Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can't. Get. Derailed.

Ok, what have I been doing? What have I been doing?

Today was dr. day and I did a checkup and a women's exam and got my blood drawn and looked at for this required health prevention thing, and that ate up my whole day. First, I had to fast for the bloodwork, and then they didn't do the blood draw until after all the appts and waiting around in the lab room, which means I fasted from 10 pm to 3 pm the next day. And then I stuffed my face immediately with the worst possible fast food meal --- ironic that they make you fast for cholesterol and diabetes tests, no? I was so hungry I was dreaming of double bacon cheeseburgers while in the waiting room --- and then of course collapsed afterward for a food-coma nap.

I managed to go through a pile of library books and return them this morning, but couldn't concentrate on writing pre-dr's appts. But the good news is that the appointments went well! Doctor's visits are usually anxiety-producing for me, but these were fine. And I have finally found out the right way to describe my teeny, hard-to-find veins, so that this time it hardly hurt at all, and I didn't have to suffer through three or four different vein punctures! Ugh. So glad that's over.

I am also undercaffeinated from the fasting and trying to not drink a soda later in the day (I've been having sleeping problems but don't know why) and trying to figure out if I should do a drastic caffeine reduction period (like a cleanse, but caffeine wise).

To make a long story short, I did not work on the article today, and yesterday I was doing packing and trip planning stuff, and I have not started my online class prep. Argh! I need to keep up my momentum, and not be distracted by this other stuff! I can just see myself not working on the hard part of revising because I haven't looked at the article recently. Hmm. Ok.

Thus, I am making a list and a plan! Right now! Tomorrow I will get up and do my yoga bright and early, and make myself some coffee, and,

  • incorporate Difficult Book into the article
  • incorporate last of the important books into the article (I think I'm down to two?)
  • start condensing and really kneading the various critics into the article (I just cut and pasted them directly in with no regard for making them footnotes or transitions or anything)
Ok, I can deal with a three-item to do list. I might not be able to finish all three of them tomorrow --- I have to do justice to the first text while still claiming my argument is different and valuable, which is why I am calling it difficult.


In other news, I totally can't go outside without someone pushing me to overcome my inertia (inertia and momentum --- the theme of the day!). The day someone pointed out to me it was the first day of summer, I got four mosquito bites on the way to my car. Since then I got totally eaten up while out at my friend the postdoc's place, and just haven't been able to bring myself to go sit outside on my little deck. I'd rather sit in here with the airconditioning than slap bug spray all over myself in order to sit outside. Sigh. I don't hate this state, but I kinda hate this state.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I went and hung out with the postdoc people, as usual, last night, but drank way more than I usually do. I don't usually go more than a couple beers, but the Friendly Yet Creepy characters hereabouts love to buy rounds as part of the conversation, and supplement with what's in their flasks. I didn't get sick, but it was bad enough that when the party broke up I commandeered one of the poor postdocs and insisted he walk me home instead of ride his bike, and then I sat around and talked with him and we traded funny youtube videos for a couple hours until I was sober enough to walk back and drive home. I think he may have been annoyed. I don't think guys really get that the crazy and entertaining characters who invite themselves to our tables are hitting on the girls and are waiting for any opportunity to bring someone home, which means waiting it out for a couple hours at the bar to sober up isn't an option.

See, this is why I wish I lived within staggering distance of the other postdocs. Of course, that could just mean I'd have to deal with strange people trying to follow me home when I left the bar. Meh, the whole situation just blows.

Anyway, when I woke up, I did not have a hangover, but I am so tired. Going to bed at 4 am will do that to you. I only just now started to get my energy back. I have done nothing all day, barely making it through 50 pages of my reading. And I haven't done anything related to my online class or packing or planning. I did, however, finally clean the catbox just now. So the day isn't a complete waste, I guess.

What I have been doing is sitting around on the couch, giving myself a terrible neck ache, staring at paint color swatches and sample room layouts, cause someone is decorating and got me off on a whole new tangent of decoration procrastination.

