Sunday, December 10, 2006

Procrastination Specialist

It was scary how quickly and well I typed the first word of the title...oh, we're old friends. In my best of intentions I, once again, promised myself that I wouldn't wait until the last minute to get all my papers done, but old habits took over. I'm sitting on my bed right now trying to eek out the last few pages of a paper due on Tuesday. Tuesday, you say! You're way early! Oh, if you only knew. I also have to complete two response papers for a different class by tomorrow in addition to teaching a class and babysitting for 4 hours in the middle of the day (last day for that, thank goodness).

My wonderful teacher gave me a week extension for a paper due on Wednesday, so my life is slightly saner than it was this time last week. Actually, that's not true, but I'm delirious from coffee and saying that makes me feel better. Oh, and I also have to grade some papers for tomorrow morning's class. No sleep for me. So I'd like to officially nominate myself as this month's #1 Procrastination Specialist; if you got competition, let me know.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Real Live Poet

Take heart, Kate! There are more real live poets and they're getting a lot of attention right now. Check out the link "This Is All Your Fault" to see Christine Hamm, my fellow graduate student, who's just published another volume of poems. I'm going to her reading on November 17th, so I'll let you know how that goes. You can read a sample of her work at her website, and the poems are pretty cool.

And speaking of Kate, what's up with the lack of full-body costume shots? We can't get the full effect if we only see your head. Not that there's anything wrong with your head. There's not, and your hair looks pretty.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Biscuits and The Answer

Buttermilk Biscuits (courtesy of How to Cook Everything cookbook)
2 cups White Lily or cake flour
1 scant teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons cold butter
7/8 cups buttermilk

-Preheat oven to 450
-Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and baking salt
-Cut in cold butter or blend in food processor
-Stir in buttermilk until just mixed
-Turn dough onto a floured surface and press flat
-Use biscuit cutter or glass to make 10-14 biscuits
-Bake for 7-9 minutes

Oh, and I think Pimm's tastes like the Turkish Delight candy that Kate made. Must be the orange and cloves.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Does anyone think Pimm's tastes like the candy Kate made for our Chronicles of Narnia celebration?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Biscuits and A Challenge

Since I was alone all this weekend, I learned even more about myself that most of you probably already know. If left to my own devices, I will stay in my pajamas all day and only put on clothes because I'm cold or to go out for two slices of pizza. I will also watch crazy amounts of CSI, L&O, and the History Channel. Here's the new part: I will also bake experimentally.

Baking serves to really take my mind off things; because I don't do it too often, I have to really concentrate on it. First, I made some Chocolate Midnight cookies out of the most recent Bon Appetit magazine. They're good but super dark chocolatey. Tolerable if rolled in powdered sugar.

Friday I also made this delicious Spinach and Sausage soup with other veggies and tomatoes. I forget where I got that recipe, but it's yummy and would also be good with potatoes. Saturday I managed not to cook anything but did get some Nutter Butter cookies (not the delectable wafers) for Sarah's late night visit on Saturday evening. She was nice enough to come over after I called to be pitiful in my lonliness.

This morning, however, was my crowning glory. I made biscuits! Not the drop kind that my daddy calls "cathead" biscuits, but the real I'm-gonna-roll-these-out-n-cut-'em-buttermilk biscuits. They turned out so well and I'm trying not to eat them all. I also managed to do some reading, tutoring, and grading papers in the meantime, so I suppose I've had a fairly productive weekend though I still haven't managed to put away the clean laundry that's in my room. At least my roommate will have plenty of baked goods to come home to when he returns from South Carolina tonight.

Wednesday, I'm flying out to Tulsa for a conference but will only be there till Friday. I fully expect to be shot down at my seminar because I'm presenting a paper in a group of 6 which means that there will be plenty of time to rip my paper apart. Hopefully, these much more established members of academia will take pity and not be too harsh. Then it's back here for Brandon and Laura's birthday party on Saturday. It's a tapas party and we're having it at our apartment. What's going on for Halloween everybody?

A Challenge For Kate, Dominic, and Dale: Have some Pimm's No.1 and tell me what it tastes like. There will be a clue posted later.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I Think They'll Keep Me

So my sigh of relief may be one of exhaustion or surrender, but as in other matters of my life, I'm pretending that things will be ok. After a meeting with the university president and provost last night, I feel more encouraged that our PhD programs will not be cut. Administrators have gone on record saying that reasons for suspending admissions are mostly financial, and that they plan to follow the recommendations of the faculty and outside review committee. I think and hope that means that if faculty and students can work up a new and improved program then we'll be able to keep our PhD programs in English and History.

Interesting Fact: Drew University is the only school of its size in America to grant PhD's in the liberal arts. While this is all nice and prestigious and speaks to the uniqueness off our programs, it also confuses outsiders as to why we have such programs and how we're able to financially support them. Our programs exist because of some very nice people who fund the grad school and because of the dedicated faculty and enthusiastic students here. It's a great program and I'm glad things are looking up. And I'm glad I don't have to worry about it anymore for right now.

Other than that, I'm hanging on by my pinky toes as far as getting my own schoolwork done while grading composition papers, babysitting, and tutoring at least two nights a week. Things will thankfully slow down after mid-October, so my sanity is really looking forward to that.

Upcoming events: I'm conferencing in Tulsa at the Modernist Studies Association conference and presenting a paper on The Implications of Posthumous Publication that's based of my thesis. That's on October 19th, and I'll return just in time to have Laura and Brandon's birthday party then attend the Vieira's halloween party the next weekend.

Parties are much better than work. Bring on the party.

Speaking of party, I'm all alone on this chilly Friday night watching tv and surfing the internet to avoid reading student papers. I did watch Jarhead today (nice movie, not overtly provocative, but better than the amount of buzz it got) and the last two episodes of Carnivale, so I got some closure on my netflix list. Oh, but I did go to the pub earlier and (in the words of Robert Earl Keen) had such a good time I had to take a nap. No one wanted to go out after that though. Wah, wah, waaaah. Here I sit waiting for my roommate and Buist to get back and entertain me with some southernisms. Where's my man to have dinner with?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Almost Famous

Last Wednesday, while in line to buy water before heading to my Victorian Women class, Sy from Kaplan called to let me know that NBC might be coming to film my SAT class on Sunday (that's this past Sunday). While I was incredibly excited that the world would finally get to see how wonderful I was, I was also unexpectedly nervous. My mind abuzz, I rehearsed what I would say to Meredith Vieira or some other newsy-type and imagined how smart they--and America-- would think I was. Oh, and what an opportunity to show people that I care about students and give myself a little credibility.

When I went to tutor that night, Sy told me that I might be interviewed. At that time I assumed that it would not actually happen and it didn't. NBC did come to the center on Sunday and film, but just the class next to mine. And the students in that class. And the people in the front office. Ok! Everybody except me! So I'm exaggerating and was actually glad that they didn't film me because I had a cold and didn't feel well, but I can still complain. Or fake complain. Or do whatever I do to create comraderie and communicate with people.

If you would like to see where I work and the people I work with, tune in to the NBC nightly news on Wednesday, September 20th. Zaheer, aka Z, will be part of the segment as a fellow SAT teacher; we were dressed alike that day in our gray Kaplan polos and black pants, so I suppose you can add "and see what Brooke was wearing that day" to the list of what you're seeing except for the fact that the outfit's on a tall and good-looking Indian-American man. But whatever.

