed any of these and want them.]
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (if you called my name out loud)
so i was in boston for a little while there and then i wasn't anymore. that is, i finally, finally, FINALLY got my sorry self on a plane1 and went to visit [livejournal.com profile] silentfire, where for a week and a half i co-opted her floor, swelled cambridge's already-swollen student-age population, and watched, by our very exacting calculations, forty billions hours of episodic television2, 3:

  1. SG-1 episodes 101-106: in which we discover that SG-1 is pure emotional pornography, i keep calling the first episode children of a lesser god, jack and teal'c are married—no, really—and we're pretty sure teal'c wins at life; for sure he wins at deadpan. what is an oprah?

  2. SGA episodes 216-220: in which, frankly, everyone is STUPID, jesus christ. um, more on that later.

  3. SGA episode commentaries from season one, including "the storm/the eye", "the siege" part 1 (but hilarious!), "rising", and "hide and seek" (jinto! come! *clap clap*)

  4. miscellaneous episodes of CSI: NY: in which danny is hot. the end.

  5. miscellaneous episodes of due south: in which ray and fraser are hot and also married.

  6. the entire run to date of criminal minds which, i don't watch every show on television? but it could seriously be the best show on television right now. i feel the same way about it that i did about the west wing in its first two seasons4: i am completely in love with every single character and completely fulfilled by the show. i have zero desire to seek out fannish supplements, i just want more source.

  7. as much NCIS as we could get the internets to cough up; this was before we found [livejournal.com profile] ncisepisodes. turns out that along with sweaters and plenty of socks and hortense-the-shiny-blue-ipod, i also remembered to pack my PIMP HAT. my love for this show and every character on it is boundless and true—BOUNDLESS AND TRUE, OKAY?—and [livejournal.com profile] silentfire was amenable to pimping, and pimping was DONE, \o/. and the best part about pimping at close range (see: stargate atlantis) is the reciprocal squee, the way the love just washes back and forth between us and the source until we're flailing messes. but i've been trying to post for the last eight days, so i'll squee about them later.

  8. when we weren't watching fannish television we were watching songvids based on fannish television, some of the funniest, awesomest songvids EVER:


and when we weren't watching anything at all (or waiting impatiently for it all to download) we occasionally ventured out into the cold open air, for food of every ethnicity, for ice cream, for comic books and groceries, for tea and coffee and hot chocolate, for adventures in public transportation5 and the support of local businesses. also i ended up shuttling back and forth to and from the airport four times, because [livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker wrenched herself away from lakeland for a spur-of-the-moment weekend getaway to join in the wacky fannish hijinks, walk in the snow, and eat italian food and drink beer.

and when we weren't fannishly engaged OR eating6, [livejournal.com profile] silentfire did manage to pick, you know, classes for the new semester, and i got to go along and shop them with her. they might be discontinuing the moral reasoning core requirement in the future, but her class on the public vs. private seems really interesting7 and the professor entertaining. and i got a kick out of a class called "the human mind" when we walked into the lecture hall and i immediately recognized steven pinker's hair: "hey, that looks like steven pinker," i thought. and then i remembered where i was and realized it probably was steven pinker. it seems like a fun hybrid class, and between the sensory processes, psychology, and linguistics classes i've taken he didn't actually tell me anything i didn't know, but he's an entertaining lecturer and i told [livejournal.com profile] silentfire that if she didn't take the class, i would cry. luckily, she did not need convincing.

that was how i spent my boston vacation! i miss her floor already. *pines* and i've been trying to post ever since i got home last tuesday. i would tell you all about what i've been doing since then, but basically i haven't been doing anything but working hard at wasting my potential—and succeeding! i've been reading as much NCIS fic as i can get my hands on (i've run out of recs and am fearful of the archives; send help); i'm hopelessly behind on the SGA fic that's been posted since i left. i saw munich8 with my father and transamerica9 with [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu. i signed up for [livejournal.com profile] naljwrimo2006—i don't know why! if there's anything you'd like to see me ramble on about, i'd be happy to oblige.

