Friday, April 29, 2011

Is It Really National Book Week?

Well, that depends on whom you ask.


Next question: Does it matter?

No, not really.

For the purposes of this blog, It is National Book Week. The rules [that someone else anonymous designed and that have spread like unset jello across the Internet] are: Grab the closest book to you. Turn to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence. Do not mention the title.

"Some of the boys were useful to him, and he flattered them outrageously."

And done.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Epitome of Cuteness

This morning, I woke up with the urge to weed my back "garden": a much-needed task, but a pretty mundane one.

Then I saw what I thought was the chipmunk that haunts our house in hopes of finding something edible -- like green peppers, basil, carrots, flowers, etc.

But it wasn't!

Cue tiny bunny adorableness music.

Poor little fellow had gotten into the garden and couldn't figure out how to get back out.

We had an eye-to-eye moment, and then I opened the gate and pointed him toward it.

Made my morning.

I hope the little guy makes it home.

(See last summer's post "It's the Little Things" for previous instance of the Jen-Bunny connection. This connection is enhanced by the fact that I currently have no bunny edibles planted in the garden.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rainy Day Reading

Although there's a measure of irony in using my first few days of freedom to go to the library and check out MORE books (having not yet returned the monstrous stacks now subdividing my dining room), that's what I did.

Fun books.

That has made all the difference.

On this drizzly Friday, I'm reading some Vaclav Havel (Czech playwright and politician: The Art of the Impossible and Largo Desolato), some Elizabeth Strout (American novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner: Abide with Me), some Yiyun Li (Chinese-American short storyist and MacArthur Fellow: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers), and some Irene Zabytko (Ukrainian-American novelist: When Luba Leaves Home).

I'm also working my way through Dave Eggers's Hearbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but that one requires some recuperative breaks now and then.

It feels really good to read without a pencil in hand...unless I want to.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In the (Language) of Caesar

...scrīpsī, defendī, vīcī: gaudeō! -- dormiam.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Few Words

I'm reading/skimming Margaret Cavendish's 1666 utopian narrative "Blazing World" for the first time, and I have to say, I'm intrigued. So much is going on in this first passage from the dedicatory epistle.

THIS present Description of a New VVorld; was made as an Appendix to my Observations upon Experimental Philosophy; and, having some Sympathy and Coherence with each other, were joyned together as Two several Worlds, at their Two Poles. But, by reason most Ladies take no delight in Philosophical Arguments, I separated some from the mentioned Observations, and caused them to go out by themselves, that I might express my Respects, in presenting to Them such Fancies as my Contemplations did afford. Ambitious as ever any of my Sex was, is, or can be; which is the cause, That though I cannot be Henry the Fifth, or Charles the Second; yet, I will endeavour to be, Margaret the First: and, though I have neither Power, Time, nor Occasion, to be a great Conqueror, like Alexander, or Cesar; yet, rather than not be Mistress of a World, since Fortune and the Fates would give me none, I have made One of my own. And thus, believing, or, at least, hoping, that no Creature can, or will, Envy me for this World of mine, I remain,
Noble Ladies, Your Humble Servant, M. NEWCASTLE.

Okay, I'm done now.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

Although I don't agree with the full extent of her philosophy, I really like Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, so I'm excited to see the first part of the film adaptation, which just came out this week.

So many things to do post-defense!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Defense Rap

What do you do when you're preparing for a master's thesis defense? I'll tell you - you write a rap about it.

Does it matter that you listen to musicals instead of rap, your voice is better suited to Disney princess songs than to Eminem, and you prefer waltzing to hip-hop?

Not a whit.


Channeling Fresh Prince.*


Shakespeare's Rapper**

Let me tell you how it happened when I scheduled my defense
When I wondered what was happenin' and everythin' was tense
My adviser said the main thing was for me to play it cool
But it's not so easy goin' when you're feelin' like a fool

Like a fool
Like a fool
'Fraid of lookin' like a fool

So I made myself a name-tag for a Master's candidate
And I told the whole committee that the time was gettin' late
Then they asked me who was Shakespeare and I felt a kind of shock
Stammered Bacon-Oxford-Washington while pleadin' with the clock

With the clock
With the clock
Wishin' light speed to the clock

But I knew we'd hit the moment; my degree was on the line
So I hit the rewind button and I told 'em I was fine
If you wanna know the answer to this pressin' mystery
Then you gotta ask me nicely 'cause it's in my custody

Got it under lock and key

They were full of expectation, I could see it in their eyes
Listen close, I said, I'll say it once, you know I tell no lies
Then I slid across the table my examination form
And I said you gotta sign this if you want me to inform

To inform
To inform
Gotta pay me to inform

There and then I saw their signatures appear upon the page
And I said next time you'll laugh when you see Shakespeare on the stage
'Cause by then you'll understand a joke you can't find in his book
You can never trust a grad who has a lean and hungry look

Hungry look
Hungry look
Then I ran out like a crook

*generally, accents on syllable 3, 7, 11, and 15
**The lyrics of this rap, like many, have no connection to reality. Hungry grad students just want to be fed, and are generally very trustworthy and docile. Yours truly also has no desire to comment on who this W.S. fellow might be.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It Became Spring!

(while I was inside writing my thesis.)

Baby Marigold
But it's beautiful.

Baby Marigolds!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

he(ART) for Japan

More cool stuff from my friend Carrie at he(ART) for LIFE: Japan Disaster Trio: Another crisis? So what. Wait...what do you mean, So what?


ONE: Choose your favorite photo you want made into a portrait (anniversary gift? new baby? wedding present? graduation celebration? house warming present?)
TWO: Japanese Artist Sosei Nakasuji will draw and paint the photo as a portrait.
THREE: Send email to and include
  • Photo for portrait
  • You Name
  • Your mailing address
  • The amount of money and organization to which you donated money or time/resources you gave to contribute to Japanese Relief Efforts (see 'Three Ways to Help' post)
Check it out!! especially the photostream of Sosei's work - gorgeous light and color. I really like this one and this one.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dear Orlando

Dear Orlando,

You've grown so much in the time that I've known you. It's hard to believe that it's going on four months now. But now that I'm seeing the full picture of who you are, we need to talk.

See, wanting to spend time together is one thing. Needing to spend time together, that's okay. But this obsessive jealousy and needing to take over every aspect of my life has to stop.

I'm no quitter, and I know we have another two weeks to go, but please. Give me a little room to breathe. You're a grown-up now, after all. You have to learn how to fend for yourself.




Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Considering a New Topic

Orlando - this is what will become of you if you do not begin to cooperate.

Consider yourself warned.

funny pictures of cats with captions

Tonight. It's all going down tonight.

I said that yesterday.

And the yesterday before that.


This time I really mean it.

The power of jellybeans will accomplish this.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh, Hobbes

“I say not this, as disapproving the use of Universities: but because I am to speak hereafter of their office in a Common-wealth, I must let you see on all occasions by the way, what things would be amended in them; amongst which the frequency of insignificant Speech is one” (Leviathan, A2v).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Inconclusive Results

And yet somehow, a week later Orlando is still missing that same conclusion.

Well, I am writing about artificial closure. I guess it's time to practice some.

Our new theme song: