Friday, May 30, 2003

I am lame, but my hair totally affects my mood

So I curled the ends of my hair out instead of under tonight, and really, it makes a world of difference. I feel trendy and flippy and carefree. It's a 180 degree change (or more, if you want to be literal) from the usual staid, curled-under look I have. Kind of like going from being a brunette to...well, any other color, really.

However, if you have short hair (shorter than shoulder-length or so), beware. I have only ever seen one person pull off the short-hair-flipped-out look. Most people end up looking like they have a duck butt on their head.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

First Iowa, then the world!

This is a war I could fully support.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Okay, I lied

I decided to post the triptych in its component parts because it's pretty long. Here's the first one. Hopefully the other two will be finished tonight.

You're All Right

I was 15 when I last saw my grandfather. I had had my learner’s permit for about three months and done a rather limited amount of driving, even though the small plastic card had burned a hole in my back pocket all the way from Wayne to Pendleton. My parents let me drive a single two-hour stretch, less than one-twelfth of the actual time it takes to travel between the two cities. Demands for more time went unheeded, and I felt cruelly persecuted. My parents were clearly trying to prevent me from ever becoming a driver or a grown-up at all! My brother, who was over eighteen months younger than I, had spent more time behind the wheel of a car by the age of six, due in large part to my grandfather and father, who let him drive their pick-ups short distances when they were out doing man things presumably unsuitable for girl children. Life was cruel.

As long as I could remember, Grandpa had had two pickups, the gold one and the blue one, and it was in these that my brother learned to drive. I presume each had specific uses, but I was completely unable to distinguish a pattern in which one they would choose to take on any given outing. I preferred the gold pickup, not for a good reason, but simply because it seemed shinier. In fact, I had once tried to improve on its shininess by teaming up with my cousin Kristy and washing it one afternoon. The scrub brushes made a delicious swishing noise as we pushed the brush down hard, then ran the length of the truck side, leaving a trail of soapy water from bumper to bumper. Grandpa’s reaction upon hearing of this free service was less than enthusiastic, worse even than the time we’d deliberately flooded the garage. “Ma truck! What have ya done to ma paint job! Go see if your grandmother has something for you to do, ya good-for-nothin’ kids, and don’t touch my truck ever again.” He wasn’t really angry—we were hand-fed M&Ms from the garage candy dish later that afternoon—and I don’t think we scraped off too much paint, but all access to water was strictly controlled after that summer.

* * *
We took the gold pickup when we went out. Somehow, I think Grandpa saw the rectangle scorched in my back pocket where I carried the learner’s permit, and one rainy afternoon about a week into our stay, he loaded up me and my and we headed out for a driving lesson.

I don’t remember my dignity being offended at the idea of getting a lesson after I had already taken—and passed with an A—driver’s education the summer before. Grandpa, oddly sensitive to the teenage ego, must have phrased it more carefully, something like, “Well, let’s go see if you can drive better than your mother says.” I’m almost sure that was how it went. Like most adolescents, I was eager to prove my parents wrong about anything, and my lack of driving skill was a particular sore point. And time spent with my grandfather was rare enough that I was willing to tolerate my know-it-all brother tagging along.

We drove out into the hills surrounding Pendleton. It was winter, and snow lay dirty in the ditches and cupped the bottom of fence posts, but for the most part the ground was bare, dampened to a dull brown with the dreary, persistent mist that would have been snow if the mercury had ridden just a few degrees lower in the thermometer. The roads weren’t slick, although they were wet, and when we drove off of the paved roads onto gravel ones, the ground was still firm. Grandpa pointed out a deer and a few pheasants, although I was forbidden to look; I tended to turn the wheel when I turned my head. The houses were somewhat far apart and the roads narrow, although we weren’t far outside of the city limits. Another pickup passed us from the other direction; I nervously pulled a little too far over on the shoulder. “Get back on the road!” Ethan yelled.

