Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rest

Sometimes I forget how good it feels, and how important it is, to just rest.

...

...

...

I want to add more words, to expound on the sensation of not having a to-do list, not submitting to the expediency of graduate school and work and being a grown-up, and...

yet

there's

something simple

about

breathing deep

and

falling asleep

before the movie ends

with friends.

...

It's kind of beautiful. :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

If Children Were Like Computers

If children were like computers, the education system would be a very different place.

Public school would be much less popular as an educational choice. Every time your child contracted an infection from the other children in his or her group, s/he would not only be sent home, but would have to un-learn everything s/he knew and start over from preschool again.

That might not be so bad in kindergarten, but by the sixth grade, re-learning the alphabet would get pretty old.

It's probably a good thing that children aren't like computers.

Speaking of which, I think I might start homeschooling Linus. When he gets back from the hospital. After he relearns his name. The other "children" in his "group" keep giving him the flu, and somehow the IT center doesn't think hand sanitizer will do the trick.

This whole starting over from scratch thing is not my favorite. Just saying...

A, B, C, D, E, F, G

1 + 1 = 2

Sigh.

It's Monday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I See Trouble Ahead

I think Marvin has begun reading "The Tortoise and the Hare" to Linus as a bedtime story.

This does not bode well.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WANTED

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go

When I found this I thought: Gee, thanks for telling me now.

But there's no use crying over spilt...dollars...or hours...or brain cells...or stuff. Right?

So instead, what we need are some super-fantabulous Alternate Careers for Unemployed, Over-Qualified Graduate School...Graduates.

What a great idea. I thereby submit for your consideration the following:

1. Royal Food Testers

Worried about those political enemies? Fearing a bit of Roman-style drink spiking? Call in your friendly neighborhood graduate student. Believe me, after eating unidentified three-week old leftovers that were advertised as "free food," we've pretty much developed the necessary immunity. Your average deadly poison will give us little more than a stomachache, and you can partake with an easy mind.

2. Psychological Research Subjects

You need people who exhibit signs of mental illness? The truly complex cases that will test your new product? Let me put it this way: we ruin our eyesight staring at tiny spots of ink or images on a screen which tell us nothing is real in order that we may produce even more tiny spots of ink which tell other people nothing is real. Need I say more?

3. University "Living Billboard" Marketing Solutions

Can't afford ads during the Super Bowl? Olympic coverage out of your price range? Never fear--the ultimate marketing solution is here! We willingly wear the same college t-shirts and sweatshirts for up to 10 consecutive years while coming in contact with dissatisfied individuals in your target demographic at up to three different locations. What's not to love? What's not to pay?

4. Coffee Shop Undercover Investigators

Does the local cafe water down its caffeine content in an effort to reduce overhead? Are the mugs really washed after every use? Whether you're the Secret Shoppers, the Better Business Bureau, or the Food and Drug Administration, chances are, you'd like to know. On the surface we're innocent, we're loyal, and we're naive: underneath, we're hard-nosed investigators waiting to have our caffeine addiction financed. For the price of a cup of coffee a day, we'll give you the scoop.

5. Scrabble Tournament Referees

Is "Shakespearean" a proper noun or an acceptable adjective? Is "culpa," as in "mea culpa" sufficiently in popular use to nullify its status as a foreign word? No one wants to look these things up. What you need is an expert in the obscure, the grammatical, and the nonsensical. Someone who, though they may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, can quickly rule on an illicit attempt to use "frumious" as a game-winning word on the justification that it appears in a work of literature.

Trust me. You need us. You just don't know it yet.

So you see, all is not lost, even for those who wander. A deeply rooted love of learning is not touched by the frost of a cold economic situation. We will endure. And we will do a far, far more useful thing for society than we have ever done.

N'est-ce pas?

Life in 10 seconds

Preparing an application for an overseas research grant for the summer is not a piece of cake. Maybe it is, but it's a pretty stale piece of cake. Due Feb. 1, lots to do yet. Now reading David Walker's Appeal, Merchant of Venice, and The Country Wife, among dozens of articles. Just finished a rewrite of a novel I wrote six years ago; bravely stepping out to the next phase--getting feedback from friends. Yikes. Conference next week to present a paper on Plato and Thomas Hardy. Double yikes. Classes, work, homework, and deep thoughts top off the list.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back in Business

Starting back to classes tomorrow.

Graduate school, take 2. Newly resolved NOT to leave final papers for the last week, but not particularly confident in my ability to fulfill said resolution. Newly resolved not to trip on the stairs as frequently, or to patronize Starbucks as often, or...

Cancel that.

Newly resolved that classes start tomorrow.

End of story.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Avatar Messiah

Check out "The Messiah Complex," an interesting perspective on the film Avatar, by David Brooks in the New York Times. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I find Brooks' analysis fascinating, especially in light of some of the literary theory I've been reading.

Those of you who've already seen the movie, what do you think?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bucket-less Bucket Lists

Today, I donated my hair to Locks of Love.

Although I've been planning to do it for a while, I must confess feeling a little like Jo in Little Women, and that "vain part of me" misses my long hair. However, the fact that I was really worried/nervous/almost chickened out tells me it was probably a good time to do it.

Donating my hair is one of the first things I've been able to "check off" my unofficial bucket-less bucket list.

I don't want to be the kind of person who can only repeat, with envy, the stories of others.

I've been thinking a lot in the past year about what it means to live fully, and to live free from fear, rather than carpe diem. I think living free from fear means being wholly present in whatever circumstances I find myself, willing to experience both delight and sorrow without hiding, and keeping my eyes open for glimpses of beauty in the people, events, and places I encounter.

I'm still formulating my ideas, and I doubt I'll formally write a checklist, because for me it's harder to take advantage of spontaneous opportunities than to make lists.

Some ideas are trivial, some serious: I'd like to road trip across the United States, volunteer with a humanitarian/social justice organization here or overseas, perform in a musical, and ride in a hot air balloon, among other things.

There are elements of fear in each, and that's part of the reason I want to do them; because I know there is something more than the fear, and the ability to step out in faith is part of being healed, of being made new.

So here's to being made new! (short hair and all...)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009 (+) Pages Turned

Following the trend, I decided to pull together the list of books I've read over the past year. My list of "to read" books grows faster than I can read them, but I'd still love to hear the number one "must read" book you think I should tackle in 2010.

Cheers!