I have stared at so many different styles and rooms and things that I have no idea what I like anymore. And I have an open space above my tv that I think needs something, but I can't figure out anything I like that I am willing to pay for, especially considering that I hope to move next year off to some wonderful tenure track job. I finally decided I may just cover some boards or cardboard in a brightly-printed fabric and hang them. Not that I have the energy to actually go do that, but we'll see about later.

Anyway, I saw this randomly (it is from West Elm) and quite like it. Which is funny, since it's not really at all my style.

I like the strong geometric lines, how they're sorta like feathers or trees. Modern, but not that too cold and sterile modern that people are always loving. By the way, everyone seems to be obsessed with white and gray as the new fashion decoration colors, and when I look at them I just keep thinking of how Betty had her living room redone in those very odd and cold "sophisticated" colors of gray and silver and ugly yellow on Mad Men. What season was that?

Anyway, I like that bed, but think it is silly to buy a new bed (when I have no money) and then have to move it to whatever new place. But I know it will be nowhere to be found next fall when I was moving in to a new place somewhere else and actually had a real paycheck. Oh well, probably for the best, since I have no idea how to decorate around it.

(anybody want to join me in a decorating discussion? Am I the only person who feels like there's this matchy-matchy rule where absolutely everything must be one of the main room colors? Not like it's a rule, but more like an OCD or paranoia thing.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All I want for Christmas:

I know it takes a lot of electricity, and it's loud, and it only holds about two single spaced pages at a time, and it goes grind grind grind and keeps you half awake all night long, but if I could write all day and have the writing polish itself at night ...

Can we have Christmas in July? Please? Please???

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

House Envy

I went and hung out with one of the other postdocs the other day. I am jealous of the place they are renting, which is all big and spacious and decorated up all shabby-chic cute. And they have a covered porch. Although in the few minutes I took to get from my car to inside I was devoured by mosquitoes.

Look up ---- tree! Cool, huh? This is in the decaying neighborhood right by campus, where the other postdocs live. The house is about a hundred years old, which is about what the rest of the places around there are, but it is very well kept up and updated nicely. Most of the places around there, if they are rentals, do not look this nice. But if you are partnered with someone who has a full-time regular-person paycheck, and no kids, you can pay a lot more for rent than I do. Though this place is less than what I paid for my one-bedroom in CA, which is so laughable when you think about it. Just crazy.

Anyway, none of the places available down by school have been this nice --- the floors are bowed and the overall building frames seem warped. But, still. Le sigh.

Not much else to report except that I might go stir crazy in the next few hours, having been home working, and then "working," for a couple days now. I was supposed to be writing the end of my last section and then the conclusion, but I glanced at my ILL book pile and realized I was going to have to send stuff back pretty soon, and I know I need these. So I have been in an orgy of reading until my eyeballs fall out of my head. You would be shocked at how quickly reading shit gets old. Clearly I have burned out all my intellectual circuits, or my persistence-circuits, or something. I intend to pack up all my stuff and drive out to Starbucks tomorrow, come hell or high water, just to have a new location and maybe talk to some people. Unless, of course, I go stark raving mad first. Gotta keep my options open.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Update on Floyd

First of all, I think it's hilarious that I get more comments and suggestions on my rice cooker posts than on most of my academic-style stuff. Still thinking about what that tells me about potential job directions. And I will give you an update on all your suggestions when I switch back from leftovers to cooking again soon.

Anyway, Floyd ---- who gets a name since I don't want to tell you my topic and I have had so many new articles that at some point "my new article" doesn't really tell you much about anything. You might remember that I announced the birth of Floyd not too long ago, and I have been working with him steadily ever since, so I thought I would give a little note of progress.

So here is Floyd. I have been writing for about a month and a half, with some time out for finals and a conference. In my last announcement, he was about 5 pages.
Here is Floyd's growth update:
Now he is about 32 pages, but the last 6 are still in the question/quote/note form without any complete sentences. I haven't worked on those last 6 at all yet. He has six subsections (including the intro and conclusion subsection) and once I work my way through the last section and throw together the intro and conclusion I'll have a complete draft!

