walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (sga: culture shock)
a. youtube link: finite simple group (of order two).

b. this month i managed to 1) have an anxiety attack over taking the fucking GRE1, 2) WRESTLE THE FUCKING GRE TO THE MOTHERFUCKING GROUND AND MAKE IT WISH IT HAD NEVER BEEN BORN IN A LOVELESS, FAUX-ACADEMIC ETS FACTORY2, 3) fall off my step at the gym and sprain my wrist3, and 4) drive into a tree.4 omgwtf OCTOBER.

c. as of last week, i'm officially done with studio 60. prospects were slightly brighter after "the long lead story," bright enough for me to draft a good news/bad news review that contained actual good news, but "the wrap party" was so exceedingly bad and boring that the show is now dead to me. the flist as a whole continues to be widely divided, and i find it fascinating: after the last episode aired, reactions ranged from "well, that was unspeakably offensive. guess i don't need to watch that anymore" to "this, this is good tv." interestingly, i'm seeing a lot of "please don't harsh our vibe" appeals from the fans, and i'd get irritated about that5, but i hear the show is dead to a growing majority of the general viewing audience and soon to be dead to the network, so whatever.

for anyone who's wondered either what the big deal about sorkin is in the first place, or why studio 60 is such a trainwreck, this is a great read.

d. let's talk about good television now!

heroes, farscape, entourage, battlestar galactica, etc. )

e. when i haven't been watching television, i've been shopping endlessly for a professional winter wardrobe oh god. not only is spending all this money making me twitchy, shopping in general is making me twitchy. questions i lie awake at night wondering about include: what to buy? what look to go for? where to go? how much to spend? how many black sweaters can i really justify owning? what about black skirts? i've been buying piecemeal from ann taylor loft and banana republic, and kansas pointed me to loehmann's—their stuff looks great, but until i get a bead on sizing, i'd like to get to a physical store and actually try things on first, rather than trial-and-error through the mail (see: the great zappos.com failure of the summer of 2006).

i have never in my life owned BOOTS, but this could be my year.

f. further on the subject of spending large sums of money, i've been pining after the apple macbooks and macbook pros, obsessively comparing and contrasting and building my dream models. in conclusion: i desperately want the macbook pro, for its faster processor, larger cache, bigger hard drive (though m. suggested buying one at 7200 rpm separately anyway), superior graphics card, and general all-around SHININESS6, but it's, you know, significantly more expensive, so it'll depend on how much my parents are willing to contribute as a belated graduation gift to make up the difference. but just wait till i get my paws on final cut express and subject you all to the vid ideas i've been hoarding for years!

g. i finished guns, germs, and steel a while ago, \o/; it only took three months of lunches. right now i'm working steadily through the world is flat, which is FASCINATING. i recommend them both very, very highly; more to come at some to-be-determined time in the future.

h. in between those books i made an aborted attempt to get through gödel, escher, bach, which is supposed to be about the manifestation of consciousness through what the author has dubbed "strange loops"—recursive paradoxes leading a system to become aware of itself—and it sounded awesome, but it was in fact NOT AWESOME, because of how fucking pretentious and self-indulgent the author was, i.e. so pretentious, i kept rolling my eyes so hard i was giving myself headaches; after his third dialogue cum monument to his own brilliance, i had to take it out back and shoot it. now i really want a t-shirt that says, "the first rule of the theory of linguistic types is you do not talk about the theory of linguistic types."7 fucking bertrand russell.

i. geoffrey pullum needs to calm down and possibly shut the hell up about linguification.

j. holy socially interactive events, batman: tabernacle EXTRAVAGANZA last weekend.8 on friday we saw the decemeberists—who were awesome, and all i asked was that they play sons and daughters, which they DID; and saturday we saw louis black, who was hilarious, and then followed him up with mind-meltingly good food at rathbun's asdkfjasl;dfj.

k. still putting pieces of paper in alphabetical order for a living. still no plan.


