You wouldn't think you could turn to New Era for an example of a beautiful poem. Or maybe I wouldn't. But at any rate, below was a contest winner back in 1991. It feels right and true to me, in addition to also being simply lovely. Kudos, Mary Lynn Bahr, kudos.
They say the fire falls swiftly,
Breaking adamant hearts, neatly
Dividing joints and marrow
For sterile reassembly.
Pure, molten personality
Will cool into new symmetry
As crimson years bleach into snow
And melt out of memory.
I kneel and cringe, expecting
Ecstasy and quickening,
Ambush by wrestling angels,
Annunciation that compels
Belief. Tonight only snow
Falls, half an inch, just enough.
You wouldn't think you could turn to New Era for an example of a beautiful poem. Or maybe I wouldn't. But at any rate, below was a contest winner back in 1991. It feels right and true to me, in addition to also being simply lovely. Kudos, Mary Lynn Bahr, kudos.
Posted by alea at 5:10 PM
I could never really believe The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It wasn't the presence of fauns or the magical furniture that transported kids to a world where it was always winter but never Christmas. It wasn't even the talking Lion and the silly story of him dying and coming back to life (as if anybody could believe something like that). But, I was willing to accept those things. Suspend my disbelief and all that. What I could not look past was the Turkish delight.
Posted by alea at 5:26 PM
After my very cheap, but nice and shiny water bottle from Walmart broke on the second week of my using it, I decided to upgrade a smidge. I shouldn't have been too shocked that three dollars does not ensure that your water bottle straw will actually be functional. But I was. I hate it when I turn out to be cheap rather than thrifty.
Posted by alea at 5:29 PM
So, Katy Perry, while you probably live a pretty wild and crazy life, I’m guessing nothing you did “last Friday night” actually counts as an “epic fail”. Likewise for those of us who lack the money and fame to really fail spectacularly. As such, below are some situations for which the term “epic fail” is actually appropriate. Most others, turns out, are more just “quotidian fail”. Please advise.
- A guy in a secret valley promises you eternal life if you stay awake for seven nights. But, you fall asleep right then and end up snoozing away the entire week.
- There’s a gal you’ve been sweet on for ages. But she’s still not over her last lover. Then, one day, she agrees to marry you if you can best the other applicants for her hand at an archery contest. Not only do you fail to string the bow, you also get hacked to pieces when the lover you assumed dead mysteriously shows up right then.
- Despite proving your fidelity to your husband by walking unscathed through fire, people talk. Who knows what you really got up to on that island? Your hubby, wanting to set a good example, gives you the boot. So, you’re forced to raise his two sons in the forest dwelling of a scribe. After they’re grown, they get to go back and live with their dad, but you do not.
- There’s a monster that terrorizing your kingdom. You manage to kill it, but in doing so get mortally wounded yourself.
- You fall madly in love with a visitor to the land you rule. However, he’s got other things on his mind and, despite seeming to be really into you, ends up splitting right after you go all the way. The fact that he eventually founds a city that will utterly destroy your kingdom is just more salt to this wound.
- For some reason, you want to marry this girl who can throw a boulder further than you dreamed possible. Your best friend manages to make himself invisible and help you convince this lady to marry you. But, your wedding night take a turn for the unromantic when she ties you up and leaves you alone until dawn.
- You think the best way to get back at your father-in-law for humiliating you is to beat your wife (his daughter) and leave her for dead. Since this is sort of not cool, he challenges you to a duel. And you lose.
Posted by alea at 11:51 AM
I don't do scary. Not even a little bit. I fundamentally do not understand the appeal of going to one of those commercial haunted house things (I have never been. I will never go. End of story.). Or intentionally viewing a horror film. I'm far too nervous about my everyday life to add additional fuel to the fire of my fears (pyre of my paranoias? conflagration of my concerns?). Some people don't believe me. They assume I'm just sort of nervous, that these things don't affect me that much. Or that I'm like most people who say they don't like horror films but they watch them anyways, squealing and panicking and then letting it go the next day. For me, the uneasy feelings don't dissipate with a new dawn. Or ever, for that matter. In case you might not believe me, here are three examples to show just how little I can handle the frightening.