Wait, what? Why do people keep saying that, "a face only a mother could love," when I show off Floyd??? Are you saying my ideas are half-baked? That my complete draft might have a long long way to go before it actually looks like a draft?

I'm hurt. See if I let Floyd feast on your corpse when you turn into bloated carrion. So there!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Even Goldilocks would be daunted by these odds

Ok, so my rice cooker-less rice cooking attempts. As a side note, I must not have many Californian readers, judging from the lack of rice cooker use out there. Did you not learn to cook from your Asian American friends and roommates? I can't imagine people not having ricemakers --- hell, I can't imagine any of my friends' families giving up one of their three or four different machines to help me out ("No, you can't have that one; that's for when everyone wants rice. No, you can't have that one; that's the small one for when only a few people want rice. Or a snack. And that one we boil the duck eggs in, so obviously you can't have that, because if you're boiling the duck eggs, you can't use the rice cooker for rice, and we don't have any burners left open on the top of the stove!)

Anyway, I looked up "basic rice" in my Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone Deborah Marsden book, measured out the rice, and then measured out the water:

Then I set a timer, chopped up some veggies, and went off to do other things:

So far, pretty much like the rice cooker, except that you don't have to be careful about the exact amount of water you put in since it adjusts for you.

After 40 minutes, the rice was "open" but still pretty soupy. And I had taken off the lid, which I guess is a no-no.

After 10 more minutes of cooking and 10 more minutes of cooking, the rice was cooked to chewlessness (complete mushiness?) and there was still tons of water sitting on the bottom. I took the lid off and turned it up to boil for another 10 minutes.

You can't see that it is still pretty watery, but it is. And it was completely tasteless. And the texture of risotto, which I would have minded less if it were flavored like risotto and had lots of cheese in it. I like my rice --- not "crunchy," not "chewy," but when you chew it there's something there; it's not like porridge or oatmeal or any of that gross gloppy stuff. Al dente, perhaps? And I had already eaten almost all of the veggies because I was hungry and tired of waiting.

Luckily I had tons of parsley that I wanted to use up, so for the next meal I chopped it all up really fine and added lemon and olive oil and lots of salt and pepper. Then it wasn't bad.

But see, the nice thing about rice cookers --- beside the fact that they will keep the rice warm for you when it is done and you don't have to worry about turning it of or eating it right away --- is that it takes the guesswork and training out of the cooking process for you. My poor rice cooker! I miss you, darling:

Tonight, I have been experimenting with trying to make red beans and rice. I usually cook vegetarian at home so I thought I might as well try to fine a vegetarian version of the Louisiana stuff. Taste-wise, it was ok, but after three hours it still looked like a bunch of beans. I don't know why mine didn't fall apart into a wonderful sauce like in her picture.

And after the last rice-cooking adventure, I put in exactly two cups of water instead of the 2 and 2 quarters cup or whatever the ratio is, and look!

Grrr. I probably only got a half cup's worth, and look at the rest there. You rice-advice people!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Random Updates

  • after being slothful and avoiding my writing all weekend (that includes Friday, actually), I managed to get to a coffeeshop and work today. Hmm. Looking at my notes (I sign myself in and out to keep me slightly more honest), I only wrote on the new section for an hour today. That's not much; I will try to work more steadily tomorrow. (see why I need a punch-clock?)
  • and though I grumbled and was tired and did not want to get up, I actually did get up and do yoga. Yay! Ideally I'd walk too, but my desires to make lots of progress on the article and to get in lots of exercise are in conflict with each other.
  • Speaking of my article, I may have to kill my brother and my dad, who I told that I was working on a new project. Since that was a month ago, they have decided this must mean the project should be done right now. I keep getting "well, aren't you done yet?" comments on my phone calls home. Argh. Of course, with my dad, explaining to him that humanities articles don't work like engineering papers isn't going to do anything from one conversation to the next. Ah well.
  • I like the library here. Our holdings might be pretty pitiful, but all the upper floors have windows on all sides and they have put group study tables around the perimeter, which allows me to bask in the light and a view. I find that really nice when working (after lunch I went there to type up booknotes and prevent myself from taking a nap.) It's also quiet --- deathly quiet even though we are in the middle of summer session. Heh.
  • Speaking of summer session, I should prep my online summer class. Sometime.
  • Speaking of avoiding naps, I accidentally pushed myself very hard in that yoga session and suddenly found myself in the middle of a nap attack right before lunch. The cats took full advantage of my sudden loss of consciousness to drape themselves all over my body.
  • What that will mean if I am to die in my apartment and not be found for several days, I don't want to know.
  • I have a rice-related update for you all but will make that a separate post. Or not, as I am strangely tired and unwilling to upload the pictures (yes I took pictures for you).
  • I got caught in the rain in the laundromat yesterday, my clothes all dried and folded but unable to leave because of aforementioned rain. Met some real characters but have a half-written post going on that.
  • I shouldn't check my blog reader in the middle of the day, because I have no willpower and waste valuable midday time reading them instead of working and then have no posts to read in the evening after dinner. Alas.
  • I am going to visit the fam in California for a bit this summer. I might be more homesick for the place than the family.
  • I have yet to win the lottery or have a rich distant relative remember me in their will. I could really use that at the moment.
  • I don't really have anything else to post.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rice Cooker?

I have killed my rice cooker. Sigh. I noticed it making lots of funny noises last time I cooked up rice and finally I put water in the pan to check for leaks and held it up to observe drips. It has a hole slightly larger than a pin. Grumble.

I must have bought this as a senior in college. I hadn't thought about the life spans of rice cookers but that is a pretty long time.

My first reaction was to do nothing. Nothing, that is, except eat things that were not ricey. See me trying to control my spending? Unfortunately, I lapsed and went to Kohl's to find cheap t-shirts. I now have a huge pile of t-shirts to wash and put away, and a couple bras that I hope will actually fit comfortably for more than a week this time. Dangit. So, I spent money, and really my ideal solution would be to learn how to cook up rice in a saucepan instead of buy a rice cooker.

But where's the fun in that? Also, I only eat brown rice, the short fat grains. Tasty! And, all heart-goodness-y. Is it hard to cook brown rice in a saucepan?

You know how I dither about (oops sorry, "research" the best consumer value) before I actually go and choose anything, so we might as well begin the discussion now. I will then be ready to make a decision about when school is ready to start.

What's a good rice cooker? Do you have any favorites? Recommendations? Anything you know does brown rice well? I don't need it to make bread or porridge or the crazy stuff some of these things advertise, just make rice.

In other news, I want a coffee-making robot. But I wouldn't have him actually make any coffee, just clomp around the house scaring the cats. See?


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crazy-Ass Movie Review Episode Two: The Unknown!

The Unknown (1927), being what is known as a “programmer” or the kind of filler movies they cranked out as fast as possible in the days before sound, is probably not as good as the last crazy-ass movie I reviewed, Baby Doll. But it is directed by Tod Browning, who made Freaks, and stars Lon Chaney, the Man of a Thousand Faces. And even though it’s a silent film and therefore a little more difficult to watch, it definitely has plenty of Weird. Ohhhhhh yes.

You clearly want to watch this. No? Well then, you won’t mind me giving away the whole plot. Chaney plays Alonzo the Armless Wonder in a gypsy circus. I know! You’re thinking that this has got to have a lot of deviance and depravity and deformity, considering that its another circus movie by Browning. Well, honestly, I could have used more depravity, but Chaney is an amazing actor.

See that? I can't really get a screencapture of how good he is as an actor because his skill is in the quicksilver way he flashes through emotions. Want to see Chaney go from lovesick to possessive and controlling to brutally murderous to insane with jealousy to almost hiding a sneer of hatred and plotting behind a smile of goodwill? All in a single take? He is good. Good at eeeeeeevil, I mean.

Amazingly, this is one of Joan Crawford’s very first starring roles and it was so strange to see her on screen in this. She didn’t really do much acting, per se, but she is still magnetic --- I can see why they say the camera just loves her --- particularly when she’s still, her beauty just glows through at you.

Damn, that’s hot. Crawford plays Nanon, the gypsy daughter of the circus owner, and she is pathologically afraid of men, because they are always trying to put their hands on her. Here’s where Browning has a little fun, making a little allegory of how the good girl is innocent and frightened and has to be initiated into sex.

She’s a passionate little spitfire, but men’s … hands … just leave her terrified, and she shrinks away when any come into contact with her. The only man she is not afraid of is Alonzo, because … you guessed it. He has no hands. And he swears to protect her for ever, for he loves her. And he confesses to his friend and henchman, the evil dwarf (how could we have a Browning circus movie without an evil dwarf?) that he must own her, that he will possess her at all costs.

But here’s where the fun gets a little perverse, or the perverse gets a little fun, depending on how you like it.


The character you thought was safe and protective because of a lack, actually possesses an excess. And who would go to the trouble to hide in a circus as an armless man, but a murderer who is wanted for strangling so many people!

Browning externalizes this inner depravity by making this killer-disguised-as-deformed actually deformed under the disguise:

I told you he bore an excess of signification. (That’s what she said.) So, while Nanon kisses Alonzo and allows him to touch her because she thinks he lacks those strange and scary … hands, he is actually doubly depraved! Maybe even triply, because, you know, he’s got a whole ’nuther … ok, just nod your understanding because the dirty metaphor doesn’t really hold up if you look at it too closely. Which is Nanon’s problem, after all!

I should have mentioned up at the beginning that Nanon was part of Alonzo’s act. Just in case you didn’t pick up on the idea that we are substituting for something with those … hands, Alonzo’s act consists of using a gun to shoot Nanon’s costume off her body and then throwing knives to make an outline around her silhouette. Look at all that masculine power and prowess Alonzo has even without any arms!

Oh wait, that’s not Alonzo the Armless wonder, that’s strong man Malabar, the guy who gets fresh with Nanon, bending a massive bar with … ok now this is just getting silly.

Anyway, the problem is that Nanon has feelings for Malabar the strongman, but is also afraid of him and his manly hands. His difficulty was that he was just walking up and grabbing her and throwing her around roughly, which you gotta admit is kind of a drag when you’re just walking down the way to get some chow after a performance, minding your own business. Once he learns to go slow, offering her flowers and saying he loves her and wants to be around her forever and that he understands she is afraid when he touches her, the relationship improves. They start walking around places together and she gradually brings herself to trust him and look at his … hands, and one day they just happen to be walking on a ledge or wall or something and she slips and he catches her! With his hands! And after she gets over the shock for a minute she decides she really kinda likes it and hey, they should get married.

(from the Dialogue Slide: Now I understand what you are afraid of. Jeez, make it more obvious, guys.)

No baby doll this girl. Even when she is supposed to be looking terrified she looks like a man-eater. Which is probably why she was able to move up into stardom.

Anyway, to make this review longer than the actual film, let me point out what Alonzo the not-really-armless-wonder has been doing. Upon being told by his sidekick the evil dwarf that he can’t let Nanon hug him anymore because she might be able to, um, feel through his disguise, Alonzo makes plans to propose to her and then despairs of what will happen on their wedding night; what will she do when she first sees him naked? She’ll be expecting to not see any … hands, and instead she would see hands! Craaaaaaa-zy hands!!!! She might even recognize that he is the strangler who keeps mysteriously murdering people wherever the circus group goes, including even her own father at one point! (Forgot I left that out.) So he comes up with… a plan.

What sort of secret sexual past does this doctor have, I wonder? Whatever it is, he knows the truth about Alonzo’s … hand, in all its queer deformity. Ohhh, yes, I think there was some major deviance here, for Alonzo blackmails him and tells the doctor he must do whatever he says in order to keep Alonzo silent.

So, just like he is ordered to, he secretly saws off Alonzo’s arms. Operates. Whatever. The point is, Nanon was deathly afraid of men’s … hands, so Alonzo hides his past evil secrets by becoming what Nanon thinks he already is by amputating his … hands. When really, all she wanted was a little romantic foreplay before being, er, manhandled. That and for him to not kill people, like her relatives. I hope all you guys out there are taking notes about What Women Really Want.

And what does the now-really-armless-wonder Alonzo do when he returns and discovers that his sacrifice was for nothing and Nanon got over her fear of … hands and plans to marry this dude?

He acts up a storm, like he was going for the first Oscar!!!

Cue insane maniacal laughter ... now! Seriously, this scene is just amazing and he was awesome.

But then, he hatches… another plan!

In a nice piece of symmetry, he plans to sabotage Malabar’s act and instead of Malabar mastering and overpowering wild horses, they will tear out his arms! Mwahahaha!

And did I mention that Nanon ties her husband up to wild horses and then cracks a whip to excite them into a fury? That’s hot. That’s … ok, I should just move on now

To sabotage the act, all Alonzo will have to do is push that big lever over there … but ohno! However will he do that now that he really has no … hands, instead of just pretending it is so?

Well, he’s manly enough to do it, and he does! Unfortunately, it being a Hollywood film from the 20s, we do not then get to see Malabar’s arms ripped out and Alonzo win his vengeance. In fact, the evil plot is foiled, Alonzo is accidentally killed by the horses, and good and justice is restored to the world. Bummer.

I wish it had been darker and dirtier, but I’ll take what I can get. For all its salacious hinting at deviance, I give it a round of applause.

Or would that be two thumbs up?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Moving House? You know how I am about decisions

Ok, so you might remember that I am here with a big group of postdocs, and at the beginning of the year we were spread all out all over the city. Now, several of them have moved in closer to each other in the Student Ghetto, and Angry Anarchist Postdoc is looking in to moving in upstairs from one of the postdocs who is my office mate. I am kinda against moving this summer, in that I hate moving and the time suck and the backache and the fear that all my nice stuff will be dinged up and all my cheap stuff that barely survived the move will be destroyed, but I am also feeling the urge to move closer to them. Hmm. Help me think this through.

Now --- ok, have you ever visited Yale and the area that used to be nice and campus-oriented right around the campus fell apart and became a bastion of Section 8 housing and racial resentment? Postdoc City kinda has that too, but more class-related than race, I'd say. If you want a new place where the residents have middle-class or professional jobs and there is a working kitchen and heat/ac, you move where I did, the circle around the edge of town. In the middle is a burned-out, postindustrial wasteland, that's the downtown, and across the freeway from that is the university and the hundred-year-old houses that have all been chopped up for student apartments and places that pay cash for gold, which seems to be the major business around here.

In short, it's not gentrified, it's not cute, it's not walkable, but I would be close to school and the other postdocs. I'm kind of a loner, but I really am liking this idea of moving closer to them. Except that I had already decided against it. And my sister might kill me because right now I have a nicer kitchen than she does.


And now an update, before I'd even actually posted this post. This ad for a "cottage" ---- that is freestanding 1 bedroom house about a block from my friend the postdoc appeared on craigslist, and when I called about it, they said they had already had several people make appointments to see it, so I asked for an appointment right then and there and asked my friend to meet me out front. Hmm. So having seen it, it is a bit grottier than I wanted (instead of freestanding, it's more like listing to one side, and the floors are a bit warpy, and the inside doors probably don't close well), and is only $50 cheaper than my current nice shiny place, and they clearly took the pictures from a good angle to hide the fact that it hadn't been painted. But. There is another place that I happened to mention to Angry Anarchist Postdoc and he went to see it, said it was gorgeous, but was a downstairs unit in a house and he would never do that again. So I emailed AAP this listing and might go check out the one I sent to him originally. But, I don't know. You'd think writing all this out and then going to see a place would help me decide. Maybe lists?

Current House Pros:
new! clean! gorgeous! everything works!
has a dishwasher!
has a high efficiency heat pump/AC and is built to be super energy efficient!
very quiet
good back porch w. lots of birds and trees (no covering)
would not have to pack anything or move it until I get my tt job (or go live in a van down by the river)

Current House Cons:
kinda far from school and postdocs
no sidewalks in area, so must drive everywhere
can't go outside on porch in the rain or after 11:30 when the sun is out and annoying
I have W/D/ hookups but no washer or dryer here

Hmm. Dunno. I will email that first place I sent out and see if it is still available for a walkthrough. It looked nicer and more kept up than the first place, but it is a house divided into 6 rentals and the kitchen looks teeny with no dishwasher. On the plus side it is very close to school and pretty close to the postdocs, though probably pretty loud due to all the students in the area (frats are the next street over.) There wasn't all that much else with a "for rent" sign in the yard otherwise, and the only places we saw lots of availability were the places on the non-frat side of the frat street. I'm not up on being that close to party town, particularly if students don't party there but out at the bars circling the town --- that means they are all coming home drunk and loud and running over my cats or something.

Sigh. Why can't I make up my mind about anything? If stuff was like 100 or 200 cheaper, or you could guarantee me a dishwasher and good quality AC, this might be an easier decision to make. But, of course, right now I'm waffling.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Day for Exclamation Points!

Yes!!!!!! I am awesome!!!! One hundred percent pure organic free range awesomeness. I felt so full of energy when I woke up. (at 7!!!) I did 40 minutes of yoga and then took a walk! Whoo-hoo! I can feel all the muscles of my legs and butt --- not in a painful way, but like they're saying "Hey baby! Hells yeah we exist! We are right. here. Oooooh yeah!"

Then I wrote on my article, Floyd, for 40 minutes, and after I took a shower I scrubbed up the whole bathroom and did a bunch of cleaning! And then had lunch! ...aaaaaaaand I have a feeling that my energy might slack about now. Which is fine; I've done a good day's work already. I'll go type in booknotes from this book or the biography I've been reading for Floyd now. And may possibly go get groceries later.

It's just so nice to wake up and have a lot of energy after dragging along by so much the past week, especially when it was a day you didn't plan on being particularly productive. You know what? I had counted stuff and thought I might be able to finish this subsection by Monday, and if I keep working hard, by the end of Monday, I just might!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Grumble grumble clothes these days

Ok, I know I said I was going on a financial diet, and other than buying tp and stocking up on coffee one day and filling up the gas tank another day, I haven't spent any money, which is good. Unfortunately, to really improve my finances I'd need to not spend any money at all for anything discretionary for the entire summer. That's pretty outside of my level of willpower. Especially when you consider my casual summer clothes are looking pretty shoddy and worn. This is why I was at the Old Navy this morning. And I bought stuff, to my disgust --- and not even disgust at me breaking my budget; I'm pretty pissed off at them.

See, I live in cheap, brightly colored t-shirts. And I may be turning into my parents, who are still stuck in pre-70s-inflation price standards and think that no single item of clothing should cost more than 20 dollars, but I don't want to spend a lot of money for something that's not in any way special or embellished. So while I raise an eyebrow when my parents say, "you paid more than 19.95 for those jeans? Insane!" I kinda do have that expectation when it comes to a plain red or blue t-shirt. It's freaking mass-produced, people. And there aren't that many special seams, and no rivets or nothing. Don't tell me it costs anything like 10 bucks to make.

So I have been peeved at t-shirts on the internet, which for some reason are running around 50-60 dollars for anything cute. I will go stock up on a bunch of colors for cheap at Old Navy, I told myself. But when I got there, the fabric was so thin and slubby I could see through it! Old Navy people, I know you are maximizing profit, but fuck you! I do not want to buy multiple t-shirts and layer them; it's too damn hot here!

