Monday, December 31, 2007

I feel so guilty

I feel so guilty. There aren't even any words to describe how guilty I feel. Just, oh my God, monumentally horrifically guilty. I'm the meanest person in the whole world. I'm so, so, so mean. I'm mean, mean, mean, and I deserve all the unpleasant karma that's coming my way. I'm going to be one of those tragic bookstore people that are so tragic I can't stand to look at them.

This is true. Actually can't stand to look at them. I can hardly bear to write about them, that's how much they distress me. Whenever I go into a bookstore and see those people sitting at book tables looking sad and hopeful, tremendous waves of dismay wash over me and little embarrassment insects go crawling up my spine, and even though I want to go talk to them and make their lives more bearable, I just can't because it's too awful – either that's my future, or else it's not which means I will never write a book at all. Let alone get to the tragic book-signing phase.

(Seriously, writing that, I am getting creepy-crawly feelings.)

Anyway, I started another blog just for myself, to write what I think about books, so that I won't forget later in life, and so that I can always have a list online of books I want to read, in case I am ever anywhere else where my Big Book List isn't. Very easy access. And yay. And that's all I was thinking. So when I was reviewing things I was just being silly and cranky, because my personal book reviewing blog could not possibly be important enough for anyone to ever find, and I said a lot of mean things about Melusine (which, I'm sorry, I didn't like at all, even though I swear to God I wanted to), and oh God, the author has a blog, and she linked to me. And said, Jenny didn't like Melusine.

Which I didn't.

But I didn't mean to make her feel bad.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

HA.

What did I tell you? Did I tell you that BBC Radio 4 plays are the best thing in the world? Did I not say that? Well, guess what the present Classic Serial is?

I will let you guess.

If you guessed The Witches you were quite right. I love The Witches. I love it. I love, love, love, love it. And now I am listening to it in radio play form. Wow.

I actually feel really content. I am nice and cool in my own pleasant flat, I am listening to The Witches in radio play form (ruh-roh, his parents are about to perish - there they went), and as soon as I post this I shall catch up on my book reviewing activities.

In case you were wondering

whether the thumpy people in the flat above me have gone home for Christmas, the answer is NO. NO, they have NOT. They are up there thumping even as I type this (on my computer, now restored to me, hurrah!). Thump, thump, thump. Creak, creak, creak. Thump. Thump. I want to go up there and be all LOOK BITCHES. I have had a VERY LONG WEEK and you MUST STOP THUMPING.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Kayla that I work with and her genius plan

Since school got out there have been many merry hijinks on my part -- my lovely friends are lovely, you know, and none of us have schoolwork to do for a change, and then I keep starting reading books and wanting to know how they end, and then also dear little Kate (Kate!) came back from her university in the North where people tell her (and this is absolutely not an indictment of the North, which of course I love although I really feel that the (fairly common) Northern sense of superiority over the South regarding racial matters is not altogether justified) that they are not ignorant about race relations just because they have never met a black person, and then of course my computer is in the shop being diagnosed so I have to use my electronic typewriter, and it's very convenient when you have an electronic typewriter to write stories while watching films that you have seen several times, so I stayed up late watching X-Men, and that was only after we had all watched Hairspray...

Sidebar: So before last night it had been a while since I watched X-Men, but damn, how sexy is Hugh Jackman when he's all elegantly broody and cantankerous? Like when he comes round the corner, and with the claws, and he's all, if you want to shoot me SHOOT ME....? My younger sister and I both have identical reactions to this particular moment (it has been the subject of some discussion between us), and we do entertain some concerns that it is indicative of our deep-seated desire (endemic, I have been given to understand, to high-spirited women) to be mastered and thrown around by our hair by cranky menfolk. But that is neither here nor there.

Neither is this, my sidebar number two: James Marsden's face makes me laugh. I really regret that James Marsden has spent so much of his time in parts where he plays the nice guy who is so fundamentally lacking in sex appeal that he is constantly getting dumped and cheated on, and he is forever being really noble and unhappy and jaw-clenchy about it. I'm running a tally in my head, and I have thought of one, two, three, FOUR movies in which James Marsden plays Discard Guy. And, seriously, the guy has not been in all that many movies. So every time I see James Marsden in a part where he's cheerful, it completely slays me. We watched Hairspray last night, and I'm not kidding, every time James Marsden came on the screen I immediately fell apart laughing. He wasn't even doing anything! He was just grinning and dancing! Dancing and grinning, grinning and dancing and that's all he was doing! And I was laughing so hard I was crying, just because his FACE is SO FUNNY.

My main point, actually, is really nothing to do with my lovely friends, or X-Men, or my typewriter (a pale substitute (though helpful) for my true love, my dear portable blue Smith-Corona that used to live in someone's office until I saw it and asked for it, heart in mouth, and the people whose office it was went all around asking other office people if I could have that typewriter with the broken carrier case, and everyone we asked was all, That? She wants that? I say let her have it, get it out of our hair, which I fear did terrible things to my poor Smith-Corona's self-esteem and may be the reason that it sometimes inserts spaces where I have asked for none), or Hugh Jackman and my possible sexual dysfunction, or James Marsden and his hilarious face, the very idea of which is cracking me up as I type (no, really. There are tears of laughter in my eyes right now). My main point here is that I am really, really tired. I have not gone to bed before midnight any night since school got out, and I get up every day quite early in order to get to work by seven-thirty. And that's all very well for those insane people who function on three hours of sleep a night, but I myself require at least eight and probably nine or else I will feel really sleepy and run up a tremendous sleep debt.

And so at work today my eyelids kept falling shut. Like to the point where I had to pry them open with pliers and pin them to my eyebrows, due to all this tiredness that was going on. Even though I did things to make my day interesting like I sang little songs inside my head and I played my little game where everything in the world except our building gets destroyed and I am in charge of handling things to help repopulate the planet,* even though I did these things, I say, I was still completely impossibly exhausted.

Luckily, Kayla who I work with is a genius, and yesterday or the day before she came into our office to do her genius thing, which was to swipe some of the Christmas gift chocolate that has been lying around the office and put it in her coffee to melt, and then drink the coffee.

Okay, just think about that. Chocolate. Melting. In coffee. That is TOTAL GENIUS.

(I realize this is not a wholly original idea, as there are chocolate coffee drinks out there in the world, but you have to go and find them and pay for them, whereas Kayla's Brilliant Method is free.)

Today I refined this genius plan a tiny bit in order to make it suit my own needs; instead of using milk chocolate as she did, I used dark chocolate in my coffee and then drank the coffee. Now this is clever for several reasons. In the first place, dark chocolate lowers your blood pressure and prevents cancer, so it is always good to consume it. In the second place, dark chocolate is bitter but delicious, whereas coffee (which has more caffeine than dark chocolate and is consequently more effective at waking you up) is bitter and not very delicious; so the delicious bitterness of dark chocolate COMPLETELY MASKS the non-delicious bitterness of the coffee flavor.

That means that I can improve my health AND wake myself up AND give joy to my tastebuds ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Because of clever Kayla and her genius plan (but a little bit because of my native resourcefulness and adaptability).

I will say briefly, before letting you carry on to the footnote, that this has been one of the most parenthetical blog posts I have ever written. And that is saying a lot because me, I am a huge, huge, HUGE fan (you may have noticed) of parenthetical asides. I blame it all on tim and Steve, both parenthesis addicts who encouraged and enabled me (especially tim), and if either one of them ever tries to contest this, I have emails to prove it.

*I like playing this game inside my head when I am doing things that don't require my full attention, and I have felt really validated about it ever since I read that issue of The Sandman where a guy has more or less the same game (though his version is a hair less controlling - oh dear, I fear this says something quite, quite dreadful about me). Neil Gaiman validates me so much. Like when Fat Charlie sings at work without noticing because he forgets not to (incidentally, there have been three (3) other validations of my singing out loud without noticing, for a total of four (4) validations, a number that points to a fairly broad phenomenon rather than an isolated neurosis on my part: The Charioteer (hurrah!), Die for Love (also hurrah!), and About a Boy (hurrah again but not as much and no exclamation point)).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Forever Amber, that timeless classic of literature

Apparently this book got edited down to one-fifth of its original length, for which I can only say praise God (though it must be thrilling for Forever Amber scholars to get their hands on the original manuscript, if it still exists). I cannot imagine how she could have gotten four times that much again into the silly book. Amber gets married FOUR TIMES over the course of the book and has lots of silly affairs and moans a lot about how her true love Bruce Carlton thinks she's too trashy for him which is a bit rich I think considering that he's sleeping around as much as she is and repeatedly shows himself incapable of resisting her trashy charms. However, I would not marry her either because a) I would not want to catch a nasty disease; and b) she is damn annoying and although he keeps assuring her he will never, never, never marry her, she still keeps bursting into tears and smacking him in the face every time the subject comes up.

In case this all sounds like I didn't enjoy Forever Amber, let me just assure you, that is completely not the case. I read it on Saturday from start to finish, with a short break in between to read Purple Hibiscus (better quality novel but sad) and frequent pauses to update my family on Amber's latest doings, and it was most absorbing. My family members kept asking me what she was up to if I didn't let them know with a promptness, and towards the end my sister Bonnie and I were sitting on one of the couches reading the last few pages over each other's shoulders (starting with the naked dress, the details of which I was not explaining to Bonnie with adequate eloquence, and going on until she sails off at the end).