footnotes )
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (inside the finest little space)
birthday dinner for my mum went off very well last sunday, though the cake didn't so much. that, however, was through no fault of my own, but the fault of the oven (it did the exact same thing the last time my mother tried it a few months ago), and we've determined that my mother hasn't been doing nearly enough baking recently to establish the proper temperature levels of the new oven, and we'll just have to keep at it until we get it right. it's all in the name of science. and then last night we all went out for a birthday dinner on her actual birthday, which would have been more fun if the kids had been less cranky, but was still fun, and ended in ice cream. i've yet to get my mother a birthday present of my own, but have engineered the giving of both a probe thermometer (for meat and poultry) and season one of northern exposure, both big hits. hopefully we'll get to watch an episode or two before c. and the boys go home on saturday.

s. and i studied yet again on tuesday, and i'd forgotten we were supposed to meet—again—today, so i didn't set an alarm and was, of course, late. it was also a day where i couldn't do math in stupid ways, and that's irritating. but! today was the first night of bellydancing class for me and cousin m. and that was a good time. there are fourteen women in the class, from early late teens or early twenties to mid-fifties (plus one young girl who came with her mom), and it's amazing how awkward and utterly uncoordinated some people are, but we're having fun. i don't think i'll be able to lift my arms tomorrow.
[eta: my shoulders are okay so far, but i'm sore in strange places, e.g. my hips and obliques. this is going to be better than pilates.]

[livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker was in town for a spell earlier in the week and is expected to reappear for the weekend, but has still not read harry potter and the half-blood prince, making all proto-fic babble on my part completely impossible ([livejournal.com profile] silentfire is my voice of encouragement and sanity, thank god). instead she keeps asking spoilery questions which i keep refusing to answer. we did have a good time though, rehashing conspiracy theories (conclusion: dumbledore is an evil, evil man) and making our heads hurt trying to track the references and allusions. i mean, dumbledore has a scar above his knee, just like odysseus did (and it identified him as the rightful ruler when he finally got back to troy 20 years later), but what does that MEAN?

but what's really important is that 1) [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock finished hindsight and it was just as amazing as you might have hoped, and 2) i have been watching actual episodes of stargate:atlantis and am so in love it's passed being not even funny anymore and is funny again. as expected, i have approximately 3987234 screencaps from the eight episodes i have watched so far, and will probably post a whole bunch of icons for the taking once i make them. in the meantime,

i babble! for so long! so much babble! )

"home" is the next episode up. like hawkeye pierce, i am so excited i could plotz.

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. (his uncle was a crooked french canadian)
My HBP thoughts finally got written up over here. I don't know if I said much, but I sure did talk a lot.

Other things I have done in the past two weeks:

S. and I studied together three (3) separate times for the GRE. It's utterly demoralizing to be set the task of doing middle-school mathematics problems and not be able to do them, since I haven't done them since, you know, *middle school*. There's nothing like being asked to solve a linear equation like 4 - 5(2y+4) = 4 and hearkening nostalgically back to sixth grade. I keep conflating four steps in my head like I'm used to doing, and then I mess up on the arithmetic—it's been way too long since I worked with numbers on a regular basis. My dad is all confused about the relevance of this test, and I just keep saying, "don't get me started."

On Saturday I got 214 pages into HBP before and after dinner, and then [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu called around 9:30 and said she felt like she should be going to a movie, so she swung by and collected me for the 10:05 showing of Bewitched. It was cute, we laughed a lot, and we snorted a lot. We had fun, but I don't think I'd actually recommend it. We also saw five or six trailers, one of which was for Elizabethtown, where Orlando Bloom is a pretty, pretty boy, though I dislike Kirsten Dunst for being smug and smirky; and one of which was for RENT: a fabulous trailer, beautifully shot and of course their voices are all incredible (Jesse L. Martin on "or the way that she diiiiiied" = goosebumps omg). They're all way too old (I mean, Mimi is supposed to be nineteen—and look like she's sixteen) but that's okay! and I am excited about it.