Aside from that, my schedule's been totally crazy. There are grad school issues that I don't feel comfortable talking about on the internet (so email if you're curious) and a major schedule restructuring in the direction of me having more time for school. One of my ESL students has returned to Korea, I'm only babysitting one day a week instead of two, and it looks like I won't be teaching SAT classes on the weekends anymore. Thankfully, I don't have to work everyday until the end of October now! But I'm still kinds bummed that no one's asking me for autographs.

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Little Slice of Southern

Have any of you seen a show on MTV called "Two-a-days"? It's a show about Hoover High School Football team in Hoover, AL. Shock and Awe! MTV's in Alabama (poor MTV). Anyway, I thought it was funny, and since I've had some down time over the past few days, I've caught some of it. It's what you'd expect, mostly boring high school relationship drama intersperced with fooball coaches saying repetitive and appaling things. Oh, and some impressive smacking noises that happen when they show scenes from practice. As expected now that MTV's a reality network, there are plenty of people who are way too hot for their age, but the funniest thing that happened was a seemingly mundane activity--going to a restaurant.

Having recently seen The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (as I prefer to call it, instead of the trivialized title: Talledega Nights), I fully understood the complexity, truth and humor that surrounded these Hoover High youngsters during their trip to the local Applebee's. Surely, it is one of the only close, cheap restaurants that could tolerate groups of high school students with cam corders in addition to the MTV camera crews, but that doesn't make it any less funny. Chain restaurants are an epidemic in the South, and it's really time to deal with it.

In addition to that (Confession: Applebee's was my favorite restaurant in middle/high school. Don't laugh, it was a big deal when we got an Applebee's in Dothan.) there was a trip to the bowling alley and a loveable, teddy-bear guy named Goose; these things are also close to my heart because I too would go to the bowling alley to hang out--didn't even like to bowl and sometimes just sat there--and had a crush on an aforementioned type of guy names Moose. There's a kind of romance to never knowing a guy's last name, or real name for that matter. But that sounds like a more sordid story.

In Which I Confess New Self-Knowledge

Ok, so orientation went well. Busy but not too long days with lots of fun people. The Drew staff and professors were absolutely wonderful, and the English department proved to be the most exciting as far as new students and cool professors that showed up to various events. I got to be Superfriendly Brooke (people usually assume I'm in the mode anyway--must be the accent) and socialize and hobknob with deans and such, so that was fun all by itself.

And speaking of things at orientation that benefitted me personally, I rediscovered how much I love being in front of a crowd. There were welcomes and introductions to give, but the highlight came during a Q&A lunch on the final day. I had organized the event and planned to do the 7 or 8 speaker intros, but this quickly turned into an MC job for me. Some of the speakers were drifting in because of their other engagements at undergrad, theology, and faculty orientation, so there was some dead time that needed to be filled with me, me, me.

It started innocently enough with some extra announcements and questions but soon turned into a full blown comedy thing complete with jokes, random stories about softball and cute men, and even raffle prizes. I would like to give you more details, but I was so high on the experience that I don't remember most of it. (Ok, some of this is an exaggeration, but not much.)

That evening I found what will surely be my future career: bartending. We had a pub party that night and Madera (orientation co-chair) and I were behind the bar as to give others a chance to mingle. Don't feel bad for me though 'cause there was free beer only a half step away all night. And let me tell you, me+red cowboy boots+free beer+picking all the bar music+flirting with new and old students alike=one heck of a good time.

Everyone seemed to get a kick out of seeing me behind the bar and commented on what a natural combination Brooke and Bar were. They said I did a great job, and they thanked me and tipped me, but that could also be a result of the beer I gave away...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In the Midst

The first day of orientation went fairly well with a controlled amount of me not knowing what was going on. Mistakes were minor, like me forgetting to tell the students certain things, and other people in charge totally helped me out. We seem to have a good group of incoming students who are interested in the social aspect of our community as well as the academic--it seems a little like my first year.

Brandon is gone for the next two nights, so I have the place to myself which is nice. Perhaps I'll get laundry put away that I've had in my room for about a week...

We had our final composition teacher meeting yesterday and wow, was there a lot of information. And so much of it about posting things online, making websites, using internet/communal resources. Though I love the internet (you know that don't you, Internet?) I'm not familiar with these things, but I've been told that some people at Drew are specialists at helping the tech-uneducated get educated. And ain't that what it's all about--getting educated?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Flood and Loathing

Here are the transcripts of some messages Dale left on my phone as he was evacuating on Sunday, August 28th of last year.

10:17am - "Hi, um, it's me. Well, it was a nice city and a good place to live for a little while. I am on the road with a very upset Albus going after my parents to pick them up and try get out of town. So...I'm sure we will get out of town, there's plenty of time, it's just gonna be a pain in the ass. Ok, talk to you later."

8:34pm - "Hey it me, we're in Jackson at some crappy hotel, but we're here. I'm hoping that my parents go on to Memphis tomorrow and fly home. Gavin and Alison are staying at a friends place around here somewhere so I'm gonna hopefully hook up with them tomorrow, and go play with them. But ya know, night in a crappy hotel. Albus seem to be ok. Tired, depressed, and we're all grumpy..."

It's funny how the words don't seem to clearly convey very much nervousness, but I guess that shows just how unexpected the whole disaster was. I remember hearing the first line of that first message and rolling my eyes at how dramatic it was. I guess nobody knew.

Those messages were just too important to delete at first. Too loaded with emotion and fear and horror to simply erase by pressing a button. Then they represented something that I knew I should remember and think about because a person and a city that I love were so devastated. Now, they're a little bit of history to remind me how unexpected the whole thing was and how different things are in New Orleans now.

I also remember some of Dale's more upsetting phone calls, first from the road then from Jackson, when I realized how bad things were. Waiting for gas to get out of Jackson. Reporting internet news to them when they had no radio or cable. Then realizing how lucky Dale, Gavin, and Allison were to have evacuated. However, no phone call or message could have prepared me for the next few weeks of horror on the news or the next year of incompetent recovery efforts. New Orleans still needs lots of help, but as long as people remember that, there's hope.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jesus is Coming, Look Busy!

So according to one of my earlier posts, I thought I would be working Sundays in the Kaplan office until the Second Coming. And no, not as severe as the monster slouching toward Bethlehem in my favorite Yeats poem (think Ed Hicks generic British Isles accent) kind of second coming, but office work can have its own downward spiral feel. The work isn't difficult or anything, just sometimes mindnumbingly dull or punchyouintheface annoying. Thankfully, my job teaching comp at Drew gave me the legitimate excuse to quit, so this Sunday is my LAST DAY in the office. There will be rejoicing in the streets. Much street rejoicing.

Not that this will prevent me from being in the office at least 3 days a week to tutor ESL students and teach SAT classes, but at least I don't have to put up with customer questions for a while.

Since Jesus will be coming back on the 27th, I am indeed trying to look busy. Better than that, I am actually busy.
  • There is still the theory that I'll graduate in October for which I'll need to turn in my thesis September 11th. Working furiously, no food, no sleep.
  • I'm Grad School Orientation Co-Chair this year, so I spend several hours a day emailing about various details like "Will you speak at the Q&A Lunch on Thursday?" or recording people's meal choice of London Broil with Mushroom Gravy or Grilled Portabello Mushrooms.
  • Housesitting for some friends, but I totally don't mind this one 'cause there's kitties, a huge house and a fantastic kitchen where I can be totally alone and roam around half naked (I don't do the latter out of courtesy for my roommate who is generally not ok with naked girl parts)
  • Oh, and planning my first syllabus. My labor of love. Finally, I get to cut through all the crap that professors made me do and plan a commonsensical and hopefully useful approach to a comp class. Though my students will surely hate me for it. Perhaps they won't be as annoyed by the class requirements though...
  • Then there's babysitting for the "new" twins/family. They're six months old and absolutely precious. All soft and smiley. Alex has blond hair and blue eyes and his sister Julia has dark hair and eyes--they're a cute pair. Their older brother Andrew is a good kid too and their mom is supernice. Really, this part is just about the time constraint of having class on Monday and Friday then going to babysit.
  • There's more odds and ends like random tutoring set up through Drew and planning and the English Back to School Party, but I won't go further.
Now that I think about it, I'm doing all this in case Jesus doesn't come back so I'll have some rent money. But if he does, I'll have made a good show there at the end.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I Should Have Gone To Cooking School

So amid questioning life in general, I'm trying to get my thesis finished by September 5th. This month is a big transition for me with jobs ending and starting and all the thesis work, so I'm just going a little crazy. However, I have decided that I don't need to work as much as I have been because my school work has suffered over the past year (mainly because of Kaplan). I'm rethinking my whole career path at the moment and wondering just how I got deterred from my dream job of being a chef, or a music video choreographer, or a celebrity personal assistant, but somehow it happened. I suppose I'm just tired of school and working stupid hours to try to make money.

On a different note, I need all new electronics. I want a Treo, a new ipod, and a new computer. Is that really too much to ask?

Lauren and I went to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert in Brooklyn on Friday night and had a great time. They were crazy and the lead singer wore spectacularly 80's clothing with rainbow metallics, knee boots and ruffles. We've also seen Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby since she's been here and it was pretty funny. Warning-If you're from the South, you'll laugh at times when no one else does. (That's of course assuming that you're seeing it in an area that is not the American South.) Lauren leaves tomorrow and I'm sad about it. We've had a really good time over the past month, and I will miss her even though she hogs that bed and wakes me up a lot.

For now I'm back to the thesis grind which makes me think about how easy cooking school would be right now....

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

New Jobs, Brand New Jobs

Hello All (the few people that actually read this)! Well, it's been a month, so it's time for me to write again. I've been generally unproductive this summer with all my big plans abandoned as usual. My two weeks in Alabama were good but busy with lots of parties and showers. Or it seemed like a lot even though there were only two--Lauren's graduation (from Medical Assistant school) and party and my cousin Paige's wedding shower. The latter was kinda fun because it's the only wedding shower I've ever been to where the bride was publically acknowledged as a slut. Ahh, my family. Paige is the second of my cousins to be married this summer; Paige is my age and we were apparently close as small children but before that my cousin Sandi, who is a year younger than me, got married. Yes, The Marriage has officially passed me over.

So the job...Kate! You and I will be teachers this fall! I heard the news while at home and am terribly excited. This means I won't be working in the office for Kaplan anymore which also makes me happy. I'll still keep teaching and tutoring with them some, but I have yet another job lined up through the people I babysit for. I'll be taking care of a set of 4 month old twins--Alex and Julia--for a few days a week. No matter that I haven't been around babies that small since, ok...well, maybe never in my adult life. That's actually not true, but I haven't been around babies in a long time and I'm actually really looking forward to it. I'm sure that will lead to plenty of stories.

Aside from that I'm working on my thesis for September 5th and entertaining my sister who came up to visit for two weeks. She, surprisingly, is asleep right now on the couch behind me. Oh, and I'm trying to get in shape for graduation in October for which I've just decided to get my hair professionaly done and for the fabulous vacation that I'll hopefully be taking around the first of the year. Now this is the life I much prefer. Hair stylists and Caribbean vacations.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Yeah for America, Korean People and the Life of Leisure

After a few weeks of working almost every day at Kaplan and in the mornings and evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have a week off thanks to a combination of the Independence Day holiday. I'm especially happy because one of my Korean tutoring students, Gyeong, is going back to Korea to visiti family and be a pediatrician for a few weeks, so that means I don't have to tutor her. My friend from Troy, Ashley, is in town for about a week and a half, so we've been going into the city in an attempt to walk all of Lower Manhattan at which we've mostly been successful. She is absolutely wonderful at never complaining about how much we walk or about how much shopping we're doing or about how crowded the place is. And she's a very good houseguest and is right now emptying the ice trays and putting away the dinner leftovers. This is in no way to say that my other houseguests haven't been as helpful, but it's impressive because I haven't seen her for a few years and yet she acts like my sister. We're finding out we're more alike than we remembered while boozing it up and talking about boys.

Mostly, we're just being lazy. I've had at least two naps today and watched one movie and cooked delicious dinner. Life is very good this week. And I get to go home soon which I'm very excited about 'cause I haven't been home since Christmas. That's about all I have for now but I'll keep you updated if we actually do something more cultural than cruising Chinatown.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Now Playing

Tonight is my triumphant return to the Atlantic Theater Company (as an audience member, never an actor), the site of the now-famous play The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Dale's visiting and I'm showing him my favorite theater in New York--now that I have such things--and taking him to the equally-renowned Cuba Cafe: Home of the famous Pineapple Stuffed Pork Chop with Collard Greens for which Kate, Dominic, and Brandon sufficiently confessed their love upon first taste.

Hopefully, it will be a better experience than X-Men III which we saw last night. Not a single viable scene with Hugh Jackman shirtless! Don't these movies know what they're about? Yeah, and the whole thing generally just sucked like this review on Ain't It Cool News says.

Today has been more apartment cleaning and organizing and now you can see the floor in my room. I hope to be even more lazy and watch another movie today before heading off to the play. For those of you who might worry that I'll get lost: Don't, I'm taking the train in.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Tricked Again!

By the Isle of Manhattan that is. Friday before last, I attempted to socialize with Mishka Shubaly again by going to one of his shows. The plan was to get there early, have a drink with him during which time I would further prove to him that I was irresistible, then listen to his band Beat the Devil. (English people: Are band names in italics? I am ashamed of my ignorance here but not so much that I'm guilted into looking it up right now.)

The original plan was to go see the Rebirth Brass Band at BB Kings close to Time Square, and though I had bought tickets in like April, I did not make it to see them. So back to the story...

After asking several friends to see Rebirth, one of whom plays a brass instrument but could not go because of another engagement even though I thought this person would really like the band, Brandon (my new and wonderful roommate) agreed to go with me. He was also up for seeing Mishka first then heading to BB Kings. Brandon and I met W. David and some friends at Herbie's for dinner and drinks before leaving and when I asked Brandon if he was ready, he confusedly replied, "Is that tonight?" So I thought I would go alone or not go at all, but because he's wonderful, he came with me anyway as we braved the rainstorm.

We were making good time (Madison to the Holland Tunnel in 30 minutes) even with the bad weather when we emerged on the NY side to drive around the circle that would take us to Alphabet City when it happened. Once again, I forgot how bad a person's sense of direction is after being underground then driving 'round a circle, and just like last time, I got lost. That freakin' #3 exit to Brooklyn makes me loose my mind!

However, my navigator was not drunk (not sober either) and got us turned around in a timely manner and we headed for Midway formerly known as Scenic where the band was playing. Thanks to my excellentness at getting lost in Manhattan, we walked into the club just as the band was stepping onstage to play. Mishka said something incomprehesible and total rockstar pretentious-sounding and then they started to play the strange but appealing music that Brandon and I giggled about the whole time we were there. Not because it was bad, but because Brandon, being out of his element, found all the trendiness of the situation to be too much for him. So we knocked back some cheap drinks in our corner booth and made fun of people and thereby ourselves for being there. The band was good and interesting though not to my roommate's taste but we had fun. I said a quick hello to Mishka after the show (no invitation to make out this time, hopefully only because his manager was there and he was trying to behave) and Brandon and I walked back into the rain to my car. On the way, we decided that we were not in the mood for a brass band drove to a gay club, Duplex, on Christopher Street. It's a two-story place with a piano bar, a trivia bar (think sports bar without sports), and a showtunes karaoke cabaret where we spent most of our time relaxing and listening to people sing. A very nice refuge from the rain and the loud music and those crazy heteroes. And I'm usually one of the cute ones when among FH's or SWISHes (Single Women In Support of Homos).

When in doubt, trust your roommate and take a left after the Brooklyn exit of the Holland Tunnel.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hump Day Odyssey

So Wedesday night was my first time in Jersey City. Two (ok, one) people I kind of know from the Theo School at Drew were having a graduation party at their professor's apartment in The Jerz City. It was a cool place and the party turned out to be a lot of fun though Sarah (who rode with me) and I were afraid it might be lame or just plain weird since we didn't know the other people that well. But Brandon was there and the Theo students/professors were very cool.

Something that makes me proud of Alabama: One of the Theo school's coolest and best looking professors (so I hear second-hand having no experience with the Theo school) is from Alabama. Birmingham originally, still has family there and visits often. Mmmm, and one of the most ruggedly beautiful gay men I've ever seen. Funny, trendy dresser, very genuine and Columbia-educated. And to top of all that coolness, he's taking a sebatical next year to adopt a Guatamalan baby. Hoping that he never has cause to read this, I'll try to keep my admiration secret by not using his name and simply refering to him by his student-chosen monaker, Hot Toddy.

Say-rah and I were planning to go into the city to see Beat the Devil--Mishka Shubaly's band, or the band that he plays bass for--after the party but Sarah was having a great time flirting with this guy and drinking red wine and didn't want to leave. I was having a good time too though not drinking at all since I got a virus the Friday before and was not feeling up to par, so I didn't mind staying.

About 11:00, I discovered that the guy Sarah was flirting with was kind of spoken for, so I insisted that we leave right then. This was after Sarah was more than a little into the sauce, had spilled red wine on her shirt (though she did have another one to put over it) and, at one point--this is very funny--was actually spilling wine on the floor while trying to wipe up the initial wine she spilt. Very self-fulfilling prophesy kind of humor. So when we get out of earshot of the apartment, I tell Sarah the kinda-spoken-for man situation which she continues to ponder for a few hours.

And when I say a few hours, that's how long it took us to get to out destination in Manhattan. Pulling away from the party, I realized I had no idea how to get from Jersey City to the Holland Tunnel (for those of you not familiar with Jersey geography, Jersey City is right across the river from Manhattan), so it was very frustrating. After about 20 minutes of being lost, we made it through the Holland Tunnel.

Funny thing about being underground, you have no sense of direction when you come out. Or at least I don't. And though I've driven to the Lower East Side a few times, I'm still not familiar enough to get there without a navigator. And she was drunk.

We drove around for too long being turned in the wrong direction or caught in construction, but with Dale's help via cell phone and mapquest, we finally made it to Sin-e after midnight. The bands were breaking down, but Mishka was still there and we said hello. He told me how drunk he was (as usual) then said he "had something to show me by the EXIT sign" which happened to be down a hallway. Not knowing my No Making Out in Bars or Fraternity Houses Rule, this was his hopefully ironic and ridiculous was of asking me to make out with him. Ahhh, Mishka. It did not work and we soon after said goodbye with a promise to get together soon.

Though some of you may think that I'm just after Mishka to realize my dream of becoming a rockstar girlfriend, but I am actually interested in getting to know him (not specifically in the Biblical sense). I'm so intrigued by this guitar-wielding, fight-starting poet...

Sarah and I finished our beer and diet coke respectively and set out for home giggling all the way to the car about our adventure. And then, in the words of Robert Earl Keen, Sarah had "such a good time [that night], she had to take a nap."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I Wish Jesus Would Come and Bring Me French Fries

Work is really boring and I'm hungry. Cassandre, my cool and wonderful co-worker, says that the two of us are working Sundays "until Jesus comes back" because we've been on the Sunday schedule for a long time now. This, along with quietly making fun of students, has become our joke, so today, I want Jesus to come and bring me food.

Wouldn't that be nice: "Here are your cheese fries, Brooke. Just snack on those while I tidy up this Earth place and get rid of all the bad people. The good folks should be rounded up by the time you finish and we will ascend. Don't worry, you're in a suspended state of being right now in which you can enjoy the cheesy goodness with your physical senses while having none of your potential for motion sickness on the ride up."

Ahh, suspended states of being. And cheese fries brought to me by an exotic-looking man.

Rockstar Girlfriend

My hair is trying to kill me, well, just once. It is getting so long, I'm beginning to think of it as another entity. Don't get me wrong, I love my hair and don't want it to go anywhere (hear that Hair?), but it hasn't been long in like seven years, so this is different for me. I noticed the length of my hair a few months ago when I woke up one morning with a gentle choking feeling. However, I was lucky in three ways: 1) No one was actually choking me, 2) I did not appear to panic, 3)No one was there to watch me try desperately to keep from panicing. It was just my hair wrapped around my neck.

Since then, I have to be careful not to lie uncomfortably on my hair and to keep ponytail holders and clips nearby at all times 'cause this much hair, folks, can get out of control and/or real hot at any moment. I even have to do this weird super-high ponytail thing when I run that involves a ponytail-bun hybrid so my hair doesn't annoy the crap out of me and swish over the back of my ears when I run. I was a cheerleader, but I'm not that prissy.

Ok, enough about how hard it is to have long, blonde, rockstar girlfriend hair.

A shower tragedy: So I was taking a shower the other day (no, a pizza delivery guy did not show up) and using my favorite Flying Fox shower gel from LUSH that I just bought last weekend. Seriously, this is the best stuff; when I smelled it for the first time at LUSH in Chicago, I knew it was the bath product I had been looking for all my life. I believe in destiny because of Flying Fox. Back to the shower. I was placing the 20 oz. bottle (not only does LUSH know I need this stuff, but they provide it for me in huge amounts) back on my wire rack that hangs on the showerhead when my fingers malfunctioned. I watch the bottle drop in slow motion but could not bear to look and had my eyes closed when I heard it hit the tile floor and splinter. The plastic bottle--plastic, folks--broke like glass as the jasmine and honey scented liquid puddled on the tile. I salvaged about 1/3 of the stuff 'cause the top of the bottle was still intact, so now, the precious remainder of it is stored upside down in the shower. Plus side: The bathroom has smelled like it ever since.

That afternoon, I dropped by second item as I was carrying my water glass back into the kitchen. Same drill. I closed my eyes and held still until all the breaking was finished. Then I got the broom. Something was definately wrong that day, but luckily the problem has not manifested itself again. *knock on wood* Sarah told me that water retention can swell women's fingers and make them more clumsy; I am thankful for this information because it explains 1/4 of my life.

The Weather: The weather here has been fairly warm but kinda rainy. This is fine except for the fact that I can't do my paranoid topless roof tanning when it's raining or when it's too cold. Why isn't it hot here yet? My granny would say that it's a sign of The End of the World, and I would start to hope that The World would make it long enough for me to go to college.

Great News: I got move-in date! Ooohhh, the new apartment is going to be so clean...and it starts on June 9th. I cannot express how happy I am to be moving, but I'm sure you'll be able to infer my feelings upon hearing about all the new stuff I'm gonna buy. Oh, buying stuff, how I love you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Savannah Cats!

No it's not a version of one of the most popular Broadway musicals ever. It's the name (or general term for) of my newest dream pet. The exclaimation point is simply to show excitement 'cause these animals are so cew-elle. (Pronunciation of the last word brought to us by Elias, one of the precious twins that I babysit. He used it last week when I brought my guitar to his house. He would worshipfully strum the strings as it lay in the case and whisper "that is so cew-elle").

Yes, back to the savannah cats. Apparently, they are hybrids of the African serval and the domestic cat that look super impressive and very wild-animal while requiring no special habitat, diet or treatment. They are 20 pound housecats that look like something off a Mutual of Omaha show. Totally safari-cuddly fun.

I spent a good amount of time at work yesterday (cause there was nothing to do, not because I'm a slacker) researching these magnificent creatures and finding out where I could get one. There are breeders all over, but the things are kinda expensive at $3,000-$4,000 for an F-1 or first generation serval-cat hybrid. The prices decrease as the F's increase because less of the cat is actually a "wild" animal. (Kate, do you need one of these as your second kitty?)

Fun Fact: Servals are also kept as pets and will stand up against you to paw around for food in your pockets. That is one of the cutest things I've ever heard.

So now I spend my spare time daydreaming about taking a dog-sized cat for walks on a leash. And I bet none of you would laugh at me the way you did when you saw Sherman on a leash. Oh, Sherman that ran away to join a band of renegade I miss you.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"This is Netflix, My Boyfriend"

Lots of friends and family from home ask me the question that seems to encompass the success of my whole life, "Dating anybody?" Though I treat it casually and almost always say "Nah" because of my need for privacy since my mom read my journal in seventh grade then gave me a talk on how making out with boys was wrong and because of my family's tendency to assume I'm on the road to marriage with some guy simply because I've mentioned his name (a rarity since I don't talk about boys too much). It's a vicious cycle of being kinda sneaky, keeping my sanity,and giving anyone I might be dating a little peace in knowing that they won't be tracked down by my father and forced to confess their intentions (that actually wouldn't happen, but boys seem to have this misconception of my dad). My mother always tiptoes around the subject with me, tries hard not to ask too many questions as to offend me, and is very thankful when I share even the smallest amount of information with her. But I've starting seeing someone who's wonderful, and I'm proud to tell my mother about him.

"Mom, meet Netflix. He and I have been seeing each other for a few months now, and he's wonderful."

It's true. I'm dating a DVD's-in-the-mail movie service. Luckily, I'm not the only woman who relies on technology for companionship (no, not that kind of electronic device).

Miranda, of Sex and the City, recently confessed in a rerun on TBS that she too had dated outside her species for a while. Her boyfriend's name was Tivo, and she just went on and on about how she was having fun with the girls--Carrie, Charlotte and Samantha--while her understanding man was home taping her favorite shows for her. AND he even recorded things that she might like to see based on previous preferences she had told him. He does sound wonderful, and when she admits that she's dating an electronic recording device, I wanted to stand with her and proclaim my total satisfaction with my own man.

Netflix even let's me see other men who I'm attracted to. Right now, Ewan McGregor and Eddie Izzard are on the way to my apartment. And I can keep them for as long as I want and Netflix never gets angry. He's there with my when I cry over sappy movies, when I laugh and the funniness of people and when I hate a movie enough to stop watching it midway through. He always agrees with me and supports my decisions. And all I have to do is pay for it. my boyfriend a prostitute?

Friday, May 05, 2006

My Second Spring (then I get nostalgic)

I'm really enjoying the change of seasons in New Jersey. It's something that didn't happen in Alabama; we'd have cool weather, two weeks of temperate weather, then about six months of can't-breathe-cause-it's-so-hot weather. So this is only my second spring ever, and the feeling of hope and promise that comes with the world getting green again is really something--how I know what all the literary fuss (poems and whatnot) has been about. I was just living in a climate zone that inhibited my understanding of these weather changes and of various other social and cultural issues that are too numerous to mention.

BRUCE....just bought tickets to see Bruce Springsteen in his homestate of New Jersey and I'm totally excited about it. Actually my day has been pretty good. I babysat the twins this morning until about 2:00. I was given a child-crafted small clay pot (made by Hannah who, incidentally, is a palindrome) and had a lovely picnic with Sophia and Elias that included pb&strawberry jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese, apples and Amelia Bedelia books. Then I returned to my apartment for some topless roof tanning where I was extremely paranoid of being found out until I passed out for about thirty minutes. The older I get, the better I am at naps. But I guess in the grand scheme of things, that works.

These days, I'm just looking forward to moving and shopping for new stuff. Oh, you people know how I love the latter activity. I'll be buying a kitchen table and chairs and maybe a new bed. And maybe a chest of drawers. I'm so ready to have a clean house that I like to live in which has not been the case for at least the past two years. Probably three. I liked living by myself in that little apartment in Troy. Very good memories there.

Tonight I'll probably watch a movie and reminisce about our Troy Cinco de Mayo party two years ago. Yeah, two years ago. We were right, our lives have changed totally since then.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Got It From Kate

So I suppose I've caught the blog blahs from Kate. Not too much has been going on lately though except me working at Kaplan and trying to get motivated again about my thesis. Right now I have zero desire to finish the thing--now I get why some people never finish their degrees.

onight is the last night of my SAT class that's been going on since February. That's far too long to deal with spoiled high school kids after they've been in school all day. I also started tutoring an ESL student yesterday; she's very nice and smart and much better at English than I would be at Korean.

Ok, so I did do one cool thing...go see a taping of The Daily Show last Tuesday.

Jon Stewart was totally funny and gracious. Came out and answered some questions before the show. During the breaks he just played air drums with his pen, talked to the crew and bobbed his head to the kinda loud, very rockin' music--ya know, keeping himself pumped. Tom Selleck, the guest, was funny and attractive. It was strange to see the person who was probably my first sex symbol (Magnum PI) in person.

But the best part was toward the end right before the check-in w/Stephen Colbert. JS and SC are satellite linked during the break and are just talking and making fun of each other and of what they're doing. I will try to recreate some of it:

Both of them wondered how much it would freak their writers out if the writers knew that they didn't read the cards until they were on air. SC threw his cards over the counter in a gesture to prove that he didn't need them.
JS "How do you want to do this Stephen [in the absence of the pre-written cards/dialogue]
SC "Hot and hard, baby. Hot and hard"

JS "Tell the audience where you'll be on Saturday"
SC "The White House"

JS "Who will you be sitting with on Saturday?"
SC "The President of the United States."

JS "And who will you be making fun of on Saturday?"
SC "The President of the United States."

It was fabulous.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Dominic!

Hello All. And a very happy birthday to Dominic "The Legend" Gaskin who turns some age older than me today. Don't think that because I'm telling the internet happy birthday for you that you won't get a call later. Oh, you will and it will be a drunken one.

So I, being the adult that I am, had meetings all morning and ran errands this afternoon. I turned in my application for an adjunct position at Drew for next semester, met with the director of composition to get information on the job/schmooze. (By the way, the program is really great, and I would totally love for this to be my first job.) Then I talked with my first reader about my thesis and here's her scathing criticism: Needs more research and organization. Not nearly as bad as everyone is making it out to be. And though she says she doesn't know if it will be ready in time for October graduation, it will be. She obviously doesn't know how tired I am of this thesis. Then it was off to Kaplan to drop some things off and to Best Buy to return my PalmPilot that died yesterday. I know, I loved it too, but this electronic device and I are destined to have problems. Oh well, better to know early. I happily replaced the PDA with a laser printer because printing my thesis is killing my poor little inkjet that I only bought last year. If, by chance, anyone needs a laser printer, Best Buy has a Samsung on sale now for $79. I'll let you know how the set up goes. Well, if anything is complaint-worthy.

I've just been cleaning up since I got home, doing laundy, and having dinner. A yummy Indian dish of chickpeas, tomatoes and okra over rice. Indian food has somewhat revolutionized my life.

Back to the important stuff....So Laura, Sarah (who we don't see anymore because she apparently feels obligated to do all her schoolwork) and I are going to the bar later. We haven't hung out in a while, so it should be fun. Dominic, perhaps I should amend my previous promise of a drunken phone--you may be getting one from three ladies in Jerz instead of just one.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

And Now I Have a Life Again

Ok, here's the final word on my thesis (well, probably not the final, but at least for a little while): I'm graduating in October.

My first reader is really encouraging me to wait, so I should proabably listen to her since she's actually an expert on female Modernist poets. Even though she didn't read my thesis and reply to me that it needed work until it was too late to revise in time for May graduation, I'm ready to take her advice because I'm so resentful of this process and ready to quit the whole thing in general right now. I'm taking myself out of high-gear-paper-writing mode. My heart already thanks me for the caffeine abuse I'm discontinuing.

On the upside, my third reader and former huge crush Dr. Bernard McKenna, will be able to attend the defense in person instead of my conference call. Alas, his wife and new baby (very new, like a week new) will be accompanying him, but it'll be ok 'cause I think I'm kinda over him since he's went and moved away to Deleware last summer.

The thesis will be much better in the long run because of the extension and will be closer to publication-grade in the end. And I can talk/think about more interesting things than this paper. And watch my Netflix movies. Not that I haven't cried about this plenty and talked incoherently to good-hearted, patient people on the phone for hours, but ultimately, I'm ok with this (or maybe that's just an affirmation I'm trying to believe).

Now I can focus on the other things I'm doing this summer like
  • Moving!
  • Learning Spanish
  • Perhaps conducting new student orientation for the graduate school
  • Writing a cookbook
  • Finally making my Europe scrapbook, hey Kate:)
  • Applying for conferences and jobs
  • Getting papers ready for publication
  • Starting a Family Oral History Project
Please feel free to ask me about how all or any of these things are/is going. Thanks everybody, and next time, I promise to be more interesting.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Greetings from the Land of Stimulants

So I had a meeting with one of my thesis readers, and she said that I should try to get my paper ready in time for May graduation. I have a chance if I work pretty much around the clock, hence the two huge cups of coffee I've had this morning. (Oh, my heart is going to be so mad at me.)

There's hope so I'm knee deep in Frances Cornford right now and I won't be coming out for a week.

Tragus update: I think my ear healed last night in my sleep (knock on wood). It's turning very easily this morning and let's hope it doesn't act up again.

Ok, enough fun for me. Back to work!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Wah, Wah, Waaaah

Hello, this is old Debbie Downer here. Or at least that's how I feel. I found out this morning that I won't be graduating in May because I need to revise my thesis. No big deal in the long run since I'm already in the PhD program, but it is upsetting and disappointing. My professors are suddenly shocked that I wrote the long paper without a long editing process. Did they think we were doing that via telepathy?

I'm generally not real happy with Drew University right now. I'll let you know how everything goes. For now, I need to just distract myself.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Napping with Kitties

Housesitting is great. No, I'm not at the place with the excessive-neck-fat pug dog but in the house of the family I babysit for. Or, in the house of the family for whom I babysit. And it rocks.

There's all the cable tv I could want; a huge, well-stocked kitchen; three (3!) bathrooms that I don't have to fight anyone for; a king size bed just for me with the fluffiest, warmest comforter of all time; and animals.

  • A black lab named Fallon who is so smart he almost talks
  • A black kitty, Rexie but who the kids call reg-ghy, who terrorizes my favorite cat:
  • Ophelia, my favorite cat, who is a tabby with a very round, cute face (I knew I would like this family when I discovered they had a cat named Ophelia)
  • A siamese, Mocha, who has been dubbed "Granny's Mocha" since she moved here with Yvette's mom a few months ago. She used to be an introverted kitty but has since come out of her shell being that she's in a house full of people all the time. She's so pretty and so sweet. And she likes to hide.
As opposed to the other house with Zeus, the pug dog, I love housesitting here and it doesn't make me depressed at all. When I go to sleep, there are animals everywhere though none are on the bed. But they do nap with me on the couch when we watch tv. Speaking of which, Dale pointed out to me last night that a good series is on the History Channel: 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America. It's good, you should watch it tonight for "Einstein's Letter."

Now that I've run through the animals and my tv recommendations, I have to go spray the yard with deer repellant then immediately take a shower as the instructions specify. There is an overpopulation of deer in NJ (never woulda thunk it) who eat the purdy flowers in the courtyard. Flow-er, pur-dy.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thanks for All the Weird Lunch

Last year, when I lived with the lovely Sarah Gardam, I would often come downstairs to find her sitting at the table. When asked what she was doing, she would reply, "Oh, eating a weird lunch" and then laugh at the ridiculousness of her own food. Upon closer inspection I would find that it was usually some sauteed vegetables or beans wrapped in a tortilla. The lovely Sarah Gardam loves her tortillas with vegetarian leftovers in 'em; she thinks it's exotic because (like me) she didn't grow up with too many tortillas in the house. My personal favorite was when she made too much veggie curry an ate curry burittoes for what seemed like weeks.

A few days ago, I noticed some canned tomatoes and corn that had been in my pantry for months, so after a trip to the grocery store, I decided to combine some of the items to make dinner. In Troy, I bought cans of "tomatoes, corn and okra" all together and would use it for soup and stuff, so after getting some frozen okra at Whole Foods (only place to get it here in Madison) I recreated the afore mentioned combination. Now I don't know what it says about me that I'm imitating canned food from home except that I'm a grad student and I miss tomatoes and rice. The combination was quite good and proved to be an effective way to get vegetables in my system, but I seem to be losing the battle of eating all of the stuff. Just a can of this and that takes a long time to eat when it's just you. And I know Laura is wondering what in the world her crazy Southern roommate has been eating, but she has not asked. That's how I know she thinks I'm crazy...she usually asks.

But for all of you who eat Weird Lunch/Dinner sometimes, may I make a side dish suggestion: Cheese Toast. Sounds simple, but wow does it dress up strange canned food conglomerations. I do recommend cheddar cheese on wheat bread, but you can surely find a bread and cheese combination to suit your specific weird lunch ingredients. Sarah and I consider cheese toast to be much more than a side dish; to us, it's a food group, and a vitally important one to us grad students.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ahhh, Snow in April

The weatherperson on Yahoo lied to me today in saying that we were gonna get morning showers. Well, that was with me assuming showers meant rain, but maybe that's Yankee code for April SNOW! On the way to work this morning, I saw flurrying rain drops that I then presumed to be snow, and within 30 minutes, big, fat, wet snowflakes were falling. But surely they wouldn't stick right...with all the moisture in the air and what not. Wrong. Soon everything had an inch or so of snow on it. Just feels weird to have snow after a few nice days, and it's not even that cold here, but whatever. My comment that I should call my mom and tell her about the snow met with giggles and eye rolls because people in New Jersey are used to strange weather (and lots of strange things, come to think of it). Then I thought I should call my granny and tell her what's happening so she could tell me (like she did when I was little) that it's a sign of the end times and Jesus is gonna come back soon. Conservative Baptist childhoods are full of wonder...