Just to give you an idea of how this book goes, I was explaining to my cousin and my mother how Amber had run away from her tedious rural life with her true love Bruce Carlton and how she had gotten pregnant and married (not to her true love) and dumped in the debtor's prison and placed under the protection of Black Jack the Highwayman who made her help with his heists and was never very much use at paying off her debts, and my cousin said, "That can't all have happened! You're not even a quarter of the way through the book!"

I was, but it did.

Apparently this was written by an American (or Canadian?) lady during World War II, and apparently it got banned in several states and the Catholic Church had some severe things to say about it; and because it is an old and classic and genre-creating historical romance, and because actually it is not badly written (the descriptions of Amber's clothes are yummy), I feel justified in assuring myself that I am not in fact a trashy-romance-novel-reader, but an Ardent Lover of the Classics.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So.

I guess movie musicals are back. Officially. Moulin Rouge opened a whole can of worms and Chicago clinched it. Don't mind my mixed metaphors.

Huh.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So you might have thought that the link I posted a while ago, to Anansi Boys on BBC4, was some particular and specific one-time event that I knew about due to my deep and abiding love for Neil Gaiman. That I knew it was there because I love Neil Gaiman and I keep track of his doings. Actually not the case. Actually I was totally surprised to find it there.

I am addicted - like, seriously, you have no idea how addicted - to BBC4 radio plays. If I could inject them into my veins I would do it, that is how much I need my BBC4 radio plays fix. Every day I go to the BBC4 radio plays page and I scope out the plays that have been going on. In my Anansi Boys post, I was acting all blasé about it like, Oh, hey, this Anansi Boys adaptation has just reminded me about a largely forgotten-by-me medium, which has a sort of old-fashioned charm that I don't really think about much on a day-to-day basis.

Such a lie. I need my BBC4 radio plays. I've been lying to everyone and I've been lying to myself, assuring myself that it's all part of my useful project to become good at placing British accents*, and I just can't keep it inside anymore. The first step is admitting your addiction**, so here I go.

The truth is that BBC4 radio plays are not part of my project to become good at placing British accents, although they are helpful in that regard, when I can discover where the actors are from which isn't always. The truth is that I am addicted to BBC4 radio plays.

I will give you an example, since I'm guessing you didn't listen to Anansi Boys although you should have because Neil Gaiman is a genius and I believe I recall him saying that radio plays are his preferred medium and Anansi Boys is done most gorgeously by Lenny Henry reading Fat Charlie and Spider. For the past six weeks (I just found out because, fool! fool! fool!, I never checked the "Classic Serial" section which yes, I hate myself for), they have been serializing a radio play of Dr. Zhivago and I have been missing out on it, damn it. With Ian McDarmid. (Emperor Palpatine.) See, if I had been a vigilant radio play junkie, this serious crisis could have been averted. Meanwhile they have been doing a serial radio play of Dr. Zhivago. Serially. On the radio. And we all could have been listening to it. I only know about it at all because the Saturday play this past week, Beast at Bay, was all about Boris Pasternak and the publication of Dr. Zhivago, and the announcer guy was all, To go along with our Classic Serial of Dr Zhivago, and I was really sad about it. Although Beast at Bay, it was le awesome.

As I recall this all started when Laura (happy belated birthday, Laura!) was complaining about some people near us who were going on and on about English accents in a really annoying way, and she said, "Oh my GOD. Listen to the BBC and GET OVER IT." And I was like, Yes! You're a genius! The BBC! Which is how I got put on to this radio play business that now controls my life.

BBC Radio 4 - Radio Plays

Yeah. Go on. Try it. First one's free.

*I have a project underway that will help me become good at placing British accents. Every time I see a British actor on TV or in films I promptly look them up to discover where they are from (or where they were raised). I am already not terrible at it - obviously I was in England for a year, so I can more or less place accents to north, east, and midlands, with a reasonable degree of success. Bonnie says this can never work because people do fake accents sometimes for movies and also because a lot of people ditch their home accents and become properly well-spoken and posh when they go to swanky schools. But I am not stupid, and obviously if I hear someone with a posh accent and look them up and discover they are from Liverpool or someplace, then I will be well aware that they are just speaking Standard The Queen's English and not English with a Liverpool overlay.
**I mean, of course, the first step to getting everyone else addicted.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

No, actually procrastinating is helpful

Helpful. And now I have proof. Procrastination has saved me from complete absurdity.

Today I was supposed to be writing my paper on The Charioteer, which since you inquire is into its sixth page now and if I could just convince myself that writing it quickly would be better, just like pulling off a Band-Aid really fast is better, then it would be done probably in as short a time as it will take to write this blog post. Anyway, I was avoiding reading that, and to cheer myself up (from the dreadful depression attendant upon writing a paper that you know is easy to write but just can't get motivated to do) I decided to read my blog post about riding a camel. Because that was so much fun. Riding the camel. I am filled with total glee each time I recall it.

Anyway, towards the end of that post, I mentioned that I had bought a present for my sister Bonnie at the RenFest, which I totally did not remember doing. I sat there staring at it for like ten minutes trying to remember what I could possibly have bought Bonnie at the RenFest. I remembered Anna's gift for Grace, and I remembered Anna's brand new beautiful cudgel, but I could not shake the feeling that I had left the RenFest without buying one single thing. Luckily Anna remembered...

So right! I already had a present for Bonnie! I don't know why I was so dead set on the idea that I had to get a Christmas present for Bonnie when I already have one! Actually now I have three, because I bought one extra thing (as I had always intended), and I suppose what happened was that I forgot about the RenFest present and only remembered I wanted to get a couple of things for Bonnie, so I got still another thing! Like a big dummy! And if I hadn't reread my blog post, then I would not have remembered Bonnie's first present, and probably I would have completely forgotten about it until Christmas was over and college was over and I was cleaning out my dorm room and I found it hidden way in the back of somewhere and was like, Well shit. I forgot about this.

In other news, I enjoy buying people books for Christmas because then they can't not read them without hurting my feelings. It's very easy to tell people, You really must read this book, but unless you give it to them properly, as a gift, they might very easily forget to read the book you've told them to read. When all along you know they would love it! Yay for Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Something for me to remember

Much as I may like some book, it is never a good idea for me to write a paper about it. It is much, much harder to writer papers about things I adore than things I don't care much about. This is because if it's something I love, I want to Do Justice to it, you know, explore the speculative themes (what was I on about?) to their fullest extent and convey briefly not only my fondness for it but also its extreme and perfect brilliance. However, under time constraints and in stressful circumstances as now, it is exceedingly difficult to do this. Which basically means I end up procrastinating for a really long time trying to think of what I can say that will be sufficiently brilliant for the book about which I am writing.

Bad idea. Very bad idea. Must stick to things that aren't very good but aren't loathsome, like Member of the Wedding and Oscar Wilde's sonnets. Then when I pull the entire thing out of my ass and leave out bits that don't support my thesis (oh my God, I could never ever be an academic), I won't feel guilty.

In other news, I am writing a paper on The Charioteer. Pooh.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My views on the Prince Caspian movie

So okay. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was sort of a letdown in some ways to me. Mr. Tumnus was cute, because James McAvoy is always cute. (P.S. How crushed was I when they got back to Narnia in Prince Caspian and no more Mr. Tumnus? Stupid C.S. Lewis. Stupid hundreds of years.) But by and large I was sort of sad about that movie because it added weird stuff for no reason like that bizarre subplot with Susan being a boring tedious bore. Why? Why? Why does everyone have to hate on Susan? So she wears stockings and lipstick later! Big damn deal! Sheesh.

Anyway, another thing that annoyed me was how a bunch of Christians were all, Look how well this movie did! Garnered so much money! And yet no Oscar nominations! Hollywood hates Christians! Q.E.D.!

That is ridiculous, and I will explain why. The movie didn't get any Oscar nods because it was not that good, and although this rule does not always hold true, sometimes when movies aren't that good, the Academy does not nominate them for awards. Titanic being a notable and horrific exception, and I hope that the Academy wakes up at night and is like, OMG WHAT DID WE DO?

Also, while I'm sure that the movie did well partly because of the Christian themes, another biggish factor in its success was that everyone and their mother has read those (very excellent) books and wanted to see the films. Big-budget fantasy action films made of beloved children's books tend to do well. As a trend. Not necessarily indicative of the Triumph of Christianity in America. I feel.

Now that that's out of my system, I'm getting a little excited about the Prince Caspian movie (trailer here), not least because damn, Prince Caspian is kiiiinda sexy. Which I already knew because he was in Stardust, but still, nice to see him out and about Narnia doing his princey thing, having a weird accent that makes sense I guess but still weirds me out.

In addition, I love that they got Liam Neeson to be the voice of Aslan. I am all about that. Basically they're saying that Liam Neeson is God. You know, he just is God, is what they're saying. And that's fine, I'm completely fine with that. I love Liam Neeson, though in a strictly platonic sense unlike some people who have been known to refer to him as a hunka hunka burning love, and I would vote for him to be the voice of God if I were in charge of the voting. And Wikipedia says that he played Jesus once, and also he's Irish-Catholic and raising his kids Catholic. So yay for him.

On an unrelated note, although I can see where they might be loath to make The Magician's Nephew because it's not incredibly action-packed, I really hope they do make it, because I would be all about seeing on film that scene where Jadis goes all nuts on the streets of Edwardian London. That was too awesome and besides, it got the cabby to Narnia, and the cabby and his wife were called Frank and Helen, which were my grandparents' names, so basically my grandparents were the first king and queen of Narnia. I'm just saying.

Oh my God! Epiphany! Bill Nighy! Bill Nighy is Uncle Andrew! Oh, casting people, listen to me for once in your lives and cast Bill Nighy! For Uncle Andrew! Oh he would be so perfect! Bill Nighy was born to play the part of Uncle Andrew!

Okay, I'm just too brilliant. I have to end this post and contemplate my genius for a while.

Monday, December 3, 2007

OH MY GOD THE CHOSEN

The Chosen, The Chosen! Oh, the lovely lovely Chosen!

Basically I've been out hunting for new books for a while, and it turns out that with Christmas drawing nearer (we decorated our tree!) and exams stressing me out, all I yearn for is familiarity, so I went home and cleared out my bookshelves and brought back a whole bunch of familiar friendly books which divide cleanly into really good books and nostalgia:

Nostalgia:

Among Friends
Lost Boys
Thursday's Child

Good things:

An Old-Fashioned Girl (this one's borderline; I guess they don't divide all that cleanly)
The Moonstone (ditto)
all of the Harriet Vane & Peter Wimsey books except Busman's Honeymoon which I don't like
Catch-22
Rebecca
The Juniper Game
(this book didn't receive nearly enough attention, and it was excellent)
I Capture the Castle
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower
and Little Plum
Jack and Jill
The Color Purple

The Chosen

Anyway, by random accident I grabbed The Chosen when I went to brush my teeth last night, and I was brushing my teeth and doing my contact lenses and reading it, all this being preparatory to the shower-taking and the hair-washing (which has to happen without any books, sadly), and I think I would have been okay if I had read it more slowly, but I didn't, and I got to the bit where Danny shows up in the hospital, and then I was like, Oh, hey, I'll just keep reading until Reuven quits being a jerk to him, and then Danny was just so interesting that I couldn't stop. And I couldn't take a shower. I couldn't bring myself to get in the bookless shower. I just sat on the floor next to the tub in my pajamas and read and read and read The Chosen.

It is just that good. In fact, one of my friends who loves to read has not read The Chosen (she just told me), and I am just about as jealous as I would be if I knew someone who loved to read and had not read To Kill a Mockingbird and thus had the experience of reading it for the first time in the future, rather than the past.

If you have not read The Chosen, read The Chosen. It is as close to perfect as a book can be. It's elegant. Which isn't a compliment I throw around casually.

P.S. I went back and looked at emails I wrote to tim when we were fourteen and reading it for the first time, and apparently I was of the opinion, and God knows I quote, that the speculative themes of the novel were far too - oh, what is the word? - well, too subtle for most people of our age and they should hold off doing The Chosen until junior year.

What an appalling adolescent I was. Thank God all intellectual snobbery is behind me now.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Script of the past few evenings, as the clock ticks closer to final exams and paper deadlines

JENNY calls ROBYN.

JENNY: So, ya know, if you want to come over and watch The Office later, that's fine. Just whenever.

ROBYN: Oh sure! When's good for you?

JENNY: Whenever!

(Studied pause.)

ROBYN: Are you busy right now?

JENNY: Nope! Come over!

Five minutes later, in Jenny's bedroom.

JENNY and ROBYN watch an episode of The Office. Then another. Then another. Around 9:30, when JENNY for one would normally be thinking about washing her hair and brushing her teeth in order to begin the whole night-time process, the third or fourth consecutive episode comes to a close.

(Pause. ROBYN knits. JENNY doodles on the paper she has set on her lap in order to help her pretend she is working on a paper while watching The Office.)

ROBYN: I should probably get back.

JENNY: Yup.

(Pause. JENNY and ROBYN turn their heads to look at each other. They cannot restrain their GIGGLING.)

JENNY: Maybe one more.

ROBYN: That way we can end on an even number.

JENNY: Nobody wants to end on an odd-numbered episode. Bad luck.

ROBYN: What can we do? Our hands are tied!

(JENNY puts on another episode. They watch it. It ends. Repeat ritual of head-turning and giggling.)

ROBYN: We could just watch one more.

JENNY: Because Jim and Pam weren't happy. At the end of the this one. On account of him saying that mean thing to her.

ROBYN: Aw, come on! He's sad!

JENNY: No, no, I LOVE Jim. I was just saying.

ROBYN: His heart is broken!

JENNY: No, I love him! I do! It was only a little mean.

ROBYN: He has a funny face.

JENNY: We'll just watch one more. Then we'll go to bed. Just so Jim and Pam won't be in a fight. We actually have to. Our hands are tied.

ROBYN: Yeah. Just one more.

(Ten hours later, ROBYN goes home and JENNY and ROBYN go to sleep.)

ADVENT CALENDAR TIME!

Yummy heart-shaped chocolate. Also: "It all started in the Holy Land about 2000 years ago."

Tipped off by tingling fingers

So just now I washed my hands with facial cleanser and I didn't notice while I was in the bathroom at all, and I only noticed ever because I got back to my desk and found my fingers tingling like anything. Tingle, tingle, tingle. Heeheeehee. Actually I think that would feel rather unpleasant on your face, like that time that Anna and Robyn were playing a makeup game and they covered Robyn's face in toothpaste and she discovered shortly that it was really really really unpleasant to have toothpaste all over your face.

(That was last week.)

(Just kidding.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Semi-annual conversation between myself and my conscience

Me: This damn professor! I've just been so fed up with this professor for so long! I am so glad that it is time for evaluations! I have been longing to say all these things about this professor, and now at last I can do it!

Conscience: Sure! Yeah! Go for it! Honesty. Just remember, what you say can have a grave and serious impact.

Me: Uh-huh. Yup. Got it.

Conscience: Can get them fired. I'm just saying.

Me: Oh yeah. Huh.

Conscience: Imagine this for just a second. You write this evaluation, completely skewering the professor, and it's satisfying for you, and you go home and forget about it. Meanwhile, your professor has this evaluation permanently on his/her record. S/he gets fired.

Me: Cut it out with the pronouns. In this case it's a he.

Conscience: Sure. You're the boss. He. So he goes home, probably walking because he can't afford to pay for a hansom cab.

Me: What the hell century are you in?

Conscience: Car! I meant car. Can't afford a car. He goes home, holes in his trousers, to his family of nine, who are all languishing away in a tiny hovel, huddled around the fire to keep warm, singing songs to cheer the lonely hours as they wait for their beloved father to return. He has to break the news to them. No more money. Tiny Tim won't be able to have the surgery he needs to fix his injured little legs. They won't even have money for firewood. I mean, um, for utilities payments. Doesn't this very realistic scenario bother you at all? ARE YOU MADE OF STONE?

Other bit of conscience: So you're saying she should sacrifice her convictions because it might have negative consequences on this guy?

Me: Yeah! Yeah! Convictions! I have my principles, you know!

Conscience: Oh, sure. Sacrifice the nine hungry children to your principles. Will that make you happy, to know that you can feel good about yourself and your principles, while those kids starve to death?

Me: Well, I--

Conscience: I'm just saying.

Me: Hey, um, other bit of conscience, back me up.

Other bit of conscience: .....

Me: Ummm. Other bit of conscience?

*crickets*

Me, desperately: Principles, I say!

Conscience: Well, of course you must do as you see fit. I can't do anything to prevent you. Just whatever you decide. On you go.

Me, crushed and defeated: I hate you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The writers (who I support)

Much as I really want the writers to return and sort everything out, I totally support them. And I just wanted to say that. Because it's disgraceful the writers aren't getting different cuts of DVD sales than they got when VHS and Beta was new and expensive to produce, especially because everyone watches DVDs now. And writers need more. And it is also very shocking that the Wicked Companies™ are running web episodes and showing ads, which they are then getting revenue for every time somebody watches the episodes online (which people do extremely frequently) and not giving the writers any money whatsoever. I'm not even sure if the writers get a cut of the episodes that are sold on iTunes and Amazon, though they very plainly should.

And that is my two cents. The movie and TV people are assholes. I am not pleased with them. Only with Steve Carell et al.

Countdown to my Advent calendar!

Today I got given an Advent calendar by my lovely aunt and uncle. Um, how much do I love Advent calendars? SO MUCH.

Example: Last year (most depressing Christmas ever because I was away from my family whom I love), as December drew nigh, my mother very unexpectedly mailed me an Advent calendar! In the mail! Allllllll the way to England! And it arrived in a week when I had four papers due. That's one, two, three, four, in order to meet the departmental deadline because of the totally vile idea that all papers in the English department should be due on the same day. (Cf. Satan works in unmysterious ways.) But when I got it, although I still had four papers due after I received it, I was completely and utterly (if briefly) cheered up! And every day that I got to open up a little door, every day that happened, it was an exciting day.

Well, so it's already thrilling to open Advent calendars anyway. Because you have to hunt for the little flap with that day's number on it, and then you open it up and inside is a little picture and a wee seasonal Bible verse. And every day you get to repeat the whole process. !!!

But this Advent calendar, this particular one that I have right now, it has chocolate inside. Inside the flaps. Not kidding. You open the little doors, and behind them are Bible verses PLUS CHOCOLATE.

*squeal of girlish delight*

I wish it were December already. Four more days!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Reflection upon rereading Little Women

Jo should have married Laurie. Jo. Not Amy. That is my official decision. Or else stayed single. Professor Bhaer is absurd and refers to himself as "Monsieur de Trop". Sorry, guy, we can't be friends.