“Shush,” my grandfather replied. “She’s fine.” And to me, “You’re fine, just wanted to check out that tree. You’ve seen it, now get on back over.” He was always calm, faintly amused. It was a refreshing change from my father, who when stressed tended to raise his voice as he repeated himself: “Fifteen miles an hour around the corner, fifteen miles an hour around the corner, FIFTEEN MILES AN HOUR AROUND THE CORNER, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” I suspect he probably wanted to swear and would have if it had been my brother instead of me at the wheel. My eyes still fly to the speedometer when I make a 90-degree turn, checking to see that the needle is indeed hovering somewhere around 15 mph.

My mother was no better, gripping the dashboard and flexing her brake foot convulsively while failing to produce complete sentences. “ERIN! There’s—! Watch tha—!” When confronted, Mom theorized that Grandpa’s calm came from the fact that I was not his child and that made the experience amusing rather than terrifying. This made no sense to me; it was still his car and his life on the line when I was behind the wheel. I just figured he was more laid back and less into picking on me. I liked driving with him. Even when I accidentally pressed the gas instead of the brake, coming within inches of the car in front of us, obediently stopped at the red light and having no pedal confusion, Grandpa just laughed like someone had told him a good joke. My heart was threatening to break ribs with its furious pounding and my fingers refused to release the steering wheel, but he seemed unaffected. His belly shook a little and all the wrinkles on his face folded up neatly as he chuckled at me. “You’re all right. Brake on the left, ya good-for-nothin’ kid,” he laughed. The light turned green. “Head up the hill; we’re goin’ to Bi-Mart.”

* * *

Last summer, six years after my grandfather taught me to drive with patience, I found myself in the passenger seat, trying to teach a friend to drive my Tracker, which is shinier to me than even the gold pickup. I don’t let many people drive it, and certainly not six-year-old boys or teenagers in the first flush of driving lust, so I was expecting to be as nervous, flexing my foot and yelling, “Slower on the turns! Brake! NO! Clutch, then brake!” But I didn’t channel my parents. Instead, I heard my grandfather’s easy laughter bubble out of my mouth as Nolan lurched around a parking lot and came to a screeching stop, the engine dying with a groan. “Clutch on the left, ya good-for-nothin’ punk. Clutch on the left. You’re all right.”
For Bo, whose praise evidently gave me writer's block.

Sorry the blog's been so boring lately. I'm working on a triptych of stories about my grandparents that I'm writing for their anniversary. If I ever finish them, I will post them and then you will have a lot to read. Or, knowing some of you, a lot to ignore.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I can't breathe

You can understand how I would be a little crabby.

Monday, May 26, 2003

More on the media:

For some reason I've become a little media obsessed lately. Not sure why—maybe I just like to complain, and there's plenty there to complain about.

For example, have you read about this Jayson Blair thing? Super-interesting. I, much like most of America, don't know who to blame more. That kid is a total punk—doesn't appear to have any remorse at all, not to mention journalistic ethics, and has generally been a bad apple from the get-go, but the Times sort of did this to itself. Get some fact-checkers, honestly, and quit giving people so many free passes. And an editor-in-chief who's not so into ass-kissers.

I've pretty much stopped watching TV entirely now. I still love movies, but TV has gotten to the point where it just irritates the crap out of me. The only thing I pay attention to anymore are the commercials, and those I watch online.

When weighing the relative merits of the three major weekly news magazines tonight, I rejected Time on the grounds that it was too masturbatory. Has anybody else noticed this? Time is pretty much in love with itself, and not afraid to tell you about it. As a matter of fact, the entire AOL-TimeWarner conglomerate is a little too narcissistic for comfort. How many times have you read the words "Entertainment Weekly parent company AOL-TimeWarner" while reading something in EW? Too many. I end up feeling like I've walked in on a very private moment.

Clear Channel Communications, on the other hand, is not masturbatory; they're too busy pleasing their advertisers, the record labels, and everybody but their listeners—I need a radio station that has more than five songs in the rotation, for the love of Pete! And Cox Communications is not much better. Of course, the other option is KTRU. Right, pirating and mix CDs it is.

Please email your congressperson about the FCC.
"But nice self-esteem there, Barbie."

Driving home from M3's tonight, this is the promo I heard on one radio station:

"Houston's favorite station for the country legends is Houston's only station for the country legends: 97.1."