Posted by alea at 1:33 PM
You know how you find yourself senselessly using the same word over and over again? For instance, you could go a really long time without hearing or even seeing the word comport. Then, one day, you wake up and use it four times (aloud--the silent times are countless) in just a few hours? All of a sudden, the word seems so apropos. And even when it's strictly not, you use it in hopes that nobody will call you out on it. (See, for instance, the time I referred to re-frosting a cake to "palimpsesting" it). But then, you start realizing how often you're using it and feel foolish.
Posted by alea at 10:43 AM
Because I'm deeply strange, I sometimes collect things that I think would make excellent eulogy components. Like, stuff to quote on the occasion of the death of a loved one. I suspect this has something to do with the little Puritan preacher living inside my brain. You know, the guy who sees Jesus everywhere and wants to make everything a sermon. That guy. For instance, Hayden's Those Winter Sundays? Tragic magic.
THINGS SHOULDN'T BE SO HARD
A life should leave
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
Her things should
keep her marks.
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—
however small —
should be left scarred
by the grand and
be so hard.
Posted by alea at 5:19 PM
This Priesthood session of conference marked the 15th year I've been attending them. I haven't missed a single one of those sessions. Even when I was living in Edmonton and getting to the chapel it was broadcast to meant taking a light rail and then two buses and leaving home an hour and a half beforehand and then skipping out during the final song so I wouldn't have to wait an extra hour for the bus.
Posted by alea at 4:54 PM
Posted by alea at 4:26 PM
I am not the kind of person who buys groceries on amazon. However, I am the kind of person who can successfully, on my own, consume one of those largest (four pounds or so, right?) bags of peanut m&ms in less than a fortnight. Without even breaking a sweat, so to speak. That I have not yet ballooned to 300 lbs can probably be positively correlated with the effort required to actually acquire the candy. Because, frankly, dragging my sweet tooth everyone in the industrial-size wheelbarrow it requires is exhausting.
Posted by alea at 3:21 PM
Posted by alea at 8:15 PM
At some point, I'll get around to reading the Poetic Edda. Then, I can share some neat story that ties together Odin and poetry (he's the god of the poets) and the fact that Wednesday is named after him. Or maybe I could tell you about my conversation with my brother in which he argued the second half of the "Poetry is Necessary" bumper sticker must have been missing. According to him, the neccesity of poetry is somewhat questionable.
But. Instead of doing all that, I'm just going to share a poem from Anne Carson on this Odin's Day. I think it's beautiful. And it's almost true. Or is it true? I can't quite decide.
My religion makes no sense
and does not help me
therefore I pursue it.
When we see
how simple it would have been
we will thrash ourselves.
I had a vision
of all the people in the world
who are searching for God
massed in a room
on one side
of a partition
from the other side
but we are blind.
Our gestures are blind.
Our blind gestures continue
for some time until finally
on the other side of the partition there we are
looking back at them.
It is far too late.
We see how brokenly
our blind gestures
what God really wanted
(some simple thing).
The thought of it
(this simple thing)
is like a creature
let loose in a room
to get out.
It batters my soul
with its rifle butt.
Posted by alea at 9:54 AM
Growing up sometimes means some really unpleasant things. It means paying taxes to register your vehicle. It means working full-time. It means big decisions. It means responsibilities. It means grappling with the exceptionally frustration experience of, to steal a phrase, finding someone interesting who's interested. It can really be a whole string of yuckiness.
Posted by alea at 3:15 PM
Posted by alea at 10:07 AM
I have a very common first name. Pedestrian, even. No really, it's been in the top ten in the US since WWII. Since I grew up around a bunch of other people with this name (among other reasons), I go by a shortened form of my name. A shortened form that is not really all that common this side of the Atlantic. To make matters more confusing, it is a homophone and its spelling is not readily apparent.
Here's what this is leading up to though: giving my name as restaurants. Whenever I have to put my name on a wait list, I hesitate. For much longer than is normal. Should I give the host(ess) my nick name, even though it usually throws them off and/or launches me into a conversation I'm sick of having? Oh and requires me to spell it and/or suffer a look of “what the...?” Do I give them my given name? If so, do I go with the full version that only my little brother uses or the typical American short form that I was called until I was about 18? In this pause, of course, I start feeling all silly and awkward, because, really, how hard is it to COME UP WITH YOUR OWN NAME?!?!