Actually I just looked on the internet and apparently Louisa May Alcott said she "wouldn't marry Jo to Laurie to please anybody". And okay. Fair enough (though I still think they would have suited rather well once Laurie grew up a little bit). But ugh, really? To Amy? So that she can call him "my lord" and buy art and make smug little jokes about Jo's romantic life?

P.S. Rereading this book as a grownup, I have to say Amy strikes me as the type of person who would have wildly kinky sex habits. Don't you think?

P.P.S. "And Amy, who was very dignified in public and very fond in private, gave convincing proof of the truth of her words." Tee-hee. Blow job. Then probably on to whips and chains.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Princess Leia is no good AT ALL, or, My father's driving need to tuck people in

My father likes tucking people in very thoroughly. Sometimes if anyone in my family is sick or sad and my father notices that she is sitting on the couch or on a chair with a blanket, he will come over and pull the blanket all the way up to her chin and then tuck it in carefully around all the edges. Preferably tucking the blanket into the sides of the chair, so the ailing one can't just wiggle free. He does this and then stands back to admire his handiwork, and if it looks like something that Houdini might be able to squirm out of, he quickly swoops back in for another round of tucking. To make sure the ailing one is the max-amount comforted.

Anyway, we were watching Star Wars last night, me and my father and Robyn, and you know right after Obi-Wan Kenobi dies and Luke is all sitting at the table in the Millennium Falcon looking pathetic and dejected? And Leia comes to sit by him to comfort him?

Well, I don't know if you remember, but part of her comforting process is to put a blanket around him. If you can call what she does putting a blanket around him, because honestly, I don't think it even deserves to be called that. I know how blankets are supposed to be put around people, from long experience, and Leia doesn't even come close to following the international standard blanket-wrapping procedure. She sort of puts it on his shoulders. Like that's going to help him in his hour of grief.

You know, I don't want to say she doesn't care about him, but let's look at the facts: He's grieving, and she's employing the tested and tried technique of blanket therapy (fair enough), but when there's an emergency, he leaps right up totally unrestricted and scrambles rapidly down to the gun area to shoot Empire fighter planes. If she really loved him, he'd have had to struggle for much longer and flop all over the ship like a dying fish and eventually cut himself loose with his lightsaber. Frankly, the signs indicate to me that she's telling him to GET OVER IT ALREADY, rather than demonstrating compassion. And I think that's hard-hearted. And that's why Princess Leia is no good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The little song I'm singing

It's the same tune as when those Little Rascals kids are singing "I got a dollah, I got a dollah, I got a dollah, hey, hey, hey, hey!", and it goes like this:

I got myself a present
I got myself a present
I got myself a present
which I totally deserve

And every word is true.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ever so inspirational

Oh, I get all chills watching this. Watch this, everyone; it's the fall of evil in America. It's like -- it's like, you know when Harry's at the ministry in the fifth book, and everything's so awful and miserable and hopeless, and then Dumbledore shows up at the Ministry to have his big duel with Voldemort? And you know how Voldemort's all screamy and snarly and Dumbledore's being all classy and gentlemanly and making Voldemort look like an even bigger jerk? It's like that. Or, I don't know, it's like when River takes on the reavers. But not really. Really more like Dumbledore. Or V in the film in that excellent scene at the end. My point is, one of those completely satisfying good-triumphs-over-evil moments that you rarely get to see in books or movies, let alone life. But here is one.

At long last, sir, have you left no sense of decency?

Mm. Lovely.

Also, as long as I'm linking to things, here is the BBC radio adaptation of Anansi Boys, with Spider and Fat Charlie voiced most beautifully by Lenny Henry and a very irritating Graham Coates by someone with a very irritating upper-class voice. It's only an hour long, so a lot of things have been condensed, but still I enjoyed it much. Radio is a good medium for Neil Gaiman, I always feel. We should bring back radio plays cause they are so grand.

It begins with a song.

Wish me luck on the GRE tomorrow!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

You know what I really don't like?

When people talk amazingly slowly and pause a lot while conveying important information. Or any information. That's why I could never be a really good story-teller. I am too anxious to get to the important points. I am no good at handling suspense, and when people are conveying information to me, I would really rather they just cut the crap and the pausing and tell me what they're trying to tell me.

There is this one guy in one of my classes, and I swear to God, every time it looks like we're going to get out of class a minute or two early (which is a godsend to me, even two fewer minutes of class, because I have nine hours of class on Tuesdays), he asks the longest questions ever, and they should really be very short questions, like: When is the next assignment due? or How much would that event you have just been telling us about cost? But instead of asking questions like a normal person, he feels the need to explain in great detail why he is asking the question, and to tell us everything in his life that even remotely relates to the question. Like, "I'm only asking when it's due because I have, um. Because I have. Well, basically, I have three jobs. You know, one's a real job, and the other two are volunteer things, but I have obligations to them too. You know, just however much I um. However much. I want to work. And depending what they need me for. So you know, I have to get everything together and make sure it's going to work with my schedule. So what I was wondering is, what day is the last day we can turn in the um. Well, basically what I want to know is..."

And on and on and on. Every time you think the end is near, he starts a new clause, and it makes me so insane, and every time he starts talking, I try to quickly figure out what he's saying and ask the question quickly myself, using a graceful segue and taking advantage of his pauses. Like I will say, "God, yeah, it sometimes seems impossible to get everything done on time, huh?" and while he's thinking about that, I add, "I was actually wondering the same thing -- what's the last day we can turn in that assignment?" But quite often he just takes this as encouragement and continues talking. Slowly. With pauses.

LIFE IS SHORT. TALK FAST.

Friday, November 16, 2007

P.S.

I wanted to put this at the end of my last post, but I thought it would undercut the drama. The after-party to all the chandelier dropping, I was going to say, involves everyone at Microsoft weeping and tearing their hair, while I stick out my tongue at the twisted wreckage and skip off insouciantly. For the future let those who come to play with me have no obnoxious fucking quirks.

(Little Oscar Wilde reference there for all you dwarf-and-Infanta fans.)

A mystery solved. And WAR.

So I didn't write about this before because it was too frightening and inexplicable. Happily matters have now resolved themselves, so now it is less a matter of fearing that the computers are about to take over our brains and more a matter of continuing to loathe Microsoft Office 2007. I always did loathe it, now more than ever. Unacceptable program. I have been using that other version since I was a wee little tot barely tall enough to reach the keyboard (that is hyperbole, but not completely absurd hyperbole; I've definitely been using the old Microsoft Word since I was too young to go to shops all by myself, so that's a long damn time).

Well, thusly runs the tale. A few weeks ago at work, I was working on a particular project in Microsoft Word, and the project went in installments, and at the end of each installment I wrote myself a little note to remind myself to contact a certain person (which person it was varied each time). Now, it so happened that there were two in a row that required me to contact the same person. I wrote the note to myself for the second time; then the phone rang, so I took my hands off the keyboard, scooted my chair back from the desk, and answered the phone. As I scooted (I keep trying to write "scotted", dammit) the chair back to the desk, my hands still in my lap and nowhere near the keyboard at all, the second note suddenly became massive and bold and frightening and center-justified.

One second it was Send to: President Kennedy (but not that really, because President Kennedy got shot and would probably not receive anything I sent to him), and the next second it was suddenly SEND TO: PRESIDENT KENNEDY in big bold letters. Emphasized by some agent other than myself.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Okay, in and of itself, that's not a really terrifying incident, but you know, when you think about it, it kinda is. Does my computer read the words I write and think about them and come to conclusions? Does it have some stake in reminding me to send to President Kennedy? And if so, what could it be? I don't want to send anything to President Kennedy if it's going to serve some wicked and devious end of which I am pardonably ignorant. I don't want to get mixed up in some bizarre and twisted I&D that will ultimately lead to the destruction of life as we know it! Mine will not be the finger that pulls the trigger all unknowing!

Or such were my thoughts at the time. And I didn't send the thing to President Kennedy. But it has haunted me since then.

Anyway, today the mystery was solved (thank God). Apparently, in the new, frightening Microsoft Word 2007, there is a stupid tab called Styles, and when you put your mouse over one of the styles, it changes the style of whatever the last thing you typed was. So I must have just bumped the desk with my chair and made the mouse hover over that tab and change the way my words looked.

Phew.

Upon reflection, I view this as a hostile act by Microsoft Office 2007, of whom I asked nothing but noninterference, and I tell you what, Vile Program, I say unto you only this: So it is to be war between us. If my demands are not met, A DISASTER BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION WILL OCCUR.

*drops chandelier*

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thus spake the dermatologist

Today my dermatologist, who is totally my favorite doctor of all because she is nice and helpful and also explained one time after I had my head operated on that I was not being an insane aggravating pansy person but simply having a postoperative vasovagal reaction, which completely helped calm me down because I am the kind of person who really needs to have names for things, today she said that we didn't need to get rid of James Marsden and if we just carried on watching him passively, he would dispose of his own self. Nobly. As he always does. And also (yay!) the epsom salts are unnecessary. My day is brighter than I was expecting it to be at this point.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I rode a CAMEL.

I did. It's true.

I rode a camel. A CAMEL. At the Renaissance Festival today.