How is that special, now? You're the favorite because there's no other alternative? Congratulations! That's quite an accomplishment. Now play some damn music and stop saying stupid stuff.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

I don't usually embrace causes, but...

This one is easy to do something about, even if it's small.

The FCC is considering a relaxation of the regulations on media which would allow a fewer number of companies to own a larger share of the market—essentially, media anti-trust regulations become a thing of the past, and we only get to hear the opinions and views of a few large conglomerates. Hardly unbiased, I promise you.

So. If you would rather have a more balanced media environment where independent networks and journalists and so forth actually have a chance of survival (and we're not suddenly living in 1984), go to this website and dash off a quick email to your congressional representative. It's arranged so you don't have to remember who that is or to compose the email yourself, although I encourage you to put a personal message at the end so your congressperson knows you actually care and aren't a) a form-filling-out computer program or b) a lemming.

I am a snot factory

Damn you, Houston, Texas! Damn you, and your pollen too!

Friday, May 23, 2003

And another thing!

This is seriously a case name I ran across today in the Evidence Handbook.

United States v. 33.90 Acres of Land, More or Less, Situated in Bexar County (5th Cir. 1983)

Why is the United States suing a plot of land? How is it possible for AN INERT PIECE OF GROUND to commit a crime? HOW?!
Law-makers are...not intelligent

One of the funniest parts of my job is running spell check on large sections of legal code, both Texas and federal. I don't know what the deal is, but evidently normal nouns, verbs, and adjectives aren't enough for these people. My spell checker gets snagged on some really great words. For example: surplusage. This is an actual word, found somewhere in the bowels of the Texas State Business and Commerce Code. Surplusage. What is that? It's "surplus" with a noun ending on it. Like at some point, the codifier was going, "Surplus is a noun...but it's not quite enough of a noun. We need to nounenate it. More noun! It needs to be nounnier!" Other good examples of this that I've found (as Dave Barry says, I'm not making this up): additivity, wharfage, supplementations, peonage.

Sometimes the hilarity comes from a misapplication of endings. Case in point: recordation. Presumably means "the act of making a record" or, what we normal people like to call "recording." "Effectuated," more commonly known as "effected" and "representationor," which is a fun non-word for "representative."

What is this reckless disregard for the rules of English? This is why laws get a bad rap, you know. People can't understand them because THEY'RE NOT WRITTEN IN ANY SORT OF VALID LANGUAGE. Gah!

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

A little help-out, here?

Okay, I need some advice. I'm trying to decide whether to apply to grad school this summer (meaning that I would go after I got back from Austria) or wait until after I get back to apply.

The advantages of applying: I get through with the Ph.D sooner, I like school a lot, GRE scores still valid, able to get better recommendations.

The advantages of not applying: I have a job that I like lined up for when I get back, I would live in Houston for another year, I wouldn't have to take the GRE subject test in Vienna this fall.

Any advice you can offer would be gladly accepted, if not followed to the letter. Thanks.
The circus on Dorrington Street

My next-door neighbor, a ridiculously short and perpetually dusty 40ish man who expects me to talk to his cat whenever I encounter them, got evicted while I was gone. Evidently he's not been paying his rent, which I kind of figured out by the notes my landlady kept taping to his door: "Stuart! I only have $285 for March! Call me!" and "Stuart! Call me about your rent ASAP!"

I enjoy this sort of drama and am kind of sad that I wasn't around when the eviction notices got taped to everybody's door. Hope for a major scene still exists, though, as Stuart was supposed to move out by 19 May, yet his shoes are still clearly parked outside of his door. I am hoping to see him carrying his undersized bicycle up the stairs this afternoon to confirm my suspicion that he still lives there. I can only hope my landlady or her lawyer will come pound on his door while I'm home, so I can listen. There's got to be some advantage to the thin walls of my apartment building.

To be perfectly frank, my apartment is more than a little...questionable. My place is huge for the amount of rent that I'm paying, but there's no water pressure, a rather upsetting frequency of roach sightings, and the neighbors are, well, interesting, to say the least. The entertainment is like a little bonus for my rent money—like getting the water paid. M3's favorite is the crazy lady in #4, who uses her parking space for everything but a car. Things she's put in it since she moved in: her plants, a fish tank (empty), herself—scantily clad for sunbathing—, a bicycle, paper sacks filled with clothes (I think), various pieces of that annoyingly cute wood knick-knack stuff with hearts and crap carved in it, and a bench. Her door is constantly cracked open, and she watches the comings and goings in the parking lot with a sharp eye. I think she asked M3 for a pot at one point, and M3's been freaked out since. I personally kind of enjoy the lady in #4; it's always interesting to see what she's got in her parking space, or, if her door's open wide enough, to see if she's added any more creepy clown posters to her collection.

Then there's the guy in #2, who has a pair of rather fat twin 19-year-olds visit him frequently. It seriously took me six months to figure out that there were two of them; I thought they were just really antsy and kept leaving and coming back. They watch T.V. and drink beer with the door open but the windows curtained over. The actual tenant smiles and asks how I'm doing, and apologizes profusely when he parks in my parking space. He does not explain why he is in my space when his is clearly empty, but I take it in stride. His visitors give me what M3 calls the Pez—one short upward nod.

My other neighbors are somewhat quieter and less obtrusive. I'm concerned that the girl in #10 may have disappeared entirely; I haven't seen her in several months. The woman in #1 parks like she's on some sort of mind-altering substance, but her parking space is far from mine, so I don't care. The woman in #6 has mardi gras beads on her door. And I have a cat that sits in the window and freaks out whenever somebody walks by. I suppose it balances out.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Dear Southwest Airlines:

I will never fly another domestic airline again if you will only continue serving Chips Ahoy as the in-flight snack.

All my love,

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Life on the homestead

I don't talk about life in Wayne a whole lot. I mean, my family comes up frequently, and occasionally I'll mention the town, but it's rare that I talk about the actual plot of land where I grew up. Maybe I'm trying not to seem like a total country bumpkin, but for all intents and purposes, that's what I am.

My parents live ten miles south of town on an 80-acre plot of land. No, they don't farm. Not even a little bit, unless you count the aspargus patch down by the beaver dam. They don't have cows or pigs or horses. It is, however, still remarkably bucolic. I walked around the section yesterday with a friend (if you don't know what a section is, it's one square mile, or 640 acres—so we walked four miles total). We scared up two deer and almost 30 pheasants, ceded the road to three tractors, and had to yell at the dog to get out of the creek four times. We commented on the fact that the farmers are running out of time to get their crops planted due to the extreme rain they've gotten here in the past month. Late planting leads to late harvest, which increases the danger of crops being killed by frost. I haven't talked or thought about this stuff since before I graduated from high school, but the interest was still there, the instinctive response to the agricultural rhythms of the region.

I was sitting on my parents' porch swing later that evening, watching the goldfinches pick birdseed out of the feeder, and wondering if I could go back to living so far from everything I've gotten used to in Houston—the theatre, businesses that stay open past ten o'clock, having people surrounding you all the time. I don't know what I would do—how I would make a living—but I think I could have sat on that porch swing forever.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

You'd be crabby too if a house fell on your sister.

Glad to report that I made it safely from Houston to Wayne, although there was a brief period of excitement in Omaha: the tornado sirens went off and M4 and I got stuck in the children's section of a Borders. We sat on the little stage and looked at I Spy books for 15 minutes while covertly watching the cute desk clerk, who would answer the phone when it rang, very politely explain that there was a tornado, then hang up and snark, "No, I'm not going to go find your book!" He was thrilled to be sitting around watching the weather and hanging out while on the clock. We named him Tom; I don't know why.

As I've explained before, I like tornados and storms and extreme weather of every kind. I got a little thrill of nervous excitement when the Borders clerks herded us back to the oversized Harry Potter display and turned on the local weather. I don't know how long that excitement would have lasted if an actual tornado had ripped through, flinging books and people and what have you everywhere, but it was exciting while it lasted.

And I didn't even think of Wizard of Oz once.

Take off, hoser.

For the two of you who weren't aware, just wanted to let you know I'm leaving in...a little more than five hours for the airport to take this blog back to its roots. E3 is graduating and I have to put in an appearance. Plus, I'm tired of eating cereal two meals a day.

Beauty, eh?

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Not unlike...a ninja

I'm pleased to report that Scrubs has been renewed for next season. Best. Show. Ever.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Stuff like this never happens in the Unicameral

I don't know whether this is the coolest or the lamest thing ever: 49 Democratic legislators from Texas fled the state today to prevent a redistricting law from being passed.

Actually, now that I think about it, it's pretty awesome. I'll use a hockey metaphor to explain, for those of you who don't want to read the article, or who don't care about Texas politics. The redistricting bill is basically a power play strategy (can only be used when the other team has fewer players) to score a goal against the Democrats. But it's not just any goal, it's the game-winning (election-winning) goal. So to prevent that from happening, the other team basically took off their skates, ran out of the rink, and hid so their dads couldn't make them come play even though they were clearly going to lose anyway. If they wait it out long enough, the other team will get tired and start trying to think up a new strategy, and they can come back and play on more equal terms. The hiding-out plan is risky because the commissioner of hockey (if such a thing exists, he would equate to the voting public) could kick them off the team.

I love it. I always like trick plays in sports: the suicide squeeze, the fumble-risky, that play "Hawaii" we used to use in eighth-grade get the idea. So, I salute you, Texas Democrats. Go for the hat trick.
Cutest thing ever: classified to prevent my gruesome death

Instead of going back to bed tonight, I did two things of note: played with the Ms (who shall henceforth, when referred to en masse, be known as 3M) and talked to Tex. We'll address these one at a time.

Playing with 3M: Although I play with one or more of the Ms almost every day, but this outing with 3M marked the official beginning of summer, even though M! still has three weeks of school left and the rest of us have been out of class for two weeks or more. We went to Empire Cafe, the official sponsor of 3M & E summer cake consumption, then played Trivial Pursuit at M2's new apartment. I'm pleased to report that M2 and I kicked a little booty, fending off a last minute rally from M! and M3. Hanging out with 3M is an exercise in hilarity. And patience.

Talking to Tex: Tex is out of his ever-loving mind. He has moved in with his girlfriend of eight months, with whom he has evidently discussed marriage and babies; he is starting a full-time job with Dynegy and buying a truck tomorrow. I don't know how much more grown-up one person can get at the tender age of 22, and it's mind-boggling. This is the kid who spent last summer getting drunk, watching baseball, and hooking up with a string of girls, one of whom was a hypochondriac stalker type. I just don't get it.

Happy Mother's Day to M4 (40 minutes late). I forgot to say it this morning, but I was barely conscious, so I accept no blame. Anyway, love you, Mom. I'm not going to cry about it or anything, but still.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

The tiredest girl in the whole wide world

Nobody tells you that graduation will make you more tired than you've ever been in your entire life. I slept from 11 p.m. last night to 5 p.m. today, with one short interruption to get my parents in the car and off to Nebraska again. And really, I think I could go back to bed right now and sleep until I had to get up for work in the morning. Nooooooooo problem.

Friday, May 09, 2003

On How to Survive Pre-Graduation Rigamarole:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. This is actually just good advice for life, but still.

  2. Get a cell phone. I spent most of an excruciatingly boring awards presentation ceremony text messaging my friends ("This is boring! Entertain me, monkey."), and I'll be doing the same thing tomorrow during the actual commencement ceremony. Sharing the misery helps, and as an added bonus, it takes a lot of time to type those messages with my phone's tiny keys, so time flies. Maybe this is a little irreverant, but please see the next item.

  3. Be irreverant. At the awards dinner tonight, a graduate student was presented with the James W. Budd Award. When this award was announced, M4, Senior Birdman, and E4, in a weird hive-mind moment, all looked at me and whispered, "Buuuuuuuuud," like Rudy on The Cosby Show used to do. We proceeded to (quietly) crack up. Running under-the-breath commentary is crucial. Then, in collusion with the other family at our table, we played mind games with our waiter—conned him into leaving an extra dessert for the empty place at the end of the table, asking for another spoon and then giving him weird looks and denying that we wanted it when he brought it. Malice is fun.