you, livejournal, have been up to things in the past few weeks. johari swept like the plague through my flist, and i succumbed too, but i was immediately struck by 1. how limited the selection was, and 2. the fact that all the adjectives are POSITIVE ones. they don't even list the obvious antonyms—e.g. organized vs. disorganized, patient vs. impatient, giving vs. selfish. i suppose people are more likely to play if they have only positive things to choose from (alternatively: given the chance, people are more likely to be self-deprecating and choose negative aspects, rather than very positive ones); and friends and colleagues are probably reluctant to tell anyone they're incompetent or unhappy or callous. and strange. plus there's the simple fact that these *are* friends (for the most part) filling these out, and we're unlikely to be friends with people we would call cruel or vulgar or irresponsible. at least—not where our friends can hear us. it would probably be more successful if contributions were blind. but obviously i wasn't the first or the only one to think of this, and along came nohari to counter; here's mine.10 the selection's still pretty limited, but it's a whole lot more balanced this way.

yesterday was valentine's day; it started with my getting woken up by the doorbell at 9:30 a.m., but i managed to get back to sleep in the end, and later there were roses, filing, thai food, ice cream, and house11. i don't know who it was yesterday who urged us to make it a day of self-indulgence, but in my world, EVERY day is a monument to self-indulgence, so let's try this instead:

1. pick a number between 1 and 4,943 4,953 and i will send you the corresponding song from my itunes library. i made a new playlist and shuffled it all up, it's pure grab-bag. it could be the shins, it could be destroyer, it could be barry manilow! don't be a hater!

and

2. i haven't made icons in a long, long time. comment and tell me what you'd like and i'll make you one. or don't tell me anything and i'll make something based on one or more of your interests.

oh, and my dad and i are going to atlanta on friday. i keep forgetting about this. *makes note to self*



footnotes gone WILD:

  1. i flew jet blue and i heartily recommend them. if you buy in advance and online you can get cheap, cheap fares (i mean, depending on what day you're flying and what time of day and year, etc.), they've got an easy points-based frequent-flyer program, the planes are clean and shiny and brand-new, the seats are leather and as roomy as they promise, the staff are friendly, and the flights are on time—or early. if there are timing or other problems, they're apologetic in both mien and material value (according to my uncle, who's flown with them many times and has only positive things to say). okay, this concludes my bizarre descent into enthusiastic sales pitch.

  2. that said, the only thing we watched on an actual television set was the men's final of the australian open, sunday from four to six-thirty a.m., live from melbourne fourteen time zones away. in conclusion: baghdatis is a good-looking cyprian kid who will be doing great things in the sport and i can't wait to see more of him, BUT FEDERER PWNS YOU ALL, OKAY? OKAY. and i'm so freaking glad i didn't remember the women's final in time to coax [livejournal.com profile] silentfire into staying up with me to watch it the day before, because what a fucking waste of time THAT would have been.

  3. not counting the television i watched on the plane. with thirty-six channels of direct tv available to me (available for free to all jet blue patrons! no, seriously, what is up with the cheerleading?) i settled on TLC's what not to wear, since there's basically nothing to watch between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on a weekday. that said, i think i love stacy and clinton omg. plz give me five thousand dollars and help me shop for clothes kthx. oh, and on the way home on tuesday i caught the middle of a BSG marathon on sci-fi. conclusion: i have no idea wtf is going on, except that i kind of DO, through the process of flist osmosis. mostly i watched with the sound off and listened to aqua and carbon leaf on hortense-the-shiny-blue-ipod. if this trip has taught me nothing else, it's that jesus there are an awful lot of obscenely attractive people on television. is there some kind of culling beam that picks them out of the general population and deposits them in hollywood and british columbia? is it that all the obscenely attractive people are on television, or that obscenely attractive people are the only people on television? is this like rectangles and squares all over again?

  4. technically i didn't discover fandom in the real sense (or slash in any sense) until the end of my freshman year (i.e. spring 2002), and i hadn't been watching the third season at all during that time; but i spent that whole summer camped out on the floor of my room reading deep into the archives of smallville and sports night, and i tried west wing fic—slash, het, gen, everything—but it always felt cold or superfluous or both.

  5. seriously, i got tom lehrer's the subway song in my head every single time we got on the T. awesome.

  6. which we often did simultaneously! there were (among many other things) drinking-game formulations over hot chocolate at burdick's, songvid storyboarding over sandwiches at simon's, and hours of meta over tea and cheesecake at algier's where we covered john and rodney characterization, jenn's shed your skin, del.icio.us (and nutritious!) bookmarks, reading styles (abstract vs. aural/visual), jack o'neill vs. john sheppard, and SG-1 vs. atlantis.

  7. once i got past the fact that it's PHILOSOPHY and you're still treating old dead white men as the keepers of the keys to truth and justice and you're judging the entire world based on a narrow western philosophical tradition.

  8. spoilers for munich )

  9. spoilers for transamerica )

  10. the things is, i don't know where i see myself in ten years, or what my favorite movie is, or who my heroes are, but if anyone ever wants me to describe myself in five words, i'm ready to go: lazy, curious, bright, jealous, self-destructive. in social psych we learned that people tend to descibe themselves as belonging to classes of people (the class of professors, nurses, atheists, women, etc.), but those five adjectives are who i am. if anybody asks.

  11. spoilers for house 2x12 )
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (the future freaks me out)
a. oh man, this is so late, but: a happy and healthy new year to everyone celebrating the new year! in my house we cooked all day for company (only cousin m. and my aunt and uncle this year) for dinner on both nights of rosh hashanah; my aunt had break fast and did it strangely, as we all knew she would but always hope she won't.

my mom and i sat out synagogue this year: she was deeply unhappy with the rabbi and cantor at our old temple and left several years ago; she has yet to find another one that makes her feel satisfied and welcome. my dad tried to guilt me into going with him, but it didn't take. instead i did some navel-gazing of the "i have basically rejected the religion of my childhood, yet at the same time would like not to reject the culture outright or the family traditions entailed therein" variety. you know, like you do. )

b. went with cousin m. to the humane society on two separate occasions this past week to pick out cats for her to take home and love forever and ever. it's a good thing i was expressly forbidden to bring home any kittens myself, because KITTENS. cousin m. took a whole lot longer than i would have to make up her mind, but in the end came away with littermates: two male grey tiger kittens, two months old, who are friendly and playful and curious and, you know, adorable. she picked them up yesterday and took today off from work to make sure they wouldn't get lost in her house or anything. she referred to it as maternity leave.

c. the other day my mom asked me about things like application deadlines and whether i really wanted to go to grad school, etc.: it's not her fault that career talk + pms = a one-way ticket to crying jag town.

i've reluctantly agreed that there's no real point in going to grad school if i don't really know what i want to do. i am so, so tempted to write to my cambridge shakespeare professor and ask him if he was really serious when he said he wished i were his student and suggested i consider cambridge for graduate school, or if he was just toying with my fragile emotions. because it was obviously something i was good at and would probably enjoy doing. it would be something to do: reading for a graduate degree in shakespeare. in cambridge. i would explode, you know?

also there is the part where i want a ph.d. JUST BECAUSE. the other day i couldn't figure out how to properly abbreviate and capitalize Ph.D.:

walkingshadow: . . . this probably means i don't deserve one, doesn't it?
silentfire: i'd give you one if you wrote me fic
silentfire: it'd be a Ph.D. in AWESOME

d. my parents keep pushing my to edit the blog i kept in england for the purposes of paper publishing, and have redoubled their efforts since i've been home. i updated almost every day, often more than once a day: the sucker as it stands is 46,611 words. i'm thinking about it; i have absolutely no idea how it would work.

here's the thing: november is national novel-writing month. at the moment i have nothing more to say. i probably won't ever have anything more to say, but i give it a long look every year.

e. cousin m. and i had our last bellydancing class not last thursday but the thursday before, and i am not that sad to see it go. it was fun to do, but ultimately frustrating and unsatisfying: the instructor was a very nice lady and a fine dancer, but a nervous person and a horrible teacher. on the other hand, we've since had our first tai chi lesson and we love both it and the instructor. i'm sure that to call it chinese yoga is reductive and offensive to both the disciplines and their respective cultures of origin, but the similarities kept piling up in my head as he mentioned five principles in our first lesson: relaxation; keeping a straight back; breathing; twisting at the waist; and the circling of the hands. i don't know if he's making up his own list or what, but i can get behind it. also the massaging of the internal organs. class is held in a high-school cafeteria: i have to remember to bundle up for next tuesday. i.e. tomorrow.

f. my music purge is complete. the casualty rate was 13.5% (721 of 5,314), though i've added 250 songs just since i've been home from school. one of them was burn, baby, burn by the residents; you can download it there from fluxblog. i like to think of it as judges 11:30-40 (the god digs my daddy remix): jephthah made a vow that if god delivered his (jephthah's) enemies in battle, he would sacrifice the first person who came out of his house to meet him. fast forward to jephthah returning home from victory, when who should rush out to greet him but his daughter, his only child. and he was sad about it, you know, but a promise is a promise. the song is sung from the point of view of the daughter, about to die. it's creepy and cracktastic and i can't stop listening to it, but it's interesting, because the blame falls on god, when it seems like the fault is pretty clearly with the human element in this one.

g. television roundup:

kitchen confidential. i don't remember what i had to say about this one. maybe just that i still love it and am sad it's on hiatus. there's a fic community at [livejournal.com profile] greg_the_fish if you're interested in reading or writing. please be interested in writing, oh please.

grey's anatomy )

the west wing )

related )

h. my dad and i saw wallace and gromit )

and on saturday [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu and i saw proof )

after the movie we went on a wild-goose chase looking for csi: miami dvds at first blockbuster and then (reluctantly) at wal-mart, but they were nowhere to be found; at least not at one a.m. it's just that what's one more spoiler-cut between friends? ) i didn't get in on the ground floor of any of the csis, i'm just going to have to start renting from the beginning. other shows i mean to get in on include arrested development and scrubs (saw the first season and nothing after); along with anything else you all think is worthwhile. my kingdom for a netflix subscription?

i. is for icon meme:

take a look at my icons. comment with the following:

1. one that makes you automatically think of me.
2. one that you think i should TOTALLY use more often.
3. one that you don't get/needs more explanation/you have no idea why the hell i have it.

comment using an icon of yours that you LOVE, and tell me why you picked THAT one too.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (he said "the world is as soft as lace")
Y'all, I did something so bad to my neck in my sleep last night. So bad that I had to think very carefully about how I was going to get out of bed when I woke up early this afternoon, and after I did make it upright, the first thing I lunged for was the heating pad, and the heating pad and I then communed for a couple of hours. I've gotten back about three times the range of motion I woke up with, which is still less than half of what I'm used to. There was a time in there when it was warm and loosening up that I thought I'd be able to make it to the gym today after all, but both parents made that-probably-isn't-the-best-idea-you've-ever-had noises, plus I can't even pretend to look over my left shoulder and therefore can't drive; also it hurts when I walk. In summation: ow. I took care of my body and my body abandoned me.

It turns out I'm going to be taking bellydancing lessons with cousin M. for the next six or eight Thursdays. I agreed to it because 1) I don't think she was going to do it if I wasn't, but she really wanted to; and 2) my dad called across the house to tell me she was on the phone when I was in the kitchen and had just sliced a nectarine in half: I answered with the knife and the nectarine in hand, and the phone cord is like two feet long so I was stuck holding onto both of them and dripping for the duration of the call—which was long, and consisted of four parts—so I was looking to end it and get back to the sink as quickly as politeness would allow. And then suddenly I was taking bellydancing lessons. Okay.

I started re-reading the Harry Potter books starting with Philosopher's Stone, intending to take epic, epic notes for both research and general knowledge purposes, but first got distracted by properly coding my notes, and then got totally absorbed in Chapter 4 ("Yer a wizard, Harry Potter!"). Considering how cold HBP left me (and, as I told [livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker, I don't know if that's just because I approached it with my analyzation glasses on or what, but I thought other people had had the same reaction?) I was greatly heartened to find I was still thrilled and touched by the world we were establishing and that Harry was finally gaining entrance to. I have not yet made it past Chapter 4.

My family and I have finished Season Eight of M*A*S*H and have therefore exhausted our current supply. To compensate, we've cracked open the Sports Night DVDs. It was a fantastic show, and would feel even MORE fantastic if only every episode upon re-viewing didn't feel like a dress rehearsal for The West Wing.

As for tonight's network television, namely the episode "Heavy" of House, does S1 House talk need to go behind a cut? watch me now as I err on the side of caution )

But! Oh! Livejournal, since last we spoke [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock posted both Part 3 AND Part 4 of Hindsight, and says now we can probably expect two more parts before it wraps up, if anyone has been keeping away out of habitual WIP-avoidance. Who are you people, by the way? Where does all that cast-iron self-control COME FROM?