Then we found a Dunkin' Donuts on US-1 and sat down with our donuts and coffee and cards for a couple of rounds. Technically they closed at 1:00, but the drive-through was open later, so the lady didn't mind us staying a while; we headed out by 1:30 or so. We got caught by the late-night train, the long and slowly-moving one, and started a game of regular-card Uno while we waited. We finished it off in my driveway and then sat in the dark with the car running for a while longer, just talking. Only the animals were awake when I finally came in. We were all supposedly heading to the beach for breakfast tomorrow; I left a note telling my parents to wake me up twenty minutes before they wanted to leave and I would be ready.

. . . However, it turned out that I was the first one up Sunday morning (c. 8:45) even though I'd been the one to go to sleep at five. We did make it out to the beach, though it was more brunch-time than breakfast-time by the time we got there. We stopped at the organic market for lettuce and parsley. At home I continued reading HBP, stopping for dinner consisting of bruschetta and goat cheese on toasted artisan bread plus enough wine to get buzzed on, then roasted chicken over sweet potatoes and some sauteed vegetables. My mother's been on-vacation-without-leaving-home and not cooking, but she broke down tonight. Started Season Eight of M*A*S*H and we cried and cried when Radar left. And then we cried and cried some more when BJ broke down at the end of the next episode, after his incredible all-night drinking binge.

We've been promising ourselves for weeks, but Mal and I set aside this Thursday for movie day! Movies watched:

1) Say Anything. Everyone should have a Lloyd Dobson: being a good boyfriend is totally his calling in life.

2) Saved! Which was HILARIOUS. Whoever said Macauley Culkin was the best part of this movie? You are correct! But everybody else was great too.

3) Ghost World. Um, weird. Steve Buscemi is always creepy. And the ending kinda came out of nowhere, though it was intriguing. I loved her clothes.

4) I <3 Huckabees. Quirky and arty, and I loved it. Also in which Jude Law has what I think must be the least successful American accent ever attempted on stage or screen. Awesomely bad. Though I saw him (unfortunately) in Sky Captain, and he couldn't hold on to a single dialect there either. I'd heard this movie didn't have a plot, which is confusing, because there absolutely was not only a plot, but a theme, a message, a mystery, development, epiphanies, revelations, and a very satisfying ending. Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman were cute as could be.

Also in the past two weeks, I have been to a gym exactly one (1) time, but I just got signed up at the health club starting tomorrow, so I will be attending regularly once again, hurrah.

[livejournal.com profile] ciderpress has recently discovered Stargate: Atlantis and is all a-squee about it, especially Major John Sheppard, and just reading about it makes me clap my hands and squeak. The North American DVD release date is November. In the meantime, [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock has just started an AU called Hindsight (Part 1: In which somebody expresses their true feelings for Rodney, John isn't able to find Rodney's head injury and never joined the Air Force, and Montana's tourists really get a run for their money) that is AWESOME and will hopefully be a billion chapters long, but I will take whatever I can get.

I'm going to go read a book now.

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)
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.

walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (Default)
You know what I need? New icons. NEW ICONS. Everybody has such pretty icons, man, and I get crazy jealous. I'm tired of mine. What should I make? Who wants to make one for me? And which ones should survive the great purge that is a-comin'?

This is a new icon—or rather, an icon that I started months ago and then abandoned, but I resurrected it tonight. It's keyworded the boy's got a lot to be mad about.

It rained all day again today, and based on weather reports from regions to the north of us, I think we can expect more of the same tomorrow. I like weather. I get a community feeling from fronts that sweep down from Canada, through most of the states in my time zone and some to either side, until they finally drift down to us, warmer and maybe messier but often just as wet. I feel close to everyone who bitches about snow or thunderstorms when the rain comes to my house a week or three days later, a hand-me-down feeling, a you-too? kind of connection with the whole world. I also grin as we all make our left-hand turns when the arrow turns green, everybody playing their proper role in our little traffic dance. I don't know if this is symptomatic of the way I don't get close to people, or the cause of it, but I have the feeling it's somehow related, either way.