  4. Buy yourself something nice. In my case, this is, of course, books. Took the fam to Half-Price Books and bought about $80 of good reading material, including a couple of things on my summer reading list. Especially enjoyable because nobody was droning on about how smart Rice kids are and what an accomplishment graduation is.

So that's the story thus far. Tomorrow: On How to Survive Life in a Convection Oven.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Mufti update

I decided to be less lazy than usual, and I looked "mufti" up in the dictionary. Evidently it's slang for civilian clothing, used predominantly by people who usually wear uniforms. Faaaascinating.
Words my spell-checker suggested to replace "multi-":

  • mullet

  • mulatto

  • mulish

  • mufti

  • What the hell is a mufti?

    Wednesday, May 07, 2003

    Why yes, I am feeling a bit belligerant. Why do you ask?

    I'm starting to get a little stressed out about the events surrounding graduation, particularly the slew of stuff happening on Friday. PBK initiation at 2, Honors Dinner at 5, convocation at 7. When am I supposed to chill with the fam? Sometime on Saturday, between the three-hour ceremony and the two parties we're supposed to attend? Sunday, when they're heading home at some ungodly early hour?

    I'm not complaining that I'm graduating, I'm just chafing a little under all the expectations everybody seems to have about what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. I don't want to go to honors dinner and I don't want to go to convocation, but I feel like people are expecting me to. I want graduation to be relaxed (Italian—everybody just hangs out and is cool, "Ciaaoooo,"), not an endless round of things that have to be endured.

    This tends to be a pattern in my life; I have a hard time saying no to anything. A friend told me once, in the middle of a fight, that I made it impossible to say "no" when I asked/ordered something.Retrospectively this makes me laugh; I can't say no to anything, either, so I think it all balances out. I get a sick feeling in my stomach if I feel like I'm not living up to expectations—even if they're just what I think expectations are, and not what anybody's actually told me they expect. Do my parents expect me to go to convocation? They haven't said, and I don't think they really care all that much, but the idea of skipping it makes me uncomfortable nonetheless.

    Clearly I have issues.

    Anyway. Here's how it's going to happen, at least as of right this minute, when I'm writhing a little bit at the idea of facing all of this and fed up with people asking me to do things that I don't want to. I'm going to go to PBK and the honors dinner, but I'm going to skip convocation and just hang out with my family. Maybe we'll go get ice cream. Maybe we'll go to the beach. I don't know; it could get crazy. I mean, not that crazy, since my parents are the ones who gave me this overdeveloped sense of responsibility in the first place, but you know, crazyish. Okay, mildly interesting. Shut up.

    Saturday, I will go to graduation. I will wear shorts and a tanktop under my robe; maybe I will wear flip flops and maybe I'll wear dress shoes. I will certainly wear bug spray and sunglasses. I may carry a purse despite orders not to, and I will have my cell phone in my pocket so I can text message my friends. I will go to two receptions, where I may or may not drink more margaritas than is strictly prudent while wearing the new dress I bought for $15 at Old Navy yesterday. Then I will hang out with my parents more in the evening, maybe see a movie or watch my cat try to take her new collar off.

    Because it's my graduation, dammit. It really is, for once, all about me.

    Tuesday, May 06, 2003

    I like lists

    M! and I have decided that the world would be a better place if everybody used British slang:

  • wanker (accent required)

  • bloody/bleedin'

  • fiver

  • bloke

  • snog

  • shag

  • oi!

  • corker

  • smashing

  • squidgy

  • and commands
  • Piss off

  • Bugger off

  • Get knotted.

  • I would be a happier person if I heard these words more often. So...get on that or get knotted, ya wanker.
    Things to Do While at Home Next Week:

  • Find decent baseball glove.

  • Figure out some way to sneak book into E3's commencement ceremony. (What? She's not even coming to mine.) Note to self: sit on other end of row from M4.

  • Liberate bottle of Kirschwasser from kitchen cabinet.