I love Said the Gramophone so much, both for the music they feature and the methods they come up with for talking about the music. There was, for example, Nikto Ti Nepovie Pravdu by Zivé Kvety, "the hottest garage-pop band in Bratislava. Yes, Slovakia," about which Sean said,

If this song were having a conversation with itself:

SONG: Hey! Are you going to the movie?
Song: Movie? Look what I'm doing!
SONG: You're jumping up and down on the grass!
Song: I'm jumping up and down on the grass!
SONG: Yes! That looks fun!
Song: Join me! Look, I'm baking cookies too!
SONG: My electric guitar is a baseball bat that only hits home-runs!
Song: Thank god we're no longer controlled by the Communists!

How can you not appreciate people who appreciate something so much? I don't find every description they post appealing, and I don't adore every song I download, but I love plenty, and no matter what, I love reading what they have to say.

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)
Well, hurricane season has dashed off to an early—and roaring—start this year. This time I live on the fortunate coast: we just got whapped with some wayward tropical-storm-strength bands as Dennis moved off Cuba and up through the Gulf. On Friday the sun was out, but the wind was kicking up all day; it got dark around 5:30, started raining around 5:45, and poured intermittently thereafter. Our local CBS affiliate pre-empted Numb3rs in favor of special hurricane coverage, omg DIE, sensationalist local news, DIE, DIE. The storm wasn't even coming near us! They couldn't have updated at the commercials? Run a ticker at the bottom of the screen? Useless. They fail at network television.

In lieu of the Brothers Eppes, I started watching M*A*S*H Season Six, finishing on Saturday. Charles = SO OBNOXIOUS OMG. For all his snobbery, he has no class. If he were only a little kinder, quieter, more generous, or less smug, the world—or at least the camp—could be at his feet. Instead everyone's against him, everything backfires on him, everything's a fight he insists on bringing on himself. Does he ease up in later seasons? He must, but I can't remember.

I found the episode "Images," the one with Cooper, The Amazing Crying Nurse, to be unsuccessful in almost all ways. First of all, Margaret was right: neither Margaret nor anyone else should have given a flying fuck whether or not Cooper's little heart bled for all those poor wounded boys—I mean, yes, she should care, as empathy for human suffering is one of the things that gives life meaning and separates us from the insane and sociopathic, but it wasn't relevant—everyone just cared whether Cooper could do her fucking job. Cooper might have been a fine nurse (though we saw no evidence of that), but she couldn't hold her shit together and therefore did not belong in their unit—no judgements made or passed, but she was endangering lives by freezing up. I'm not saying whether or not everyone was right that Cooper should be given more time to come to grips with the realities of working in a MASH unit (weighing an unavoidable adjustment period against the high stakes and the consequences of screwing up), but every time they said Margaret was an ice maiden with a heart of stone for not indulging Cooper's falling apart, I wanted to smack them. They were all, "it's just that she has feelings! Unlike you!" when the whole point was that you can have all the goddamn feelings you want, but you can't let them get in the way. Margaret has wild, swinging, deep emotions she keeps tightly controlled except for when she doesn't, and the writers' decision to have her bond with a stray dog and be devastated by its subsequent death just to show her humanity and allow her to identify with Cooper was both ridiculous and insulting, to the character and the viewing audience alike.

If "subtlety" isn't their middle name, neither is "continuity." They lose on backstory (how many parents everybody has, where they're from, how long they've been in Korea) as well as the day-to-day details: just to nitpick, in the episode where Col. Potter is painting Charles's portrait, Charles is posing with his right side facing Col. Potter, but it's his left 3/4 profile we see in the finished portrait. Whoops!

On Friday my mom and I were still moping through our colds (mine really didn't seem that bad, not nearly as bad as my mother was feeling—but possibly nothing will ever seem very bad in comparison to the deathflu; also I will take any and all excuses to shuffle from room to room reading and watching DVDs). We had zero appetite but sent my father out for pizza for dinner. We kept forgetting to send him out for ice cream.

Saturday I got us ice cream. I watched some of Season Seven M*A*S*H, ran to the store for ice cream, and went out with my family and some family friends for dinner. The weather was truly, truly gross. You live in South Florida, and you think you know what humidity is, but you have no idea. Hurricanes and tropical storms are low-pressure systems, and you feel that: the air feels lighter, less resistant, and also softer. The wind blows warm, which is almost worse than not blowing at all.

Sunday I did laundry and went stir-crazy. [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu came to my rescue and got me out of the house today, sweeping me off to lunch at Einstein's (a late lunch, because while she called me at 10:30 when she was done with her eye appointment, and I'd heard the phone ring and planned to get up and call her back in just a few minutes, in reality I fell back asleep and woke up three hours later; we got to Einstein's by 3:30), a quick swing through Ross (where I got a green t-shirt that has a picture of an orange and text beneath it reading "can't concentrate"), to Pearle Vision to help Cousin M. pick out a pair of frames (in the end we went with the double-squeal signal of approval), to Barnes & Noble for frappuccinos, cookies, and magazines (it's time to get a subscription to CMYK already), and home in time for dinner. Dinner was my mother's vegetable soup from the freezer, thawed and waiting for me in the pot.

My parents watched Yankee Doodle Dandy (newly acquired on DVD!) after dinner, a family favorite, but I plonked myself down at my computer and read Sacrificial Drift, the sequel to The Taste of Apples. It's SG:A, and yowza. Auburn has quite the knack for breaking me into tiny little pieces. There's more than one go-around of breaking-apart-and-putting-back-together-again here: it's like chanting he loves me, he loves me not and hoping against hope that your flower has an odd number of petals. Special for [livejournal.com profile] isilya: the POV shifts are explicitly signaled this time. I thought of you.

Fluxblog described a song today thusly: "If you are an insecure doormat-y sort of guy dealing with an insensitive girlfriend who makes up for her outrageous cruelty by being quite a handful in the bedroom, then this is YOUR summer jam, especially if you're into Danish twee-wave." I love the mp3 blogs! I flipped through Filter today, but I always slink away from it feeling inadequate, like I am not indie enough for them. Part of it is feeling like there's too much music out there to know; part of it is feeling like I just don't have the same ear to listen to all these songs with—though a lot of that is probably just a function of listening to an awful lot of songs. Right now I am a-swim in fantastic music, especially Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, especially their "Details of the War" (which I got a little while back at Said The Gramophone). It is haunting and waily and I can't make out all the lyrics (which is driving me nuts), but they include the line you will pay for your excessive charm—plus it has acoustic guitar thrumming like hoofbeats and some truly well-deployed harmonica. Their CD goes on the must-have list.

In addition to the music blogs, I also depend upon the kindness of strangers, e.g. [livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker (with whom I have been playing a truly epic game of phone tag—if phone tag were an Olympic sport, we'd be bringing home the gold every four years) who posted a bunch of yousendit links to cool, funky songs the other day. One of them was a mash-up of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" set to Guns 'n' Roses' "Paradise City," and it is beyond catchy—it feels like the next logical step in the evolutionary chain.

Unless I have the day wrong, S. and I are meeting up at Barnes & Noble tomorrow to once more tackle the GRE practice tests. I can't help thinking that these little get-togethers would be a lot more useful to me if I studied between sessions.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (Default)
Yesterday while I was sorting colored construction paper in my mother's classroom, I blurted out, "Mom, what was I doing when I was ten?" and I don't think I've ever startled her so badly in my life. I explained when she asked that I thought it would give me career guidance: it seems that people tend do what they've always done. She wasn't very helpful, not recalling much more than that I read a lot. But I never read excessively, or even extensively, and besides, there are limited opportunities to read for a living. Most of them involve editing in some capacity, which I guess isn't the worst thing in the world.

The pattern holds true, I suppose: I never had any direction and I still don't. I did a lot of art when I was even younger, nothing spectacular, with markers and paints, etc.; I drew on the walls for a while and my parents kept taking my supplies away, until one day they found me on the floor with talcum powder, a glass of water, and a paintbrush, painting in the hardwood tiles. They gave everything back after that. For a long time I had to use every color in the crayon or marker or colored-pencil box at least once, taking them all out and lining them up, putting them back after I'd used them. There were a lot of rainbows. For a little while my mother worried about OCD, but I never developed anything crippling. I've been watching and reading about real and fictional characters with brains the size of small planets, and it eats at me that I'm bright but not brilliant. I'm not terribly proud of having a jealous personality, but it's a pretty big part of me and I'm well aware of it. It's almost time to move on to the next thing. I can only hope that this restlessness builds up enough and enough to drive me not only out of here, but toward something.