Of course, I could also use an alias. But, I know I would make a terrible spy, as I've tried the alias thing only to have forgotten the name I gave. It's not so pleasant having someone come up to you and saying, “Excuse me, aren't you the name we've been calling for three minutes?” And that really nails the coffin. Oh, I'm too dumb to even know my own name and then I can't recognize it.
My last name would be an option, but I have this annoying tic of always giving my last name, spelling it, and then giving it again. It comes from my father. Well, obviously my last name comes from my father. But I mean this style of providing it. Specifically from hearing him provide his name over the phone. I guess Philip Larkin is not lying, after all.
So, here's what I'm getting at. If ever I go to dinner with you: take charge. give your name. I've got other neuroses to focus on, thank you very much.
Posted by alea at 3:03 PM
You know, I spend a lot of my time feeling like I really am a snappily-dressed sea otter trapped in a human's body. So, my sister's gift of the print above for me? It's totally perfect. I now need to find an appropriate frame, which will be quite a task. Do you see how trig he is? I'm sure he'd be offended if I skimped on his housing.
Also, the artist, Ryan Berkley, writes really clever descriptions of his works. Check them out here.
Posted by alea at 9:37 AM
I am a notoriously late person. My friend’s are so acquainted with this tendency of mine that I no longer need to even text them “I’m going to be late”. Instead, I send off the message “You’ll never guess what I’m about to say…” at the time we’re actually supposed to meet. It’s not a habit I’m particularly fond of, but then again, I’m not really being all that proactive about fixing it.
One thing people claim you can do to improve your punctuality is set your clocks ahead. Of course, this is silly. Because if you know how far ahead they are, you just do the arithmetic and it doesn’t solve anything. But, I do set my clocks ahead. Trick is, no two are set the same time ahead, so I’m not in sync. My watches (yes, watches. I like to accessorize, ok?) are some variation between three and ten minutes fast. Actually, this one does help a smidge, as I’m never sure which watch is on the ten-minute end and which is a smaller gap.
My car clock runs 17 minutes ahead of schedule. Which, for someone like me, can be taxing on math skills. “Let’s see….it says 6.42, but it’s 17 minutes fast so that makes it…” Sums and differences are not something I’m particularly speedy (or adept) at. To make matters worse, this clock also sometimes runs faster (up to 20) or slower (down to 13). I’m not making this us. That clock is a shifty character.
One of my alarm clocks (because, yes, I also need multiple ones of them to urge me up in the am) is set two hours earlier. The reason here, though, is simple. If you have to wake up before 6, it’s sometimes nice to fool yourself into thinking you’ve set your alarm for 7.48, not 5.48, right? (Speaking of weird time things…I never set an alarm for an increment of five minutes. It stresses me out).
Also, though, I’m around clocks that run on time all day long. My cell phone, for instance, automatically updates its time. Or I’m a computer. Or I’m in an office or class setting with prominent clocks. So, I can’t get very far away from the correct time. So, all these efforts to trick myself are wasted.
But, really, what’s this post about? Two things. First, I am a deeply neurotic person. Second, I’ll always be late. But my apologies for the same are always very timely. In fact, let me apologize now: I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. It'll happen again, but I don't mean anything by it.
Posted by alea at 8:48 PM
I know, I know, you're a lie and you kill everyday to make it true. But does this killing actually go on in crematoria? Because, your new video for Alejandro is trying really hard to invoke the Nazis. Ok, sure, whatever. The problem, though, is it's also trying to invoke the end of the world and the very 17th century idea of religious ecstasy. So, you're doing a lot of things. Check.
Posted by alea at 10:48 PM
I often feel like God is very present in my life without being there in a really helpful sense. You know, the same old complaints: unanswered prayers, complicated answers, timing issues, prayers answered in ways we don't like, life that seems tobe heading towards total bliss and ends up falling apart. That sort of thing. Today seemed like a particularly strong day for that.
And then, this evening, He sent me a thunderstorm. I don't mean he sent it specifically for me. But I got to experience it. It was the most amazing display of lightning I've ever seen. But, it wasn't the cloudburst of destruction that brilliance like this can come with. In fact, it was just barely sprinkling. And the thunder was far enough away that it was just a distant rumble. Low and solemn and peaceful.
I can't really do justice to what it looks, sounded and felt like. But, in part, it felt like God picked up and squeezed. Hard. I was in awe. I was comforted. And, as usual, I was reminded that hey, maybe somebody up there is watching out for me.
Posted by alea at 4:15 PM
If you ever want to feel like you obviously live a pretty boring life, you should be involved in a jury selection for a DUI case. I was yesterday, and I learned that I’m actually in a bit of the minority for 1. never having been cited with driving under the influence, 2. not knowing anybody particularly close to me who has, 3. nor knowing anyone who’s been injured by a drunk driver, 4. not discussing in grisly detail the work of my law enforcement relatives (ok, so I don’t even have any law enforcement relatives, so I couldn’t even get to the discussion part) and, 5. (oddly for Utah, I think) belonging to a religion that prohibits the consumption of alcohol.
But, boring, apparently, can also lead you to being selected as a juror. Well, boring and dressing respectably. I really should have gone with my gut instinct to bring the stack of Watchtowers and wear the shirt with a giant “Jehovah-God is Watching!” As a result, though, of chinos and a tie, I was selected to determine whether or not someone else did something illegal. I guess I could have been like the one woman who admitted that she thinks anyone who drinks EVER shouldn’t have a license. But, really, either that’s a crazy reach for being excused or she sort of freaks me out. Though, she freaks me out less than the woman who believed one is guilty until proven innocent. Because, y'know, that's a good sytem, right, South America?
This system of administering justice is totally ludicrous, right? A bunch of strangers are summoned. A small set of them (26) show up. Then, four are selected and they get to make a decision that has pretty serious implications for someone else. It’s weird.
The trial itself was sort of meh. Though, I wish I could have pulled aside the defense attorney and told him, “Look, dude, your whole ‘the defendant is being painted evil just like Severus Snape’ is not as convincing nor as clever as you clearly think it is. Also, did you seriously just call dui investigations “a witch hunt”?” In his closing statement, he also placed a lot of emphasis on the fact that there was no Intoxilyzer test. Of course, that was dumb, because why draw attention to the sketchiest fact of our client’s investigation? And, also, the legal limit of alcohol doesn’t matter if your client was intoxicated beyond the ability to control the vehicle.
To be honest, I'm not sure this woman really had a chance. I know, I know, she was presumed innocent, but her actions were super sketch, as was her testimony. But, I did manage to help get her off the hook for failure to yield to pedestrians. Which I'm sure she feels just great about.
Posted by alea at 6:51 PM
Things I returned home with today which were not in my possession at the start of the day:
- A new, Mormon-themed board game
- A copy of D'Aulaires Norse myths (one of my goals for the summer is to become passingly familiar with Asgard and its inhabitants)
- A library copy of the soundtrack for the musical Billy Eliot. It's not my story, but it's a good one, regardless
- An id badge for my new job
- A clean bill of criminality
- A clearer sense of how to tackle Games Mormons Play, a paper in progress
- Plans for getting sushi in a little bit
Posted by alea at 9:39 PM
It is not odd that, upon placing the last period on my last paper of the semester, I decided to do something totally frivolous. I've earned, in my estimation, a bit of fun. What is odd, though, is that my choice of fun is to curl up with a book that has been described, variously, as "beautiful, shocking, and sad", "heart-breaking", "harrowing" and as having prose that "amplifies the isolation..that each character seems to inhabit".
Posted by alea at 10:37 AM
Posted by alea at 8:08 PM
When I have a house, or rather any space that I can decorate, I'm going to hang up somewhere two small-ish frames. I'm picturing something like 8 inches square. Inside each will be a quote. One will be "Νίψον ανομήμα, μη μόναν όψιν", a Greek palindrome which means "wash your sin and not only your face". It's found on a fountain outside Hagia Sophia, which I desperately want to visit. The other will be from the Bible. It's in Joel 2.13
Posted by alea at 10:14 PM
Every time, without fail, during finals I have this two weeks of total panic. It's not necessarily panic about projects and papers, at least not explicitly. In fact, it's obviously about that but that's not what I focus it on. Rather, I feel panicked that I'm totally wasting my life. I mean, learning about Hell is fun, for sure, but what does it really matter? That is, who does it help? It doesn't cure cancer. It's not building better cities. It doesn't even make lots of money.
Posted by alea at 8:35 PM
I have this conversation at least once a day.
