Friday, November 30, 2007

A non-unique post for an infuriating Friday afternoon

Yea, "Married to the Sea." I have been laughing at these in my office all day long. When I wasn't getting confused and angry about TIAA-CREF, mutual funds, annuities, and other various retirement investment options.

I am going to see the tree at Rockefeller Center this weekend. I will tell you all about the s(t)imulation next week.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Damn War Eagle

Less penalties = more winning.

That's your enthymeme for the day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thin walls

The people downstairs have been yelling really nasty things at each other for days. It makes me sad.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Trytophan and judgment

So it's official--I'm sick. I always get sick this time of year. Sore throat, stuffed up face, coughing. Over the next couple of days I will get better, and then, right at the end of the semester, when I get home, I will get super-sick again. But I will be home then, so my mom can ply me with hot tea and Drambuie. Mmmmm, being-taken-care-of and Drambuie. Right now, though, I am sitting in my red chair, watching "Snakes on a Plane," writing to you, and drinking hot (non-alcoholic) tea.

Two of my dearest friends in the world came to visit me for Thanksgiving. We have spent the week New Yorking [shopping at various places--like H&M and shoe stores, wishing we could shop at other places--the eighth floor of Sak's with its Prada shoes and high-fallutin candy, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade--live! from the corner of 46th and Broadway, meeting folks at the parade--this adorable family from Jersey, another adorable family from NYC who are moving to North Carolina, and this asshole couple who stepped on our feet and then acted like we were the tourists]; cooking [turkey and dressing and Sonya's yummy cranberry sauce, white trash casserole and pumpkin pie. I wanted pecan pie, but I was voted down. That's ok, I can cry myself to sleep on my huge piles of leftovers]; and chatting [about all sorts of things. These are some fantastic, clever women. I am lucky to know them. After supper yesterday, we sat, drinking wine, and talked about everything from illegal immigration to maternity leave to true love to passing judgment].

From all of these conversations and interactions, I have learned a few things.

First, I am lucky to know people like this. Not only do they teach me about cranberry sauce and freezing turkey--they show me what it is to love somebody unconditionally. They are good at loving each other, and they are good at loving their friends and family. I am lucky that they let me into that precious space.

Second, our strolls through NYC made me wonder--what is a tourist? Can one be a native tourist? What is the value of "touring" a place or a person (i.e. is there such a thing as permanent tourism, and, if there is, is that a good or a bad thing?). There might be something gorgeous in re-learning things as you go, approaching even familiar people and places as if they were always already new and sort-of-dangerous and delectable all at once. On the other hand, that would be exhausting, and we all need a break every now and then, right?

Finally, in these tourist spaces, we must be on guard. That's one of the first things we learn when we are planning travel--keep your money close, watch out for strangers, look both ways before you cross the street, pay attention to local customs and habits, don't be an asshole. You know, your basic rules of different. Thinking of the conference last week and the holidays coming up, these guidelines might do me a world of good; instead of assuming that the friends and family we love will not pass judgment or tell stories about us is a bad idea. The ease with which we pass judgment (on ourselves and on loved ones) can make every place we go a tourist trap. The sad thing about this (and I'm thinking of DJ Joshie's blog about gossip here) is that, if we are constantly aware of the possible pitfalls and traps into which we could wander, we never get to rest. Josh writes about the never-ending cycle of gossip that drives large groups of people. And the result of that discussion is to make us all very solipsistic, very self-obsessed people--when we read his post, when we hear people talking, we automatically assume the worst: that the gossip is about us and that the gossip is bad. Touring on purpose is one thing, touring because that's the only option is another thing entirely.

That being said, may you and I both give and receive a little bit of rest (from gossip, from judgment, from hypocrisy and thoughtlessness) this season.

Monday, November 19, 2007

For serious

My dear friend includes this phrase in his "About this Blog" description: Approach every day as if your hair were ablaze. Which is a yummy phrase--and totally apropos of the conference that just ended this weekend.