This is one of those things that it turns out I feel very, very strongly about, without ever knowing that I did until I was right there in the moment. Like the other day I was doing the thing I do to find new books to read, which is (don't read this if you have any respect for me) to go onto universities' websites and find their English department and look at all the syllabuses for their courses, which yields a very, very, very long list of books I want to read. Anyway, I was doing that the other day and I came upon a course about turbulent literary marriages: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, T.S. Eliot and his wife, and Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. And it referred to them as the Fitzgeralds, the Eliots, and the Hugheses. Which apparently I feel really strongly about, and I became extremely furious, because shut up, English Department at UChicago or somewhere, she was her own damn person with her own last name! Who knew that I cared so much?

Well, similarly, as soon as I saw the sign for camel rides, it became clear to me that I am an ardent fan of camels and riding upon them, and I hardly swerved to look at all the cool things we walked past in the fair, like the writing supplies and the cool leather things and the hats and the food, and I made for the camels like a, like a, like a one-track-minded-camel-seeker, because CAMEL CAMEL CAMEL CAMEL CAMEL CAMEL.

And you know, camels are wicked cool once you see them, and it is so much fun to ride upon them. Though obviously it would be better if I were the master of my own camel and could control where it went to on my own, but still, wow, how much did I enjoy riding that camel? So much. I wish that camels could be my primary mode of transportation. I have actually indulged in a lengthy fantasy about this on the ride home from the RenFest, having my very own camel and I would sing it pleasant songs and build a little stable for it, and I would ride my camel all around campus and tie it up to the bike rack during my classes, and I'd be, like, the camel chick.

I miss the camels.

In other aspects, the festival was very cool too. We saw a nice puppet show (not Punch and Judy, to our extreme chagrin) and we went on a whirly ride and I RODE A CAMEL and Anna slew a dragon and we looked at all the little shops and Anna got a new cudgel, God help us, and contemplated buying a very cool thing for her hair, and I got a Christmas present for Bonnie but I'm not telling what it is, and Anna got a present for Grace but I'm not telling what that is either, and a good time was had by all. I'm totally in love with Renaissance festivals now. There was a camel. I'm not even kidding. I rode on a camel.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Not sure I shouldn't be sterilized for my own good

I just tried to put on a shirt with the hanger still inside it. Er. Yes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This is like that time I remembered Prussia.

Prussia!

Kind of like that, I just got the word "litotes" on freerice, and I can't bring myself to move on.

(I just read that old blog post and God fucking damn it, Lupin did die. I hate myself. I killed him. I'm a murderess. I was so happy when he came over and was all insane with happiness because the baby had been born and then, GOD DAMN EVERYONE, he died.)

Anyway, back to litotes. I was just thinking about litotes today because I was writing a paper for Queer Theory and I wrote "not infrequent", and then I paused and thought about litotes, my absolute favorite figure of speech that I learned from Latin class. Seriously, where do other people learn about litotes and shit? I don't think I ever learned about litotes in any other class. Well, I love litotes. Cicero used them to grand effect. Biting sarcasm. Cicero was very cool because that speech was largely extemporized because he didn't know Cataline was going to be there that day, and man, Cicero took him to pieces. Using litotes and a variety of either charming figures of speech including asyndeton and synechdoche and the ever-popular praeteritio.

Good old litotes. It's so nice to have litotes on freerice that I can't bring myself to answer it and carry on. It'll be so irrevocable.

Litotes! Litotes! Litotes! Today can be the Official Litotes Celebration Day! 7 November! This is good because I always feel like 7 November is a holiday. 7 November rolls around and I think, Hey, it's funny how we have two holidays so close together, the fifth of November and now; but actually November 7 isn't anything.

Oh no! It is! My half-birthday! OH YEAH! That's what that is! My half-birthday! And now Official Litotes Celebration Day!

Makes me feel smart AND virtuous

www.freerice.com

Basically, they give you a word and you have four choices for what it means; and every word you get right they donate 10 grains of rice to The Hungry. This is genius because in order to feel you have made a significantish contribution you have to play for sort of a long time. Because 1 kg is about 38,000 grains of rice; so yesterday I played until I had donated 4000 grains, and if I do that for like a week and a half, then I will have been very helpful indeed. Also I am warding off Alzheimer's and improving my vocabulary, both excellent activities. Join me, comrades.

Monday, November 5, 2007

*hums Christmas carols even though it's only the beginning of November, and ducks the rotting fruits thrown at her by Bonnie*

I was sort of having a kankkarankka paiva (that's how it's spelled! Oh my God, it's even so much better now!) today, because I spent the whole day doing a thankless though necessary task and then I got home and realized that I had to read this amazingly long story for my short story writing class -- we were supposed to write 2000-2500 words and he wrote 4500! 4500!

(I just tried to put that in caps. $%))!)

But seriously. 4500 words? Really? UNREASONABLE FIEND.

And then my flatmates wanted to go to Wal-Mart and shop for our party, and I kinda needed this one thing there so I went too -- and bought apples! -- and I was feeling cranky about that too because I hate Wal-Mart so much. I stopped at my house to complain about how much I hate Wal-Mart, and my mother and sister pointed out that the Christmas decorations were coming out at Wal-Mart, so that would make me feel happy, and I sneered at them because a few lame wreaths and red bows were not going to fix my kankkarankka paiva IN THE SLIGHTEST. And BAH HUMBUG.

Er, but as with the Bama game, I was forced to eat my words. I must confess that I screamed and shrieked at the football and watched the entire thing; and I must also confess that as soon as I walked into Wal-Mart and saw the tall fake green Christmas tree with red bows and heard the little store music playing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", I felt way so much better and my kankkarankka paiva was cured at once. I had sort of a nostalgic flashback to my youth, when we would go to Wal-Mart (the old Wal-Mart, also termed by snobby people the ghetto Wal-Mart, but indeed it held many fond memories for me) and pick out wrapping paper and ribbons to do our Christmas presents in; and also when we would sing Christmas carols at Albertson's and people would give us money because we were so cute and angelic.

Plus then I got home from Wal-Mart, with some apples and a nice bottle of white wine for future kankkarankka paivas, and I found this on Overheard in the Office:

Bank assistant VP #1: It all comes, said Pooh, of not hiring the right people.
Bank assistant VP #2: Exactly... Wait, did you say 'said Pooh'?

9th Street
Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Actually not all that funny but every time I read it I laugh until I cry. I'm going to marry Bank assistant VP #1.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

......

I just signed up for a meal plan, and the guy at the office kept assuring me that after following the steps he advised I would be all set to use those bad boys (meaning my meals): "Just sign right there and we can get you using those bad boys today!" My chagrin, as you may imagine, was inexpressible.

Monday, October 29, 2007

So there, naysayers!

My agreed-by-all-to-be-completely-lovely flatmate thinks Indigo is a very cool name for my son.

HA.

Heaven, I'm in heaven

I'm getting tears of frantic desire just thinking about this. There is a Catholic (I'm Catholic!) university in New York City (actually in the city! they have campuses in Manhattan and Queens and Staten Island, ALL THREE of these places!) where, oh my God, where they pay your entire tuition to get a master's degree in library science as long as you agree to work for three years thereafter in some libraryish capacity with underserved populations, and while you are getting your degree you do volunteer things with programs that, like, help young mothers get better about reading to their children. I'm not even kidding! You help them. To read to their children. Perchance by finding really good books for them to read!

Seriously, every time I think about this, I start crying. As I am typing this there are tears falling out of my eyes. This is so exactly everything I want in the entire world. I want a degree in library science, and I want so, so, so much to live in the city for a while, and I want to Do Good, and especially I love more than anything to tell people what to read and have it be my specific responsibility to pick out things for people to read, and there is virtually nothing that I believe more strongly than that teaching a kid to love reading is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to him/her.

(Sidebar insight into my psyche: Officially I have no problem with using "they" as a gender-nonspecific singular pronoun, and I find it less lame than s/he or him/her, but I can never actually bring myself to do it, in practice.)

But to return to the point: It seems absurd and impossible that I should be able to do all of these things that I love simultaneously and only have to pay housing (which is a lot obviously if I am living in the city, but OH MY GOD). And the place is Catholic, and I am Catholic, so they obviously love me, and I could actually write a really good essay on What Catholicism Means To Me, if they wanted one, and I worked at Catholic Charities this past summer, with underserved populations! I could get my grad school paid for by promising to tell people what to read for three years after I was done! Three years! Of telling people what to read!

I just looked into it a little bit more, and apparently they also take you all around to all the New York libraries and museums. OH MY GOD. A two-year paid-for guided tour of the New York libraries and museums, in addition to everything else that is wonderful. Oh, I want this so much. God invented this program for me. They have to let me into this program.

If this is financially viable, I'm on it like white on rice.

P.S. I've always wanted to use that phrase but never had the opportunity. See what a good program this plainly is?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Almost trapped in the library

So I was at the library today with my sister, and there was some book I knew I wanted, because I could remember wanting it desperately, and in my mind there was a nice and friendly feeling about this book, but I had no idea what it was. Instead of trying to track it down, we decided to go into the children's section, which is full of friendly books, and find a replacement book for me to get instead of the one I forgot.

OH MY GOD.

The children's section of the library is crack cocaine to me. It sucked me in and it wouldn't let me leave. I kept trying to escape, but there were so many books, and I couldn't get out! I couldn't get out! There was no way to escape! All these books about exciting and interesting things, with plots that happen quickly and if you aren't enjoying it, oh well, it's a kid's book, it reads fast and it'll end soon. And I couldn't get out. Every time I started heading for the exit, I would remember some other author I wanted to check on, and then I would get distracted by other books on the way to find that author.

This is what I miss about going to the library now that I am a grown-up. There is not nearly so high a proportion of decently-written and entertaining grown-ups' books in the grown-ups' section. Why should that be? I never have this experience in the adult fiction section, where I simply cannot stop taking books off the shelves because they all just look so good. I have to hunt for books that don't look a) boring or b) trashy and stupid or c) pretentious. There is no snatching of books with reckless abandon and a vague certainty that at least half of the things you grab will be enjoyable. There is none of that! There can be none of that! Not in the adults' section!

I was telling Robyn that we're going to be old ladies in walkers still charging up and down the aisles of the children's section, knocking over toddlers and snatching Weeny Witch from their little hands. They're little, they'll cave instantly! We'll croak, "Sue Barton! Where are my Sue Barton books, eh? Hey, kid, did you ever read these Sue Barton books? Classic", and the little children will cry and run from us, and we'll be like the old crazy kids' section library ladies.

It's actually sad. I love to read more than almost anything in the world, but now that I am old it is not as exciting as it used to be. Because of the dearth of good writers for grown-ups. It is much more rare that I get a book from the shelves and I can't put it down because the plot is interesting. JESUS, what HAPPENS to grown-up writers? Why can't they write plots? What is so hard about writing plots? With action that happens? Interesting things that make you go, Huh, I wonder what's going to happen next? instead of always going, Huh, I wonder what clever metaphor or play on words is going to happen next? (And that is in a good case scenario, not even talking about the writers who are just not very good writers. I am looking at you, Salman Rushdie. You are a very brilliant writer, but plots? Maybe not totally your thing?)

Which is why I would like someone who knows what books are good to divide the library into Good Books and Crap. Is that so much to ask? Just take all the bad historical fiction and romance and pretentious crap and Tolkien knock-offs and throw them in one section, and leave the good books in another section, and then I can have this very same experience, but with grown-up books. The way God intended.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Something BIT me. On my FACE. While I was SLEEPING.

And now I have a massive welt on my face, even though I have run it under hot water twice to get rid of the histamines.

Dammit.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Some people called him shayachern-a-muffin

(Little trashy fantasy humor there for my two favorite sisters and Nezabeth if she ever heard that song we invented that time and sang it a lot really loudly at gas stations.)

Seriously, though, this whole Dumbledore being gay thing couldn't possibly make me happier, which I think is for several reasons, one being that oh my God, it's so true and thinking back on it, I can't believe I didn't think of that in the first place. I suppose because he was never awfully forthcoming about his personal life.

And another one is that now the Grindelwald story is a better story, because it's more poignant now, and I am all about poignancy. How sad. Poor Dumbledore, and then he had to go off and fight him and defeat him and send him to prison for the rest of his life. (I realize this was always the case, but now it's sadder.)

And another one is that she waited until now to tell everyone, so a bunch of Christian people are on record as saying that Dumbledore is a good role model, and HA HA HA, Christians, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT BACK. YOU LEFT A PAPER TRAIL. Silly fundamentalists; I would have told you to hold your praise until the series was over, if you'd asked me about it. Well, actually, because I think that people who hate Harry Potter for religious reasons are silly, I would probably have told you that you should go with your opinions, and parents couldn't wait until the books were all out to decide whether their children should read them, and really, the values that you saw were there no matter what happened in later books. But, y'know, if you'd gotten me drunk or something, or like made me vow to give my absolute honest opinion, then I would have told you to hold your praise until it was all, all, all over.

I wish she'd mentioned it in the books themselves, though I can see why she wouldn't. It wasn't germane until the seventh book, and if she'd mentioned it then, all anyone would have said about the seventh book would have been OH MY GOD DUMBLEDORE IS GAY and really, after working for seventeen years on the damn things, you can see how she would be disinclined to turn the finale into the Dumbledore Is Gay Show and would instead want people to focus on the actual plot about defeating Voldemort and Jenny being totally right about Snape. I can totally dig it.

In other news, nyah nyah to Plugged In Magazine, you cannot take it back now. I saw all that nice stuff you said about Dumbledore, and never once did you say one single word about Dumbledore-related hanky-panky, and now there is no way that you can go back and say that what you meant all along was that it was very alarming to have a gay man in charge of all these students teaching them Bad Values.

I especially love how people are saying she's doing it to sell more books. Right, yes. Because that's what the woman needs. More money. It's a very cunning publicity stunt to save her from financial ruin.

And finally, this pleases me because now everyone is saying (albeit for the wrong reasons) that they should've got Ian McKellan to play Dumbledore. Which I was always saying. Michael Gambon does not do Dumbledore justice in the slightest, because he fails to attain that combination of charming and kind and clever and witty and classy, and Ian McKellan would be perfect at it, and I know he would be perfect at it because he is so extremely excellent, and yes, okay, he was Gandalf already and maybe he doesn't want to be typecast, but TOO BAD, he would be the perfect Dumbledore. Which I have always said. From the very moment that I first saw Ian McKellan. And now lots and lots of people are telling the internet how much they agree with me.

(If only Michael Gambon were a hard-core religious nut who refused to play a gay character and then Ian McKellan could so step up for it. I will pray to God to make that happen.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

*cackles* How happy am I?

I have just gotten some news (from Laura, my favorite person ever) that just, wow, makes me happy on so very many levels.

I am not telling what it is here, because that would eliminate any chance I have of telling you in person, but let me just say that I expect to be having very serious discussions about the ramifications of this whole thing in my WGS class on Wednesday next. And I will probably be the only one as filled with glee as this.

It is such good news that I am getting up mad early tomorrow, depriving myself of sleep, in order that I may drive over to my house in the early morning, intercept the newspaper, and tell this news to my family first before they have the opportunity to read it in the newspaper. And I will also call my little sister in the morning and tell her not to go online or read a newspaper or talk to anyone until we can meet and I can inform her.

Wow. YAY.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The weather is schizophrenic today, and I don't appreciate it; also, a joke that probably only Robyn and Kate would think is funny

I am sitting in the library (again, avoiding studying for art), and outside the window it is raining. But wait. It is not just raining. It is also sunny.

Now, sitting inside the library watching this, it's sort of charming, because the sun is shining and the rain is falling, and that's kind of cool, like the weather is attempting syncretism, which I'm definitely coming out in favor of. However, in real life I do not approve of sun-showers, because despite their rather friendly-sounding name, they are quite unpleasant to be outside during. If it is cloudy and wet enough to rain, then it is also quite humid, so it's really humid and unpleasant, and then in addition to that, the sun is shining at you. Rain is good because it is different to sun and you cool off a bit after all the hot hot sun, but during a sun-shower, you can't cool off! The sun is making the rain hot! Very, very uncool.

Additionally, I am wearing work clothes today, because I have to walk to work after art class (I hate Thursdays), which means that I am going to get thoroughly wet, including my feet, when I particularly don't want my feet to get wet due to the toe thing, which is still problematic though it's been many weeks since the initial injury. It has gotten very weird, and I think another toenail is growing underneath the damaged one, which is kinda gross (the sun just went away; now it's just raining really hard), but I have improved the shining hour by naming the damaged one James Marsden. It thinks it is the best, but pretty soon it is going to be supplanted, and really, guy, I can't believe you didn't see that coming because it has been obvious to everyone from the beginning that you were going to be discarded.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sign #158 that I have been indexing for way too long

I have developed a little game, which goes like this:

The people in the flat upstairs from me are thumpy, thumpy people. Thump, thump, thump, all the damn time -- quit watching Bambi so much, you thumping thumping fiends, and listen to a little Paul Simon for a change!

(Heehee, thump is a funny word. Thump. Thump. Thump.)

Anyway, they do lots of thumping activities, and I've noticed since I've been trapped in my room with nothing but an indexing procedure and The Gilmore Girls to entertain me that two of their loud thumpy upstairs activities include laundry and sex. Loud thumpy laundry and loud thumpy sex. From downstairs, these things are actually barely distinguishable, so the game is to figure out whether they're having sex or doing laundry. Now, this should be an easy one to guess, because laundry is not usually accompanied by giggling, but actually these people upstairs, they are a giggly bunch, and sometimes the rhythmic thumping and the giggling, they go on for an hour. It could be insane stamina, but since the thumping never varies in its rhythm, I'm kind of guessing it's laundry and also some other fun activity like Gigglethumpopoly or Gigglethump Jenga or Gigglethump Clue. Every time I get it right (that is, if the laundry goes on for an hour or the sex goes on for, um, less), I get a cookie and a carrot. That way it all balances out.

Thump, thump, thump. I'm going to my nonthumpy home now to eat spaghetti and maybe Sister Schubert rolls, if the gods are kind, and I have every reason to suppose that they are.

Sign #157 that I have been indexing for way too long

I just came across the words "commodity form" in the manuscript for which I am making an index, and I shrieked, "Commodity form! Yaaaaaay!" and I felt happy about it for three whole seconds before realizing how tragic my life has become.

Take me, sweet death.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My reward for working eight hours with a headache today

was to go to Bongs & Noodles and buy myself a nice book. Since it is going to be my only new book for a really long time, I skipped the children's books that looked appealing (figuring it would be fewer words and a shorter read for my buck), and I even skipped buying Fire from Heaven and The Persian Boy, which I thoroughly wanted (because my mum already has them, and it seems silly to weigh down the foundations of my house any more than I must with books we already have), and in the end I decided to get Richard Burton's famed translation of 1001 Nights. Unexpurgated. Which means there are bits about the sultan's wife and concubines being futtered wildly by lots of manly burly men hiding in trees and waiting for the sultan to go out hunting. And wives of afreets that tell people to futter her or die. In other news, I really enjoy the word futter, which is so bizarre that it is not even in the OED.

(I just looked up Richard Burton on Wikipedia and learned a few interesting things about him. Apparently he was all interested in sex and everyone was angry at him for corrupting Algernon Charles Swinburne into a life of drink and drugs and reading dirty books; and apparently he was reputed to have killed a man on his trip to Mecca and one time a doctor asked him, "How do you feel when you have killed a man?" and Richard Burton said, "Quite jolly, what about you?")

I also had the opportunity to practice my bookstore hobby, which is this: You know how sometimes you are looking at stacks/shelves of books and for one reason and another you realize that the book on top or in front is not the same book as the book behind or beneath it? Well, when I discover that, and if the incorrectly placed book is bad, then I hide it. If it's good, I use it to hide some other, bad book that is in the same general vicinity. Today I used Madame Bovary to hide Mrs. Darcy. Don't bother looking for the idiotic sequel to Pride and Prejudice, everyone! You won't find it!

Mwahahaha. And now back to my dirty book.

My pet peeve

The phrase "playing _____ to my/your/his/her ______". I hate this phrase. I don't even have enough words in my vocabulary (and not to brag or anything, but I have a fairly sizeable vocabulary, which includes quite a large quantity of words that mean unpleasant things) to express how much I loathe that phrase. I have serious doubts about whether people say that idiotic phrase in real life, and if they do, it is only because they have heard it in movies or on television or read it in books and thought that it was a succinct way of saying something, because they don't realize that it STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID.

The first time I ever remember reading this phrase was in that classic of literature, Mercedes Lackey's Magic's Pawn, and although I was at a tense bit in the story when it occurred, I had to stop reading and stare at the sentence in total horror, because why? Why? Why would you ever? Seriously, that was nearly enough to make me stop reading the book, and I would have done it instantly if I hadn't been twelve and had the notion that it was a naughty book.

I have hated it from the first minute I laid eyes on it. It and I can never be friends. Never. Even if Neil Gaiman and Diana Wynne Jones and Alice Walker and Salman Rushdie and Elizabeth Peters and Dorothy Sayers and Mary Renault and Richard Adams and Alexandre Dumas and Rumer Godden and Audrey Niffenegger and everyone signed a big petition in favor of using that phrase, still then I would not like it. Even if it happened in Greensleeves it would be like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I hate it I hate it I hate it. Why can't it just die?

Okay, I thought I was nailing my colors to the mast about Noel, but I was wrong on that point, because I failed to factor into my calculations how much of a jerk Noel later becomes. It's not that Ben gets nicer (although he does), it's that Noel gets more crap. So that doesn't count.

But this does. I am nailing my colors absolutely to the mast. I hate the phrase "playing ______ to my/your/his/her ________". It is the stupidest phrase of all time and never, never, never, never shall I ever use that phrase in a story or in life. Ever. And if I do then you have my permission to hit me really hard with a rolled-up newspaper.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Um, NO

I know I can't really afford to be picky about this, but I am completely outraged at this comparison, which I have now seen twice, leading me to believe that the world must actually be insane and unordered and there actually can't be a God because a benevolent God could never possibly permit this kind of thing.

If you've met me recently, you may have heard me shrieking the rhapsodical praises of Pushing Daisies, which comes on at seven on Wednesdays on ABC, in case anyone's interested, and I know you all are. It is definitely the best show on television at present, and I am saying this because I have seen all other shows on television. Every single one. And Pushing Daisies wins the prize, not solely because Lee Pace plays the main character and is very cute (and nice hips. I have never noticed anyone's hips before in my life, but damn, Lee Pace's are extremely well-formed. Pay attention next time you see him.), but also because it is charming in every possibly way. It's quirky and it has cars that run off of dandelions, and his shop is called The Pie Hole, and Emerson Cod's name is Emerson Cod and he has gun holsters, and Chuck, who I initially thought was going to annoy me and drag the show down, is actually quite endearing.

Which I know means it's going to get canceled. People can't take all this charm. They think things are stupid that are actually brilliant.

Anyway, I was hunting on the internet to find reviews that would confirm me in my belief that this show is wondrous, and there were many reviews that did this, but do you know what TWO REVIEWS compared it to, and I am not kidding about this in any way? Gilmore Girls.

I mean, have you seen Gilmore Girls? It's, um, well, it's a little bit totally generic, and although it is amusing, it is clearly a guilty pleasure, and I would never ever tell someone OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS about Gilmore Girls. I would rather be inclined to conceal the fact that I watch it, much in the same way as I would try not to let anyone know that I read Archie comics at home when I am brushing my teeth (though in justice to me I'd be glad to read James Herriot instead, if James Herriot happened to be in the basket on the back of the toilet, but what can I do? It's Archie comics there. My hands are tied.).

This one review, it says that Pushing Daisies boasts "Gilmore Girls-speed wit". No. No, it doesn't. It's not, it's not, it's completely different. It's, I mean, they're totally different kinds of shows! One is the kind that people watch even though it's kinda not that good but just because it makes them think that their lives are going to be something other than miserable wretched deserts of loneliness punctuated by brief spurts of happiness and ending in painful deaths after long illnesses, and then they watch it so much that it goes on for seven seasons. Six? Seven? I can't remember. Whatever. The other is the kind to which I rapidly become devoted so that when it gets canceled prematurely it breaks my heart and causes me to go into a decline and die.

And then the other review said that Pushing Daisies was going to fill the void left by Gilmore Girls. No it IS NOT! It is going to fill the void in my heart left by Wonderfalls, maybe. Gilmore Girls? Not so much. When I have seen all the episodes of that show that exist, I will be just fine about it. Whereas there can never be enough Pushing Daisies episodes.

Incidentally, I feel so sad for Bryan Fuller. He wrote Wonderfalls too, and look what happened there. I worry that he might be afraid he's not a good writer. I want to write him a letter and let him know that he mustn't worry about that at all. I want to reassure him that he is an excellent writer, and that I love him, which I'm sure will mean a lot to him, and it's just that the world is so stupid! so very stupid! that they fail to recognize his genius!

And now, a moment of silence for the world's great canceled shows because network executives are wankers.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What I learned at work today

Turns out when you go to the Census Bureau website, they ask you to do a survey before you come in.

Couldn't see that coming.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Poor guy.

So I'm learning languages, is the plan. I have a priority list of my top five languages I want to learn, in order of how much I want to learn them, and then if I ever get done with them, I will build a new priority list, which will comprise five more languages on which I have not yet decided (but I'm guessing they won't contain German, Russian, Japanese, or Spanish, because I DON'T LIKE FASCISTS, but actually just because I don't know why). Here is my present list:

1. French (to talk with my flatmate)
2. Arabic (because I must finish what I started and then go to Egypt! Lovely Egypt! And see the Pyramids and Alexandria, where I have always wanted to go)
3. Portuguese (Spanish with a French accent)
4. Chinese (finish what I started, and to talk with Diwen! Lovely Diwen!)
5. Italian (because it is pretty and I want to go to Venice)

Anyway, I was working on French, and in the tapes, there's a conversation between an American guy and a French girl, which is all pretty basic, but anyway once you have mastered the words they are saying, the narrator has you do a practice thing, and you have to come up with what the guy will say. And this is how it goes.

Narrator: You see a young woman sitting by herself. Say "Excuse me" to her.

You: Pardon.

American guy on the tapes: Pardon.

(Yay!)

Narrator: She doesn't answer.

(Bitch.)

Narrator: Ask her if she speaks French.

At this point I quit playing and just stared while the narrator marched on without me, because, like, really? That's what you're going to ask a strange woman if she ignores you when you say "Excuse me"? Is that what your mind leaps to, guy? She doesn't speak the language? Excuse me. Snub. Damn, she must not understand.

So I eventually got over it and went back to the original place and said my bit. Me: Est-ce que vous comprenez le francais?

American guy: Est-ce que vous comprenez le francais?

(Yay!)

Narrator: She still doesn't answer.

(Bitch. But I guess she thinks I'm a freak now.)

Narrator: Ask her if she speaks English.

At that point I gave up and threw myself off the battlements because I couldn't stand to feed lines to a guy whose mind would make such a leap. Also, at this point there are two options: a) She understands French, and simply chooses not to respond, in which case, I AM SORRY, but you are going to have to go practice your French on someone else; or b) She doesn't understand French, in which case she's not going to understand your asking her if she speaks English. A surer method would be to ask her in English if she speaks English. I know that wouldn't help you learn French, but it might make her quit ignoring you.

I guess it's also possible she doesn't hear you. But in that case you're probably better off practicing French with one of the dozens of hearing people in France, since it is already difficult to communicate with deaf people, and much more so in a different language.

In other news, I over-think.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Acorns. Ah, acorns.

Another reason I simply adore October: The beautiful weather (did anyone go outside today? Ahhh. I had a picnic), and the ACORNS OH MY GOD THE ACORNS.