Speaking of drastic weather changes that signal the end of the world, I heard a speech on global warming Monday given by our former Vice-President, Al Gore. He did a great job on presenting somewhat complicated scientific data (and boy was there a lot of it) in a very understandable way and was personable and funny. He was only slightly political, which I appreciated, making a few comments on how the Clinton/Gore administration was better than the current Dumber/Dumb one [my phrase, not his]. What I learned: Everyone! BUY A HYBRID CAR FAST BEFORE GREENLAND OR ANTARCTICA MELTS AND RAISES THE SEA LEVEL BY 20 FEET. We'll drown if you don't do it (and I'm totally serious about that).

These days I'm just waiting to hear about my thesis and if I'll be able to graduate which I really wish someone would tell me already. I'm also trying to get several other papers conference-ready and doing my normal housesitting and babysitting gigs. John and Yvette (the primary family for whom I babysit) have offered to give me a graduation party, so that's exciting. Yvette and her mother are great cooks and decorators, so that plus their beautiful house should make for a very nice party. It could be the social event of the season.

Not much else happening except that I've become one of those people whose life is dictated by an intricate system of electronic devices. Currently, my new palm pilot is my fave, but there's always the ipod, cell phone and digital camera to occupy more time and computer memory. I tried making a grocery list on the PalmPilot, and while it was incredibily easy, I was too embarassed to keep the device out in the grocery store -- too pretentious even for Madison, NJ. I am afraid that my crazy notes might become a thing of the past with the electronic organizer, but I'll probably keep them around for aesthetic value. Because who am I if I can't have my "CD's to Buy" list or conference deadlines posted up on my desk? No one, I tell you, no one.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My Friend, Karla

I got some bad news this morning from a woman I worked with in the printing department at Troy University. Bonnie called me today to report that Karla Finlay Reed's 11 day old baby boy, Brendan, passed away yesterday of an infection and internal bleeding.

Those of you that know Karla can contact me for information about condolences. Apparently, the baby had a fever in the hospital but was sent home only to go limp on Sunday and be rushed to the hospital again. My heart is broken for Karla and her family; I talked to her about a week ago, and she was so happy and excited about Brendan. It seemed like just what she needed in her life.

I'm sure she would appreciate our thoughts if you'd like to get in touch with her. Saying clever things on the internet and complaining about my life just don't seem important or appropriate right now.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thesis, Check

Yesterday, at approximately 3:00 pm, I turned in my thesis. Yeeeeaaaah! It actually took forever to turn it in 'cause I had to go to two places on campus to get it printed out then spend 30 or more minutes waiting outside the graduate office while the women that work there were kissing up to the visiting Irish harpist that was playing on campus that night. They made her tea while they were supposed to be thanking me for turning in my brilliant project and praising me for completing this step in my education. Some people...the nerve!

Instead of starting on my ten day drunk which I've been threatening, I took a nap, went out for fried food and ice cream, then drinks, then a bottle of champagne back at the apartment. It was a good night and my friends totally pulled together and celebrated with me.

Now I'm off to buy stuff in celebration and go to work this evening. I'm 'bout to make a fool of myself spendin' money, y'all.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ben S., If You're Gay, Call Me

So, I think about six months ago, actually last September 20th, my friend Kate wrote me a long email that included shocking and important information. I saved the email (my memory's not quite that good) because, for some reason, her revelation resonated with me in a way that I have only recently realized.

She reported that the guy she went on a first date with has since come out of the closet as a gay man. Like I said, at the time, I didn't fully understand what that meant, but in the months since we've discussed the full potential of what something like this means. I have also met this man--let's call him John because that's his real name--and really liked him. He's a good looking, nice, smart, funny, impressive dresser in that laid back way, and I can totally understand how she would have fallen for him...I certainly would have.

And as for that, it's highly possible that I've dated some men who now identify as gay. For a few years now, when I think someone is cute, my next thought is that he's probably not into women. But that may have been something I got into in college.

Back to the cosmic implications: Kate came to the conclusion that it wasn't her he rejected, it was her whole gender which cancelled out the fact that there was ever any rejection at all. What a wonderfully liberating feeling. In cases like this, when someone says they don't want to see you anymore, or when things just trail off as they do in high school, it really is them!

Then I thought it would be great if guys I used to date, or have crushes on, or high-school-love, were gay then that would take all the pressure off me that I did something wrong or missed my chance. So this is my wish: Boys that used to date me (especially the person mentioned in the title) but I'm sure don't read any of this....If you're gay, call me!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Dr. A.B. Ethridge

Just call me doctor, baby, 'cause I'm officially in the PhD program! I was personally informed by the Dean recently and now I get a's that easy right. First, I should probably work on my Master's.

And I'm moving into a new apartment with my friend Brandon. It's a cozy place not far away from where I live now with a huge kitchen and a back deck perfect for herb gardens and grilling out. Possibly some tanning. Brandon and I are going to be so clean and have such good food...and I only have to share with one other person. What a luxury.

So things are looking up for me right now as long as I get this thesis done and defended so I can graduate in May. (More on my post-thesis shopping spree later.) Thanks for all your encouragement so far with making me think I can actually get through Drew University. And thanks for the blogments. Blog comments. Is that a work already? Yeah, everything!

Monday, March 20, 2006

To Daily Show or Not to Daily Show

The answer seems to obvious. It's the former, of course. But twice, TWICE I have had to cancel my Daily Show tickets. The first time was last February when I had to work on a paper and the second was just a few weeks ago when I cancelled because I have to teach on April 6th when I had so fortuitously gotten free tickets (I just mean the gettin' part, they're always free). Eeerrrrgggghhhh! I'm tired of stupid work and school getting in the way of cultural events. Doesn't everybody know that's why I'm here.

In other news, I recently housesat for a family for about 3 weeks and discovered that staying that long by myself in a house that's not my own makes me depressed and then I sleep on the couch every night after drinking too much diet coke with the tv still on The X Files and a stinky pug dog on the floor beside me. I didn't like it. Oh well, at least it gave me a good shower for those three weeks and provided me, Kate and Dominic with a pug dog's excessive neck rolls to laugh at. And it had a cool movie projector in the basement, so I guess I should hush.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Petite But Pierceable

So after my fatefull encouter with Scarlett Johansson (well, kind of) and my decision to get something pierced now set in stone, Dale and I set out in the days after Mardi Gras to get pierced and tattooed. I had done some internet research before going to New Orleans and found this place called Rings of Desire on Decatur Street in the French Quarter that was exclusively a piercing shop. We had a drink before at The Abbey across the street from the place where people were about to gather for a memorial service honoring one of their beloved patrons. Dale and I got drinks and cut out of there 'cause being around strangers mourning their loved ones can be awkward and then there was the fact that it was in a bar which made me uncomfortable.

We had to walk around the French Quarter Market for a while t finish our drinks since Rings of Desire did not allow drinks upstairs (where the piercing was done) only to find that there was a convenient spot at the top of the stairs where you could leave your drinks. Ahhh, New Orleans really understands the importance of having a drink handy.