Posted by alea at 3:55 PM
I'm not a foodie. Not even close. I like the taste of things like Cheetos and peanut M&Ms way too much and I sort of think it's ridiculous to tuck into a meal that looks more like an exaggerated Easter hat than food. Don't get me wrong. I like tasty things very much. It's just that I can't really seem to care that chocolate A is made from beans that only grow once every 4,000 years and were roasted with nothing more than the thought power of Buddhist monks. The effort put into listening to such descriptions almost makes me lose my appetite.
That said, I can't really just admit that I'll eat anything. Because I do need to keep my snob cred up. So, what it boils down to is that I make fancy-ish things when I have people over for dinner and when I'm alone, I eat a meal of plain, cheap spaghetti. Or, and here's really the point, an entire can of this:
That's right. I love Dinty Moore stew. I'm ashamed to admit this. I mean, even the can alone calls up images of flannel-wearing yokels who can't even be bothered to use a can-opener and so need a pop top instead. It's weird that this would be the limits of my shame. I'm fine telling people I love cheap tuna (instead of Albacore white), or that baking with margarine doesn't make *that* much difference in a lot of things. But, telling people I like cheap beef stew is, apparently, too much.
Until now. Now you all know. And I'm not going to be embarrassed by it any more. And I'm not even going to go on to defend myself by telling you the ingredients and how maybe it's not such a bad food item after all*. I'm just going to let you all know: I had Dinty Moore stew for dinner a couple of nights ago. And I loved it.
*Oh, some of you want to know, don't you? Well, here they are: Beef Gravy (Water, Beef, Tomatoes [Water, Tomato Paste], Corn Flour, Salt, Modified Cornstarch, Caramel Color, Sugar, Flavoring), Potatoes, Beef, Carrots.. See? Other than supicious "flavoring" and sugar, it's all real food! I had no idea.
Posted by alea at 11:26 PM
Posted by alea at 2:27 PM
If you're the kind of person who needs a consistent flow to your conversation, the kind of person who holds no truck with digressions, under no circumstances should you ever accept a group chat invitation involving me, ke, and Annie. It will drive you to the brink.
Posted by alea at 2:23 PM
My gym membership expired. And I can't bring myself to renew it. Mostly because it seems ridiculous to pay 300 bucks when there's a perfectly good (ok, an acceptable) gym on campus. That is free. Or rather, that I've already paid for in that mess of student fees. (And, if we're being picky, I haven't even paid for it. Uncle Sam's paid for it. I'll be paying him back at some point, though).
At any rate, I'm torn by losing my gym membership. The treadmills there are nicer. It's part of my routine. I could, theoretically, take to swimming again. The people who go there are more in my fitness level than those that use the university one. But, my main problem is this: they have a parking lot. right. next. to. the. entrance.
I realize this is absurd. I'm supposedly going there to exercise, so parking close by shouldn't be a concern. I should be willing to walk and boost my workout a little. But, it's so handy. And I'm so lazy. And, if I do have to park somewhere far away and trudge to the gym on campus what, precisely, am I expected to do with my gym bag all day? Cart it around? What does the universe think I am? A mule? Somebody with a reasonable level of energy?
The problems I face are so overwhelming. But my stinginess-slash-debit-style-living really make the purchased membership not an option. So tomorrow, I'll be trying out parking far away from the gym. And, I'll even try not complaining about it. It's times like this that I really miss those regular, substantial paychecks that whole working full-time thing leaves you with.
Posted by alea at 12:11 PM
I've been moaning for a long time that I haven't been blown away by a book recently. Granted, my reading was curtailed dramatically. So I guess I shouldn't have expected the few ones I did manage to read to blow my mind. But nothing stuck.
Posted by alea at 6:28 PM
Dear Jeannette Rankin,
Posted by alea at 12:02 PM
My whole house smells like corned beef. I have green jello chilling in the fridge. In one class I went to this morning, somebody already smelled like beer. And I'm sporting a new tie picked out with the help of a friend last night.
Posted by alea at 3:33 PM
The distinction of a degree in the humanities is something everyone should aspire to. While other fields might actually prove useful, none prove as capable of making everyone uncomfortable. For instance, at your next family reunion, inform your extended family that you’re about to get a degree in art history and just watch them writhe and try to come up with something non-condescending to say.
But, why waste thousands of dollars and several years toiling at it to end up with little more than piece of paper and a crisis about what to do with your life? Instead, everybody can have all the benefits of a humanities education without ever taking a single class! All you have to do is the following:
- Memorize Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. It forms the basis of everything critical anything.
- Become passingly acquainted with Freud. We humans want sex. And death. And we’re messed up because of our parents. And cigars are not, in fact, ever just cigars.
- Understand, glancingly, feminist theory. Men oppress women. And have always. Women must reclaim their own space. You should probably read “The Yellow Wallpaper”, too.
- Embrace postmodernism. Truth doesn’t exist. There’s no single, secret meaning to be found by all. Everything can be broken to its constituent parts.
- Know some stuff about Jesus. People wrote about him. And then painted him. And set up a church to him in Rome. Uh, then some other stuff happened.
Sure there are other things you’ll need to learn if you really want to be a humanities type. You’ll have to learn to watch movies and then say things about them. And, you might have to learn to write a coherent paper. But, pretty much, get those five things in a row, and you’re just as prepared as any of us to enter the scholarly discourse. Congratulations!
Posted by alea at 1:20 PM
There are some things that are just bad ideas. For instance, if you are driving to Vegas on Friday, it's probably not the wisest to completely break the side mirror on your car a few days prior. Just probably. I mean, in one sense, it would make the drive more entertaining. Not that I'm speaking for experience or anything...
Posted by alea at 10:00 PM
Brothers are great*. I have two of them, both of whom are the awesome. Though, for totally different reasons. My younger brother is hilarious and knows everybody (seriously, you can't throw a stone in this town without hitting somebody he knows). And was voted Prom King for goodness' sake. But this post isn't about him. It's about my older brother.
Posted by alea at 8:57 PM
Posted by alea at 12:45 AM
I go back and forth on the whole idea that people are often the answer to our prayers unintentionally. Not that I expect a theophany every time I ask for something. It's just, well, it seems too coincidental. And also sort of self-centered. It seems likely that people just do things regardless of what we need or want. To assert otherwise sort of makes me uncomfortable.
Posted by alea at 1:47 PM
My Hebrew professor, in discussing the etymology of some words has been known to contemptuously spit out that the root comes from "the Indo-European storehouse". He's not exactly a purist, but I can see the problem. Why borrow words from a system that doesn't really meld well with your own? Especially when these words aren't particularly complicated semantic undertakings. Though, some languages like to borrow. It's what they do (I'm looking in your direction, English. You're pretty much willing to invite any morpheme into your bed, aren't you?)
Posted by alea at 9:27 PM
I spend way more intellectual energy and effort on carefully my crafted Facebooking than I really should. The curating of photo albums takes a good deal out of me. I. must. be. funny. And status updates are (generally) reserved for something rather clever*. They don't always have to come from me. In fact, a fair amount of the time, I just take a quote of some sort and tweak it.
Posted by alea at 4:56 PM
My sister works an irregular schedule, with several days of very long shifts and then a block of time off. According to her, this contributes to her eating patterns being Pavlovian. That is, without the cues of working, she loses track of the need to eat. She’s, obviously, not bothered by this. However, some of the rest of us can be. Because, see, we go to visit her when she’s not working and (if you’re me) are too timid to admit that you need food.
What’s weird, though, is that, left to my own devices, I’m not a very good eater. I don’t think my eating is Pavlovian, though. I think it’s social. If other people are around, I eat. If not, I don’t. It’s not that I avoid eating. It’s just that it doesn’t seem to happen. Sure, I snack. I nibble. I maybe even nosh a little bit. (Oh, let’s be honest, I’ll munch on some chips or consume some candy). But I don’t eat.
The fact that, periodically, my body decides that taking in calories in any form is beneath its interest doesn’t help my tendency to suddenly realize Sunday night that I have, in fact, gone two days without eating anything. The thing that usually gets me to realize this is trying to figure out why my head should be hurting so much.
On the plus side, this method of eating really cuts down on the grocery bills. On the downside, my body hates me. But then, I see this as some appropriate payback for all the times it’s decided it didn’t want to play nice.* I think, though, it's probably in my best interests to get out of this bad habit and, y'know, learn to take care of myself.
*Naturally, I refuse all blame from those situations.
Posted by alea at 5:24 PM
I don't actually mind the taste of envelope glue. In fact, I sort of like it. I'm always a little bit sad when I buy stamps now because they only sell self-adhesive ones. But, if I did find the taste of envelopes unsatisfying, I'd probably buy myself some Mmmvelopes. These little guys TASTE LIKE BACON!!!