This is all my mother's fault. When we were little and we used to go on walks with my mother, she'd be all about crunching acorns. Crunch, crunch, crunch, and she had so much fun crunching the acorns, and I always wanted to try it too, because she was having so much fun, but I was too wee and my crunching usually had no effect at all, even if I stood on top of the acorn. So now that I'm grown up and I can crunch acorns effectively, that's what I want to do, like, all the time. Always. It's one of those small pleasures that actually turns out be a massive big pleasure. If you see me around campus in this season, and I look like a bizarre epileptic ballerina wannabe, don't be concerned that I have lost my mind; I am just trying to walk in such a way that will allow me to crunch the largest possible number of acorns.

And, yes, okay, occasionally I will kick acorns from the dirt next to the trees onto the concrete so that I can crunch them, and I have been known to pick up a handful of acorns from near the trees and throw them on the concrete in front of me. But that is only because! That is only because the acorns, they fall very inconveniently right next to the trees! In the mulch area! Where I can't crunch them! It's not because I'm an insane addict, it's just because there are very few acorns on the sidewalks because they have all fallen on the mulch and around the tree roots!

DON'T JUDGE ME.

Another component of this acorn business is that I keep my eyes peeled for acorns on the sidewalk/road where I am walking, and I see them well ahead of me on the sidewalk/road, and then I have a few steps where I am anticipating the satisfaction of crunching that particular acorn, that juicy firm green acorn that will make such a pleasing crunch underfoot (this is particularly fun in heels, incidentally), and then I am in a good mood the whole time I'm walking. So it's good for my mood. It improves my overall wellness.

EXCEPT, except when I spot an acorn up ahead, and I'm all enjoying the anticipation, and then SOMEONE ELSE STEPS ON IT.

I mean, it wouldn't be so bad if I knew that that person had really enjoyed it. I have been known to selflessly give up stepping on acorns in order to surrender them to a companion of mine who might enjoy stepping on them too. But these people aren't even stepping on them on purpose! They don't even care! The acorns mean nothing to them! nothing! I seriously have to stop myself from running up to them and screaming You stepped on my acorn! You stepped on my acorn! But I refrain. I am not a lunatic (yet).

Public service: Kick acorns onto the concrete. Some people like to crunch acorns.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Oscar Wilde month!

Woohoo! It's October!

October is my special Oscar Wilde month, partly because it has always been my second favorite month (May, of course, being my favorite, with March as a close third) and after I started learning about Oscar Wilde I realized that I had something to say about October, finally, and partly because it reminds me of Oscar Wilde.

16 October -- mark your calendars! -- is Oscar Wilde's birthday. He would have been, let's see, 153 this year, but tragically he died 107 years ago (wow, that's long). On Oscar Wilde's birthday I shall celebrate by telling everyone I see that it is OSCAR WILDE'S BIRTHDAY, and then I and the spirit of Oscar will share a private little giggle together as those I encounter exchange anxious glances and begin to back away from me slowly or turn and flee in abject terror. I will also share with those who do not flee interesting little facts that I enjoy, such as the fact that his full name was Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, which people don't usually know but which gives me such joy (his mother said, "Is it not grand, misty, and Ossianic?"), and the thing that he said that you'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of little Nell (we are on the SAME WAVELENGTH, yo), and oo, about that time that he went abroad, after his very scandalous imprisonment, with Robbie Ross and Reginald Whatsit, and he wrote back and said that for their protection, Robbie was travelling as Reginald Whatsit and Reginald was traveling under Robbie Ross. "It is better that they not use their real names," he said.

Furthermore, 10 October is the birthday of my tied-for-favorite of all Oscar Wilde's friends, Ada Leverson. I like her a lot. She was funny, and she got tired when she was around a lot of people for a long time and had to go home and refuel, and she teased Oscar Wilde by writing spoofy articles making fun of him, which he liked, and he called her Sphinx and wrote a poem about her, and she and her husband went bail for him during his trial and then gave him a place to stay after he got out of jail, when nobody wanted to be his friend. I will celebrate this day by, um, I guess liking Ada Leverson a special lot. Anyway I feel sorry for her, because poor dear, she married this guy who didn't really get her, so she was unhappy a lot.

And I guess because it just wouldn't be okay with the gods of karma to have all that much related coolness born in one month of the year without balancing it out somehow, 22 October is the birthday of Lord Alfred Douglas, or as I like to call him, That Little Shit. I do try to be fair to him, except that fair sort of winds up with you totally despising him, because he was a really despicable person, and you know what he did, do you know? I mean, apart from hating Jews and telling everyone how Oscar Wilde was a big Mr. Gay McGayerston and he was SO GLAD that he had escaped from that FILTHY LIFESTYLE? He made it a deliberate point to destroy Robbie Ross, who was a sweetheart. And do you know why? Because he was jealous because everyone liked Robbie better than him. Which you couldn't help doing, because Robbie Ross was a sweetie-pie whose whole life was basically all about Oscar Wilde (he made particular arrangements to have his ashes interred in Oscar Wilde's tomb, and they didn't do it until like thirty years after he died), and Bosie was an unpleasant little tramp who went around ruining people's lives and then totally not even caring and also getting involved with xenophobic slime like Mr. Noel Pemberton-Billing.

Er, not that it matters. I don't care. I am not all worked up about it. Cause they are all dead and I am not silly enough to get all worked up about the morals of people who are long dead and who in some cases NOBODY HAS HEARD OF THEM.

P.S. Bosie, if you are reading this from down there in hell, HA HA HA, nobody has heard of you anymore, and if they have, it is only because of ALL THE SEX that you had with Oscar Wilde. I'm just saying. (And that dare not speak its name crap. You weren't that good a writer either.)

So, hey. Celebrate Oscar Wilde month. I believe that my church is calling it Respect Life month, but I think a lot of pro-lifers are big crazy shits, so instead of that, I am changing it to Oscar Wilde Is Cool month. I think that's better. In order to celebrate this month, you can go crazy with the saying witty things. You can get yourself into massive trouble for having sex with young gentlemen and live the rest of your life in miserable exile. Whatever you want. Go wild.

Edit: SHIT. No GODDAMN PUN INTENDED.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nailing my colors to the mast

Or, no, nailing my--hm. I'm actually really not sure what the metaphor is. I think that's right, unless it's supposed to be flying your colors, and I'm getting it mixed up with Martin Luther nailing his theses to the church door. Who knows?

Anyway, this is my manifesto. I will not deviate from it in any way. I am not going to be manipulated in the same way twice. I went through it once before, and for what? Nothing! For lots of intense hugging (Robyn sees where this is going) and that drug person and a gun man (who I forgot about until just this second. Hey, Robyn, remember that drug girl and the gun man?)

I like Noel. I don't like Ben. Ben is a big jerk. Noel is nice and has the cutest fucking eyebrow tic in the whole world. Ben is mean and made Felicity cut off her dramatic and beautiful hair. The writers can try as they might, but it just won't work this time. I know what I like, and it IS NOT BEN. I assure you. I just cannot emphasize this point strongly enough. I do not like Ben. The writers of Felicity can never make me like Ben. Don't think that they can. I am saying this with complete mindfulness of all the nice things that Ben does later, and even taking all of those things into consideration, and even remembering that Noel later on changes his name to Leon (why the hell? I can't even remember why that happens) and gets crazy, STILL I say to you that I will never ever ever like Ben better than Noel. Ever. Won't happen, nope.

Colors now officially nailed. Or whatever. And now on to my work.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Paper towels

The paper towel dispenser in the bathroom at work is totally entrancing. It is electronic in nature, so all you have to do is wave your hand around in front of it, and a length of paper towel automatically dispenses from it. Now, this would be a little cooler if it also tore off the paper towel for you, but I guess that would give rise to problems like if you weren't prepared and the paper towel fell on the floor and was wasted, but they could get around that by doing like receipts do and only tearing off most of the way, but I guess that would be pointless.

Anyway, the paper towel dispenser has not been doing so well of late. Hitherto it would flash a red light while dispensing paper towels, a reassuring red light that flashed steadily and reminded you that you needn't fear, the paper towel dispenser was on the job, automatically dispensing paper towels, all would be ready in a jiffy, and there was a nice humming noise to reinforce the point. In the past week or so, the paper towel dispenser's light has been a little more spasmodic (or I could be imagining that it's spasmodic because of how scary it sounds), and instead of humming calmly, it made this dreadful grinding noise. Grind, grind. Paper towels! Grind, grind. More paper towels!

Not very nice.

And today it was broken. Long live the king. (Not really. There is no replacement. We must just tear paper towels with our bare hands now. I mean, I've practically forgotten how, what with all these weeks of pampering and automatic dispensing.)

This reminds me of these two high school girls I heard talking in the bathroom at Bongs & Noodles a little while ago. They were fussing because the B&N loos were apparently not living up to their high high expectations of public bathrooms. One girl was whining to the other one, "They don't have automatic paper towel things!" and the other one said, "Yeah, I know. I love those automatic things at school. I always try and get the stalls with the automatic flush toilets."

Uh-huh. All I can say is that, wow, did we ever go to different high schools. I always tried to get the stalls with doors.

(Obviously I always succeeded, or else waited. It was parallelism, I couldn't say it any other way.)

Spoiled rich kids. What's the world coming to? Kids these days don't know how good they've got it. In my day we had to dig holes for our poop and set fire to it when we were finished so the cats wouldn't dig it up again. In my day we didn't have running water, we had to get our own hydrogen and oxygen and bang 'em together. And I had to walk to school, uphill both ways, in the snow, with stapled-together matchboxes for shoes. So.