So I talked to a piercer, and because I was a little nervous, forgot what the part of my ear was called that I wanted to get pierced. I just pointed, said I wanted it done and this pretty and highly pierced woman named Elayne Angel said, "Your tragus?" "Yes," I replied, "but it may be too small."

I should tell you now that when I pointed this out to Dale, he called my ear deformed.

The wonderful Elayne said that it was, and I quote because I love this part, "petite but pierceable." Not only was something on me petite as been named by a professional, but I had a great phrase to use whenever I told the story. So I filled out all the appropriate paperwork and was lying on a table before I knew it. In doing my internet research, I read that the tragus is one of the more painful ear piercings, so I was a little afraid, but it was actually quite painless even though I think I might have passed out had I been sitting up. I got very red and flushed and was glad I had a shot of water waiting for me when I sat up. Elayne did a great job (did I mention she's pierced Lenny Kravitz's nose and knipple) and I thank her publically for it.

Dale scheduled a tattoo apointment the next day at an undisclosed tattoo shop (he can tell you about it), and we were on our way. I spent the next few days nursing my ear, asking Dale to look in it and saying, ow, ow, ow, ow, when I acidentally touched it. Now I can sleep on it and everything's good...and I really, really like it. When my parents come for graduation, they may even think it's cute. That's how cute it is.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I cried at Mardi Gras, then found a superhero

So, Mardi Gras was fun. Slightly smaller crowds (just enough to make the holiday more bearable) and still plenty of parades, fun costumes, and Bloody Marys. It was my second Mardi Gras in three years -- the first of which was attended with Kate and Dominic also -- and it was great, except for a little while on Tuesday.

I arrived at the Louis Armstrong airport on Sunday, my chauffeur Dale picked me up and then we went back to his place to begin the festivities. We made it to one parade that day, or was it two, but stayed pretty low key with his nice flask to keep us company. The whole trip was generally low key and we didn't go out as much as usual. Maybe that's because most of the city is still inoperable and lots of restaurants and bars are not open or have hours that limit our getting food after 8pm.

We went to his friend Michael Depp's (who interviewed me for Reuters at Mardi Gras two years ago) place for a Bacchus party on Sunday evening, walked to the parade and then holed up in Michael's house with Allison to get our snacks in privacy. It was fun.

Monday was more parades and drinks until that evening when the Orpheus parade rolled. Dale had heard that Steven Seagal was the king/marshall/the person on the front float, so that was funny, but then came the exciting part. The sign introducing the second float said "Scarlett Johansson and Josh Hartnett," and I responded with stunned suspicion. Sometimes Mardi Gras floats are just tributes to things, events, or people, and with Orpheus' theme "Signs and Superstitions," I didn't think there would be famous people too. But Harry Connick Jr's krewe totally pulled through on this one to have several famous people, but of course the most important one was Scarlett Johansson and Josh Hartnett by association (I think they're dating).

I love Scarlett Johansson! Total girl crush. And there she was, just as close as Elijah Wood two years ago, but those of you who either experienced my Elijah Wood-Mardi Gras freak out or heard about it will be happy to know that I did not react quite so strongly this year to famous people I saw in a parade. I conjured up my cheerleading voice and excitedly screamed, "Oh my god, it's really them!" Remember I didn't know if it was the real "them" or a tribute to "them" for some strange reason...and I was dazed after having just seen Steven Seagal. Alas Josh was the only one facing my side of the street, but he heard me yell, kind of laughed at me and threw me a long strand of large gold beads. Famous men throw me beads at Mardi Gras -- even if I do have to fight children for them. Like I said Scarlett was facing away from me (don't you love how its my side of the street and away from me?), but I did see the back of her head and her updo was lovely and quite festive.

Seeing Scarlett Johansson in a parade just solidified my decision to get a new body piercing. I've had the itch to get tattooed or pierced for a while, but I recently noticed Ms. Johansson's ear piercing on the Vanity Fair cover where she was naked with Kiera Knightly and Tom Ford. It's the little middle part of the ear called the tragus; the part that you can kind of push over your ear canal to close your ears. But more on that later.

Mardi Gras day started out great. I was happy with my costume, and Dale, Allison and I were having a good time getting ready. And I was having a great hair day, very all-American girl curls. Allison drove us down in her truck and then we walked to the French Quarter and this was my downfall. I had gone into the city and bought TWO pairs of shoes to go with my sexy Uncle Sam costume. One pair of royal blue, glitter-covered maryjanes and a pair of silver go-go boots. I chose the boots that morning 'cause the glitter was already rubbing my feet, and though they first felt comfortable, they had no padding and the walk to the French Quarter KILLED. I sat down at the R Bar and had a Bloody Mary, but it quickly became obvious that I would have to either go home or get out of the shoes. I cried. Without knowing it or really meaning to, I cried (just a little) on Mardi Gras 'cause me feet hurt so bad.

That's when Allison and Dale knew it was serious. After I asked about going back to Dale's to change shoes, Allison recommended that I just take them off until I found new shoes to buy. I reluctantly did this. Yes, I walked around the French Quarter on Mardi Gras with my boots slung over my shoulder. I stuck to the sidewalk which was pretty clean and very few people noticed though I was totally humiliated at having made such a poor shoe choice and also slightly afraid for my personal health.

But Dale saved me. He walked in front of me to point out possible hazards and went very slow to make sure he didn't lose me. Then he took me to a store and bought me flipflops that still matched my costume. He was wonderful and I will never stop thanking him. He's my Mardi Gras superhero...CrazyPantsShirtlessManWithATuxedoJacketAndABeret. That's his name.

After that, Mardi Gras was soooo much fun. We trapsed all around partyhopping, getting lunch, buying drinks, and generally being fabulous in costume as one does on Mardi Gras. We saw a band and danced (but not Dale) and ended the night at the Bulldog, one of my favorite bars in NO for a reason I can't quite explain -- we just get each other, where Dale ordered and fetched food for me and Allison. And then there was sleeping which was good too.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

On Hold for a Week

I'm putting my internet life on hold for a week while I finish a draft of my thesis. You should kick me in the butt by Saturday if I have not done this. But then I'm rewarding myself with at least a PalmPilot and a haircut.

Remind me to tell you about this stuff:

Mardi Gras/Rings of Desire
The Daily Show
Jon and Ben

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ok, you win

I've resisted doing this for a long time, but my cooler and more technological friends have one out and now me and the internet are together full time. After my ipod and one of those new fangled cell phones with cameras, I guess this was the next step. Said with almost a sigh of defeat.

Actually, I enjoy (but not obsessively, like everyday, no not me) checking Dale's and Kate and Dominic's blogs, so maybe they'll enjoy mine too. Today I'm at work at Kaplan, which will probably be when I do a lot of this since there's usually plenty of internet time anyway, but I have to stay until 8pm tonight to proctor a GMAT. This mostly distresses me because the Academy Awards START at 8:00. I could miss Jon Stewart's opening which would make me very sad.

I've been gearing myself up for these Oscar's for a while. I love awards shows. Well, really just the Oscar's and maybe the Grammy's, and usually Miss America, but this past year was horrible. The standard of contestants has really gone downhill. Dale and I recently had a long, seemingly intelligent talk about how the most impressive acting lately has been the more subtle stuff after I said Catherine Keener was stunning in Capote though she had a supporting role. Dale came up with the subtleness theory and we talked about it as we drank red wine, named actors, and ate delicious baclava that is now one of my favorite desserts. It was more than likely obnoxious.

I think that's enough of me for now. Find me internet! and make comments!