Posted by alea at 4:45 PM
Life in the 19th Century was rough. Want proof? Look to the Brontë family. Patrick Bronte managed to outlive his entire family. By six years. No, no, wait for it, it gets better (worse?)
Patrick marries Maria in 1812, she dies less than 10 years later, having given him six children. Of these six, the two eldest die in 1825 (of consumption). The youngest three all die within 10 months of each other in 1848/49. Of course, all three died of some respiratory ailment. Because that's what people did in Victorian England (see above). Especially, if like Branwell, the son, you were an opium addict. I'm curious how Charlotte felt, out-surviving every single member of her family except her father. Apparently she got over it enough to get married. And pregnant. AND THEN DIE. Yep, she died with child, less than a year after her wedding.
Even better than all this is the fact that the sisters were never considered to be the success stories of the family. All the family's hopes were centered on Branwell. Then, of course, he seems to have either lost or stolen some money from his railway job, had an affair with the mother of the pupil he tutored, and became an alcoholic. So, maybe his death isn't so tragic. Well, it is tragic that it all had to happen at once to this family. So much dying. All over the place.
Sheesh, how did anyone survive in Victorian England?
Also: why did no one tell me that William James and Henry James were brothers? Doesn't that seem a bit excessive to have that much century-later impact birthed in one family?
Posted by alea at 3:51 PM
I'm back in school, which is actually a pretty good thing. Now, all that extra mental energy that for the past month I was directing at myself can focus on other problems. Y'know, important things like Greek participles and learning a Tai Chi short form. A few things have been happening to me. Not enough for a whole post each, so instead, I present the highlights of my first three days.
- My Greek prof is in his mid-sixties, I'd guess. But, he fist bumps. This happened on the first day when he put out his fist for me and I wasn't quite sure what he wanted. But, I went in for the bump and yep, that's what he was after. I'm not sure if the fist bumping makes him quirky/awesome or just sort of pathetic/trying too hard. He, does, also, though, wave to us. Like a little up-down of the fingers. This is more bizarre if you know he does this at random times. And that we meet in a seminar room which is just a big table. So he waves across the 3 feet. He also, though, does pitch accents when reading ancient Greek, which pretty much forgives everything.
- I'm taking directed studies from the Hebrew professor. He sort of intimidates me (and by sort of, I mean, I feel super awkward and dumb around him). But, I bumped into him on campus yesterday and he handed me three bow ties. "Pick two," he said and then walked off. He's given up wearing ties and had told me last semester that I needed better ones. I didn't expect him to personally remedy the situation, though.
- I find it so adorable, Sociology, that you think you can act like a social science when you want and then pretend you know what you're doing in the humanities world. You talk about experiments and data and hypotheses and then move on as if you understand deconstruction. I really don't know what to make of you. Also, how, precisely are you not anthropology?
- I was in a class that was going to be horrific. On the first day, we were assigned a group. A group that would discuss questions together every. single. class. AND would be doing a group project together. The same group all semester. But, I found out it was waived with some transfer credits.
- Of course, finding this out and getting this to actually happen has proved a headache. The adviser for languages and literature seems particularly useless. And, I feel like I'm going to get sucked into a catch-22 because the transfer admissions won't accept transfer by classes from previous degrees until approved by the adviser and the adviser won't approve them until the transfer admissions accepts them. Good thing they make everything so smooth and easy.
- I'm not able to take Star Trek. I feel sort of glum about this, but as a bonus, the directed readings will provide me, I'm sure, with an endless supply of funny stories.
- I'm always reminded the first few days of class that I'm such a snob. Like, in my institute class where one irritating guy said he was going into business and I thought to myself, "Of course you are." Or a guy in another class casually let it slip that he lived in Israel and Chile and San Francisco. So, you know he's cool, right? I probably shouldn't be allowed around people.
Posted by alea at 11:50 PM
I have a very complicated relationship with the notion of traveling. On the one hand, I love it. There's new places to see! Adventures to have! Friends and family to visit! On the other hand, there's bags to be packed! Planes to be boarded! Time to be consumed by simply waiting! Money to be spent! Fears to be had about overstaying your welcome! New places to navigate! Foreign bathrooms and beds and furniture to negotiate! It exhausts me even thinking about it. But it also exhilarates me.