Today, however, was not a day for doing things. My dad got me up for brunch with my mom at 11:30, much too soon after I'd gone to bed that morning. The sun wasn't out (the rain and wind are apparently the direct result of Tropical Storm Arlene, chugging through the Gulf of Mexico and on course for Alabama, Louisiana, etc.) so I didn't even bother with my contact lenses. We ate at Einstein's and afterwards my mother and I did more work in her room. I climbed carefully on a ladder and pulled down bulletin boards, finished sorting FCAT practice packets, wished for a nap. We cut out at a little after three. My mother tried out her first day of Pilates (verdict: inconclusive) and I watched and commented helpfully. I'd woken up with tight hamstrings and over the course of the day other muscles made themselves known, especially my shoulder blades and the long slabs of my back, down either side of my spine, aching faintly when I shifted and sore to the touch. I had a mid-afternoon meal and went to sleep at four-thirty. My mother let me sleep until dinner three hours later. Afterward we all watched two episodes of Dead Like Me. Great character development, and I'm still in love with Mason, but "Reapercussions" (1.04?) was a little scattered. It did further the canon though, and the plot arcs and the relationships. I am still a fan.

I've downloaded about a dozen songs tonight, all fantastic, because the kids who run the music blogs, they know what they're doing. You can get I Found Love at Stereogun, where Matthew from Fluxblog is filling in for the weekend. He describes the track thusly: "This is a selection from The Now Sound Redesigned, a collection of remixes of songs by the twee-est band of the '60s, The Free Design. Styrofoam and former Velocity Girl singer Sarah Shannon don't quite remix "I Found Love" so much as cover it, recasting the tune as a syrupy alt-pop ballad for a post-Postal Service world." It's lush and light and liquid, and the lyrics are almost unbearably happy-slappy, but her voice pulls it out and there's enough going on in the music—crackling, booping layers along with, um, something drum-like yet electronic? yeah—that it's all okay. I'm listening to it on headphones too, which I recommend. Is absolutely everything better with headphones?

Check out also The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, recommended over at Said the Gramophone, the blog that introduced me to Andrew Bird's "Fake Palindromes."

I haven't read more than fifteen pages of a book at a time in the last few days, and I miss it. There are more filled requests to be picked up at the library tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow too I'll be whole enough to put myself through my paces at the gym.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (he said "the world is as soft as lace")
This is the second time in two days iTunes has randomly and unprovoked offered up Tom Waits' "Train Song". It helps that the song is about being broke and hopeless and alone in the world and never going home again, but he could be singing about a Ferris-wheel ride with his first girlfriend and it wouldn't matter, because his voice is what seriously puts you in the mood to commit suicide. I mean, I spent the night walking along Hollywood beach with my parents and eating pizza on the broadwalk at sunset, getting ice cream on the way home, and stuffing my face with House fic since we got back, but even I'm starting to think a bottle of whiskey and a loaded gun is the next logical step. "Cherry Oh Baby" by UB40 was the song that followed. How did that even get in there?

Meme from [livejournal.com profile] paintedmaypole and [livejournal.com profile] smartlikejustin that seems like good-time fun. Don't you want to fill it out? Don't you?

Am I . . .
a) Samurai or geisha?
b) Poptart or muffin?
c) Demon or exorcist?
d) Fork or spoon?
e) Book or movie?
f) Frankenberry or Count Chocula?
g) Silk or leather?
h) Gun or knife?
i) Dog or Cat?
j) Remus or Sirius?
k) Beatles or Stones?
l) Murder or suicide? (in a "which am I more likely to commit" sense, I think)
m) Strawberries and cream or chocolate cake?
n) Cowboy or Indian?
o) Trick or treat?

[livejournal.com profile] silentfire has demanded requested photos from Tuesday's Morikami outing, but the dial-up is crushing my will to live, let alone upload pictures. So, tomorrow.

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