But—it rained today. S. and I met up at Barnes & Noble where it poured and poured outside while inside we ate sandwiches, browsed, and lost our wills to live over a casual study session for the GRE. This is where I lodge my official rage at the GRE and, for that matter, all standardized tests! I realized today that I've gone four years without sitting down to take a standardized test, and those were good years. The last time Educational Testing Services and I danced a tango, I burned through five AP tests in a week at the end of my senior year of high school, fifteen hours or so of sitting in a desk filling in bubbles and feverishly scrawling timed essays. I didn't mind those nearly as much as I minded the SAT or, now, the GRE. With the exception of the writing component, the two look identical. My advice to high school juniors and seniors today who are in the standardized-testing zone already and won't (in accordance with Weber's Law) really notice one more, is to take the GRE now and get it out of the way. Similar scores would be one indication of a lack of testing validity, right?

If it had anything to do with what I've been doing for the past four years, or if it had anything to do with the skills or knowledge I would need for graduate school, or even if it was a basic measure of intelligence (though you could debate long and loud the relative merits and demerits of IQ tests and different kinds of intelligence and whether, in the end, any of them would predict success or failure in a specific learning environment) I would not mind. But it is none of those things: it is a measure of how well you can study for a test—which probably is one indicator of how well you might fare in college/graduate school*, but that's immediately biased against people who can't afford study guides and thousand-dollar Kaplan courses. I mean, the majority of the "verbal" section is composed of "antonyms" and "analogies", which basically tests your raw vocabulary—and not only that, but your familiarity with the least-frequently-used words. Why do I not believe them when they say this section will measure my "effectiveness at solving a problem hinging on [my] command of the English language"?

And to be totally honest, I'm bitter because I haven't done Algebra II** since ninth grade, and I haven't brushed up on systems of equations since I last studied for the SAT in eleventh grade, so I totally got served when I sat down cold to the practice test this afternoon. Other things to be bitter about: the test is completely computerized now, meaning you get your (unofficial) score immediately (which, by the way, I have never enjoyed! I like at least a day between the effort and the evaluation), but you have to answer the questions in the order in which they appear, so 1) you can't skip a question and come back to it later, and 2) you can't go back and check your work. The other big change from paper-and-pencil tests is that computer tests (this one, at least) are adaptive, so they give you harder or easier questions based on your correct or incorrect answers. I'm sure that as more and more tests become computerized and they eventually enter the classroom to replace Scantrons and the like, that new test-taking strategies will emerge to elicit the test-taker's best possible performance, but I don't have those strategies. All I have is IRE.

* But not necessarily, if you'll just compare the study habits of (for example) myself and former-roommate N., along with our respective test scores.
** Is this stuff even Algebra II or is it all just Algebra I? I can't remember anymore. It's been a while, is all I'm saying. I could integrate better than I could tell you exactly how much pears cost apiece if three of my friends bought pears, apples, and oranges in different combinations but either neglected to note the unit prices or else are refusing to tell me.


After we lost the will to live, we wandered the aisles, recommending books to each other, and I bought pocket-sized books of weekend NYT crossword puzzles, to keep in my bag along with whatever book I happen to be carrying—because, as Edward Conlon explained to someone who asked, you never know when nothing's going to happen. I drove home in rain but stopped on the way at Batten's Farm for a fresh strawberry milkshake and picked up peaches while I was there. I'd walked right past them, but their scent drew me back. At home I napped for an hour and a half, until my mom woke me for dinner of Thai take-out.

My parents had taken out The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas the other night to show me who Charles Durning was (a perennial That Guy for me), and started watching it; we finished it tonight, or rather they did, and I excused myself to read or something. The movie was cute, and maybe I should have had more fun with it or appreciated the town's open acknowledgement and wholesome treatment of their whores, but I kept getting hung up on the phrase romanticization of prostitution, which is a clunky and pretentious thing to have scrolling through my brain, but there it was. I watched The Poseidon Adventure with my dad tonight too, and the dialogue was formulaic and cheesetastic, but what kept bothering me was the gender roles and distribution of labor. I understand it's a disaster movie (one of the first of its kind and boy did it set the tone for the genre), so stock characters are to be expected, but the way it broke down, the women had great legs and wore short shorts and high heels while they screamed and panicked and clutched at the men to save them. The men weren't contemptuous about it, just helpful and stoic; when the men froze up it was the other men who got them to continue, not by gentle coaxing, but by bracing, blustery, these-people-need-you! or are-you-man-or-mouse?! pep talks.

I think that slash, at some level, is behind this. That is, my reading slash has affected the way I view this film. Disaster movies from the 1970s (their ruffled shirts and humongous bow ties!) have a different and skewed presentation of gender from what I see in my daily life today, but even in real life today I'm often taken aback by the way men and women interact and are expected to interact with each other. I spend so much of my time reading about relationships (intimate and otherwise) between men, exclusively. It's fanfiction, so the relationships are often idealized on both the personal and the macro (cultural, political) levels, but they meet as equals in a way men and women never get to. There are often other confounding factors at work—preconceived notions, power differentials, "my friends all hate you!", "I'm not really gay!"—but even that last one is eased (a function of fiction, perhaps) by that recognition of equality and you're-like-me (and not just in the, "hey, he has a cock too!" kind of way). The distancing effects of courtship and whatever "games" women are supposed to play (and the accompanying resignation and resentment men feel at jumping through those hoops) are eliminated, ipso facto. I need more data for comparison. I've never been a reader of femslash, so I don't know if the same set-ups are found there; but really the question must be what is it actually like—from here it feels like culture and history are what stand between men and women: patriarchy and pornography, men's clubs and women's magazines, double standards and Sigmund Freud. It concerns me; it worries me; it gets my back up. And yet, even though it feels like same-sex couples must meet in a space removed from those reverberating expectations, surely it's more the case that the expectations are simply different? I know I've been immersing myself in fantasies all along, large fantasy worlds with thousands of different dreams inside them, but just because I've been over-exposed to unattainable ideals doesn't mean that I need to dismiss all of my dissatisfaction. I'm still sorting it out, it's too amorphous to even be coherent yet, but some of it at least I plan to hang on to and fight for.

I finished Never Let Me Go today: I was impatient and eventually unsatisfied with it, and I think fanfiction, along with all the nonfiction I've been reading lately, has something to do with that as well. This isn't the first novel I've found lacking recently, and the problem is in the pacing, or the thinness of the plot, or both. I read an awful lot of fanfic, and because I'm kind of a snob, and because I can, I read an awful lot of really, really high-quality fanfic. Across the board, with few exceptions, really good fanfic is tight, everything to the purpose and nothing in it that doesn't advance the story. I can think of two reasons for this (and I'm sure there are others): 1) the focus on the relationship (and even in a gen story the focus is almost always on the character(s)), and 2) essentially unlimited flexibility with regard to story length. There are a lot of novel-length stories floating around fandom, but there are a whole lot more mid-length, short, and tiny stories (see: the drabble, whatever your feelings about it) that always give the impression they were written until they were done, not to pad pages or fulfill a word count. It means the novel-length stuff needed to be novel-length, and I never read a section of it and wonder why it was there, or wish the author would just get to the fucking point already. I've been spoiled.

There was an internal problem with Never Let Me Go, too—it was first-person, and the storytelling method including mentioning an event in passing, with the assurance that she (the narrator) would explain it to us later, and I hate that, when people do it in real life as well as in a story like this. Either tell me something or don't, but don't hint around it, and especially don't hint around things throughout the entire book. The book itself was about a possible present: it's a slow—very, very slow—reveal, but essentially it's about the ethics of cloning, the status of clones, and our responsibility to them. But the revelation of information went too slow for the amount of information that was revealed, and the last few pages ended in a Goblet of Fire-style expository infodump. I'd have cared more if it had been paced better, is what I came away thinking, instead of barely caring at all.

March 2011

S M T W T F S
  1 2345
678 9101112
131415 16171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags