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?


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.


Friday, November 16, 2007


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.


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.


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.


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

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.