Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
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
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
Saturday, October 20, 2007
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
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.
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
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
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.
Take me, sweet death.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
(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.
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
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
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
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.
American guy on the tapes: Pardon.
Narrator: She doesn't answer.
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?
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
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
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.