NCA = 'Normously Communicative Academics

It was fun and ridiculously exhausting, like it always is. A couple of other folks have posted some bits about the whole convention experience. The thematic words seem to be things like "fast" "swarm" "hot" and "nookie" - all of which, you may be saying to yourself, do not seem so much academic as they are, well, Dionysian. Apollo and Dionysus used to hang, though, just so you know. And it's nice to see them sitting together again, once in a while. They enjoy Chicago, btw.

So, in honor of my listing obsession, here are some of my own observations of the Light and Dark this year.

1) Walt Whitman was right.
2) Carol's Country and Western bar may be my new favorite place on earth--overly aggressive girls in the bathroom line notwithstanding.
3) I know way too many smart, gorgeous people. Man, can they wear good shoes and talk good theory. It's just downright, frickin delicious.
4) Riding in a limo through downtown Chicago with old friends is fun.
5) Smoked salmon at the Hancock building is actually all that you can hope for and more.
6) My dearest anonymous continues to be a rock star.
7) Chicago is a very dry town. Despite the fact that they are situated right at the edge of a very large body of water, the environment is despicably arid. Also, they still allow smoking inside places; hence, said places make you stinky.
8) The best panels I went to were populated by people whose names you do not know. Not that the big panels with the big names are not good. They are wonderful and they say smart things. But the great unknown panels are surprising. Because you do not know these folks, alot of the things they say and write and think are unexpected. Unexpected can be very, very cool.
9) Dunkin Donuts does have better coffee than Starbucks.
10) Got some good ideas about new directions to send the dissertation.
11) There are black people who do Civil War reenactment. Seriously. (Thanks, Patricia!)- more on this later.
12) The beds at the Chicago Hilton are made of angels.
13) "Fairytale of New York" is still my favorite Pogues song.

Friday, November 9, 2007

My new favorite phrase in the world

is cock a snook. Right now, I can think of several people who could use a good snook-cocking.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Have I got stories for you...

So it's been a couple of weeks. My favorite tech-stalker has told me to stop with the not-blogging and start with the blogging.

I have been busy. It is indeed that time of year. I like lists because they are egalitarian--you are free, up to a point, to interpret lists as you see fit.

Top Ten Things that Happened since the Last Blog Post
1) Went to Austin. Saw a bunch of folks. Was alternately sad (because I miss their faces and bustle and love) and happy (because I am not debilitated by the missing--I was eager to get home to my apartment and my life). Had coffee and blueberry Danish at Quack's, Kao Soi from Madam Mam's, a walk around Town Lake with two nubile young things, saw the advisor and the office ladies who got me through dissertation, visited the IMC, spent some time with the ex, shopped, enjoyed sunny summer weather in the fall, and generally chilled like the proverbial villain. It was delicious.
2) Finished the genre paper. Woo Hoo! It is a horrifying, Frankensteinian mess of ideas, but it is done. D. O. N. E.
3) Met a cute boy. Went on a date with cute boy. Two bonuses for cute boy: good conversationalist and lives in Arizona. No messy commitments required. Awesome.
4) Flat tire on car.
5) Couch is broken. In order to get the couch around the hairpin turn at the top of my stairs, the movers had to remove bits of the couch. Apparently, the couch misses those bits. Couch is now sitting on its back. I am not sure how best to deal with this situation. Continue to use broken couch and hope for best? Hammer something? Renounce material goods and live on pillows?
6) The cat is Dis-Mayed at broken couch. Where will she leave the bulk of her fur now?
7) Reading Dune.
8) Haircut and highlights tomorrow. I cannot afford them, but I'm worth it. That is my new slogan. Actually, I think that may not be new so much as always-already my slogan. Either way, watch out, Chicago.
9) Dr. Who Night Saturday!!!!
10) Watching Season 2 of "Home Movies." I am more in love with Coach McGurk everyday.