  • Avoid all high school teachers (except Frau Z., who is too hilarious to be missed). Also to be avoided: ex-bf, ex-boss, engaged acquaintances from high school.

  • Not intimate that Rice is better school than Wash U., even if, in heart of hearts, believe so.

  • See Matrix Reloaded.

  • Tease E2 about "flavor of the month."

  • Raid parents' library.

  • Remind self that am flying to Austria in 4 months; have no extra room for books. Limit stealing to really important items.

  • Act innocent.

  • Try to avoid being asked to clean, paint, organize, or otherwise deal with parents' house, including own bedroom.

  • Eat, drink, be merry.
  • Monday, May 05, 2003

    Housecleaning Update

    My parents arrive in 72 hours, give or take a couple, and so far my dining room is the only room in the house that's under control. Tonight I'm going to a movie, tomorrow night is laundry night. Clearly my parents are just going to have to deal with my bedroom being a mess.

    But after 22 years of that, they should be used to it.

    Sunday, May 04, 2003

    So weekends are actually relaxing in the real world. Who knew?

    In a continuing theme of reveling in my hard-earned freedom, today I accomplished nothing except to check the first title off my summer reading list (Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card; really incredible story, if a little heavy on the exposition at times) and get started reading a book Mananda loaned to me last week in an evil attempt to distract me from my finals. I'm pleased to say that I foiled her cunning plan. Grades came out today; I got three A's and an A+. The A+ came in Ed. Psych, oddly enough, which was the class I cared least about. Go figure. Anyway, I'm making up for my diligence—I've read 400+ pages today, and I have every intention of reading a hundred or so more before bed.

    On a different note entirely: congratulations to M3 for becoming an aunt today. I would say she didn't have much to do with it, but her forbearance in not killing her sister these last few months has been impressive.

    Friday, May 02, 2003

    A paeon to my chair

    I have the best chair ever at work. It is leather, or at least a good approximation of it, and comfortable; the back is high enough that I can slouch down and rest my head on it without my butt sliding onto the floor in a manner embarrassing for the workplace (or any place, really). If I want, I can tilt it back and sit with my legs dangling, toes not quite touching the floor. That makes me feel young and carefree, especially when I swing my feet. The rollers on my chair are loose and I can go shooting across the department with one push. My back and butt are well-cushioned (not only by the chair, but hey, the chair helps).The armrests are curved just right; they fit my elbows but never get in my way.

    My chair is black and comfy and I don't mind sitting in it eight hours or more a day. Better than you can say for most furniture.
    X on Toast

    I went to see X2 last night at 12:01 a.m. with the Ms and Mananda. (Worlds collide! As you can tell, I'm living life with wild abandon now that I'm done with finals.)

    I have to say, the movie was pretty much awesome, and well worth the sand-in-my-eyes feeling that I'm suffering as I stare blankly at my computer. The previews were good, the crowd was enthusiastic, and I only heard one cell phone the whole two and a half hours of the movie. (Please note, we were in the theatre from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. A little overzealous in wanting to get the good seats, I feel.) Despite being a comic-book movie, it didn't suffer from excessively cheesy dialogue. The special effects were awesome, and Alan Cumming was cute as a button.

    All in all, two thumbs up.

    P.S. If I were a mutant, I would want to be Mystique. Or maybe Jean Grey.

    Thursday, May 01, 2003

    Done and done.

    My thesis is printing even as I type, which means that I am done with finals, and therefore, done with college!

    Final stats on the thesis: 55 pages (with bibliography), 16,878 words, two editors. Was it ever read by my advisor? Hell if I know.

    Special thank yous to M3 and M!, who read the rough draft even though they had no idea what I was talking about and didn't particularly care. Gold stars for both of you.

    And now I'm off to bed, children, but I leave you with this quote from Lillian Hellman, one of the memoirists about whom I wrote my thesis."When I was fourteen, in one of my many religious periods, I yelled across that Sunday's dinner table at a great-aunt, 'You have a spatulate face made to dig in the mud for money. May God forgive you." (Pentimento, 181).

    You have a spatulate face.

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