Reading List 2009

Adorno – The Culture Industry
Alvarez – In the Time of the Butterflies
Aristotle – On Poetics
Baudrillard – Simulacra and Simulation (Glaser)
Bauer – The Well-Educated Mind
Benjamin – Illuminations
Blake – "The Book of Urizen"
Blake – "Visions of the Daughters of Albion"
Blake – "Milton"
Bloom – Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
Braddon – Lady Audley’s Secret
Camus – “Myth of Sisyphus”
Camus – The Rebel
Camus – Reflections on the Guillotine
Coetzee – Waiting for the Barbarians
Collins – The Woman in White
Cooper – Over Sea, Under Stone
Cooper – The Dark is Rising
Cooper – Greenwitch
Cooper – The Grey King
Cooper – Silver on the Tree
Cosby – Cosbyology
Dickens – Great Expectations
Dickens – The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Dostoevsky – The Idiot (Garnett/Yuffa)
Durkheim – The Division of Labor
Eagleton – Literary Theory: An Introduction
El Saadawi – Woman at Point Zero
Eliot – The Lifted Veil
Everts – God in the Flesh
Fanon – Peau noir, masques blancs
FitzGerald – The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Frye – Fearful Symmetry
Gaddis – The Cold War: A New History
Garcia-Marquez – Love in the Time of Cholera (Grossman)
Hardy – Jude the Obscure
Havel – Temptation (?)
Homer – The Iliad (Butler)
Homer – The Odyssey (Butler)
Ionesco – Les Chaises
Irving – A Prayer for Owen Meany
Ishiguro – Never Let Me Go
Jones – Mister Pip
Joyce – Dubliners
Kincaid – Autobiography of My Mother
Kotlowitz – There Are No Children Here
L’Engle – The Arm of the Starfish
LeGuin – Lavinia
Levitt/Dubner – Freakonomics
Li – The Vagrants
Lynch – Catching the Big Fish
Marks – Cort├ęs
Morrison – A Mercy
Nafisi – Things I Have Been Silent About
Niffenegger – The Time Traveler’s Wife
O’Brien – The Things They Carried
Paolini – Brisingr
Paolini – Eldest
Paolini – Eragon
Picoult – Harvesting the Heart
Ragland-Sullivan/Bracher – Lacan and the Subject of Language
Ramazani – The Dance of the Rose and the Nightingale
Rivers – Leota’s Garden
Rodley – Lynch on Lynch
Roose – The Unlikely Disciple
Roy – The God of Small Things
Rushdie – Midnight’s Children
Said – Orientalism
Shakespeare – As You Like It
Shakespeare – Henry IV, p. 2
Shakespeare – Henry VI, p. 1
Shakespeare – Henry VI, p. 2
Shakespeare – Henry VI, p. 3
Shakespeare – Henry VIII
Shakespeare – King John
Shakespeare – Richard II
Shakespeare – Venus and Adonis
Shaw – Pygmalion
Shusterman – Unwind
Stoker – Dracula
Tolan – The Lemon Tree
Twain – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Valette/Morgenroth – C’est de la prose
Walcott – Selected Poems
Weir – Eleanor of Aquitaine
Weir – The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Winter – Perfecting Ourselves to Death
Wood – East Lynne
Wrong – In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz

*Books in bold are the ones I especially liked.
*Names in parentheses are translators.

Friday, January 1, 2010

O Resolutions Mine

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

In celebration, I've decided to return to a tradition begun last year--that of the New Year's Un-Resolution, otherwise known as stating the obvious. :-)

In review: this year I did not resolve to watch Veggie Tales more regularly. I did not stop (permanently) writing for my blogs. I still trip on giant dust bunnies named Bob in my room. My snooze button is still fully functional. Chaotic Christmas letter--check. No relationship status on Facebook. Despair.com--check. Alliteration--all the time. Big words--indubitably. Serious resolutions? Ha.

So, as Miss Stacy so poetically put it--"tomorrow is another day." Or was that Annie? Ahem.

Un-Resolution number ONE

I will not become addicted to Facebook applications...unless I do.

Un-Resolution number TWO

I will probably still dance around my kitchen on a regular basis.

Un-Resolution number THREE

I will never cease to make fun of the Twilight craze, even if I eventually read the books.

Un-Resolution number FOUR

I will drink no more or less coffee than I will drink this year.

Un-Resolution number FIVE

My computers will have names, will protest loudly at every opportunity, and will probably with a high likelihood of chance "lose" a few important files each semester.

Un-Resolution number SIX

I will make an average of two random comments or non-transitionalized remarks containing an average of one made-up word every fifteen minutes of most of my interactions.

Un-Resolution number SEVEN

I will refuse to wear rubber rain boots on campus, purely on principle. Unless I give in.

Un-Resolution number EIGHT

I will not gain a substantially higher quantity of artistic talent extending beyond rhapsodies over the stairs I trip up and the occasional caffeine-induced 3 a.m. short story or song lyric that is never written down.

Un-Resolution number NINE

I will spend at least fifteen minutes griping about the fact that all dressy shoes sizes 9 and above have a three-inch heel, regardless of the actual facts, whatever they may be. I said regardless of the facts, so it doesn't really matter anyway.

Un-Resolution number TEN

I will most likely write another post very much like this one next year. Can't wait, can you?