My other complaint was the cut of the neckline: on t-shirts that basically fit me everywhere else, the scoop neck was cut so low it almost followed the edge of my bra. Even the "crewneck" was much lower than I would define it, and the v-necks were just unacceptable. I have wondered, off and on, in my journey toward crotchety get-off-my-lawn-you-are-going-out-in-That-elderlyness, why so many of my students, regardless of the location of where I am teaching, seem to insist on totally inappropriate tops for school that show off their entire rack. Now I know: it's not so much that they are saying, screw you, rules of appropriateness! They are just too dumb young and inexperienced in the ways of the world to realize that if the cheap and popular shirt does not fit them well, don't buy it. I think it has way more to do with the power of the fashion industry, which is not offering other options right now, than any actual decisions or conscious thinking on my students' part. Which sucks because when everything is becoming pornified and women's bodies completely sexualized, including this PETA ad:

then it's hard to even get students to realize that they are being sexualized/objectified as much as they are. Maybe I'm wrong for insisting certain levels of cleavage are only appropriate for certain venues, but I think work (school=work) is a place where you should not have overtly sexualized bodies, and I would rather my students learn that than say, hey, let's just throw out all the rules of appropriateness and class. (do I go off on my rant about visible bra straps? Nah, one rant a day.)

But mostly I would like cheap and easily available options for those of us who have some extra weight to cover our bodies. News flash to the designers: America, statistically speaking, is overweight! Maybe just a few pounds, maybe by a lot. And most women are at or below 5.5 in height. So, really, Old Navy, most of the women --- and even the teens --- in America are not tall, thin, broad shouldered, A-cup shapes like your mannequins here. When I tried on a scoop neck in your store, I had three inches of exposed boobs and the bottom of the shirt almost touched my knees. Please embrace the square over the thin rectangle for your fitting.

And, funny, when I went looking for "pictures of girls in t-shirts" to accompany my post, weirdly enough, I couldn't find any of what I was describing, even though I see it at school all the time. All the pics were of these extremely thin women with no boobs, who look fine in a low scoop tank because they couldn't show any cleavage without some major structural garments underneath. (But then I typed in "cleavage" for an image search and got to see a lot of what makes me sad about humanity. Sigh.) But I did find this blog post that I liked, which shows some pics of "regular women" and asks "how do you feel about showing cleavage"? Go read the discussion (oh, the final pic of the girl in the blue dress --- minus her flat skinny waist --- looks the most like me in the dressing room today) and leave your own take on the whole dress/appropriateness/fashion industry/weight/gender issue here. Or any other related comments. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

If it's not one thing, it's another

You know, I'm basically only running the AC at night. It's fine in here now --- the thermostat says its 75 and it feels perfectly ok --- and I'll just deal with the hot upstairs by not going up there. The fact that the sofa is directly in front of the window (which the cats ate the blinds for) is something I'll still have to think about, though.

No, this time I couldn't sleep because of cramps, argh. After tossing and turning while my inner organs played the equivalent of techno music in my midsection (thump-a, thump-a thump-a), I finally gave up and tried to hunt down some sort of medicine. And took the very last of my Midol, which was the daytime, caffeinated version. Sigh. And definitely no yoga for me, since I feel tired and achy and crampy.

So, yeah, didn't get much done today. I re-typed a handwritten paragraph that I wrote yesterday, and then decided that, since I felt like crap, I should just do a bunch of other crappy things. So I flea-treated the cats and made all sorts of calls about my health insurance and made dr's and haircut appointments. I hate phones. And am I done with all those annoying things on my list? No, of course not, because those are the types of things that it just isn't possible to finish off in one go-round. There was a long digression where I had to go to a bunch of websites and call various people to figure out what my health insurance policy number was and why I have two different cards with different numbers. (The answer? I don't know. But I do know which is the real number, and now I can give it out when making dr's appointments, so problem resolved.)

I also got more books from the library and did some stupid campus errands, which are not all finished either. And started compiling a to-do list to prep for when I go back to visit California (yay!) for July. If I'm not careful, though, I will pack everything immediately and then suffer because I'm not leaving for an entire month. Heh.

And, I also got ice cream. It can't be helped. I grabbed blueberries on a whim while at the grocery store last, which is silly, since I don't really like straight-up blueberries. But they are very good on some vanilla ice cream and I will just pretend that the antioxidants counteract all of the fat and calories of the ice cream. Mmmm. I may need a second helping.

Tomorrow, yeah, that's it. Tomorrow will be the magic day when I both want to write a lot and make tremendous progress. Yes, tomorrow will be the day. Oops, when did I schedule the haircut appointment? Ah, crap.