12 November 2006

Law & Order: Drunk Tank

I had to call 911 last night for the first time in my life. At about midnight or 1, I was on the computer when someone tried to get into my front door, not just turning the knob and going, "Oops, it's locked," but shaking it and banging against it really hard. I had just about convinced myself that I had imagined it or it must have been someone having trouble with his lock at a neighboring apartment when I heard someone rattling the doors on our storage sheds in the alley.

I freaked out for a second, then went to check out the front door situation and found that it was my door the person was trying to open, because the door was being held closed by the deadbolt but not the doorknob latch, if that makes sense, so then I freaked out for a little bit longer and hid behind my desk and finally decided even though I couldn't hear anything at the moment to 1) creep into the kitchen for a knife (bizarrely rejecting the 10" chef's knife because it was dirty and choosing a 3" paring knife instead -- apparently, in my moral code, cutting intruders is OK, but cutting them with an oniony knife is just not done) and 2) call 911, because if you're freaked out enough to be hiding in your own house with a knife, you should probably get the police involved.

I was all prepared to be the best. emergency caller. EVER! and collected my thoughts before I called, but then totally puddled up as soon as the nice lady answered the emergency response line. I gave her all the information, and she asked a series of questions including, "Are you hearing the noises now?" and "Are you at home alone?" and, hilariously, "Are you expecting anyone?" which suggests that a not-insignificant number of people call 911 to report the attempted intrusion of, like, their roommates.

Then I hid with my knife some more, passing the time by gauging the likelihood of my being able to leap over the patio wall, should I have to escape out the back door (conclusion: likely to flub wall-vault and become trapped in patio like rat armed with paring knife; should instead attempt to flee through front door). Then I heard the police cruiser pull up and a minor scuffle outside, and one of Tempe's finest came to my door and told me that they had apprehended the guy, who was blind drunk and thought he was trying to get into his house several blocks away, but settled for passing out with his head in one of the water heater closets off the alley. I thanked the nice cop for coming out, and he said, "No problem -- you can call us anytime you need anything," which prompted the excellent mental image of my calling 911 for a magazine or quart of milk.

After the police left, I became strangely paranoid that the drunk would be angry with me for having him carted off to the drunk tank and turn up at my house again, so I could not sleep until I had closed the bedroom door (only a passing nod to added security, as it doesn't lock) and placed a hammer (not knife, for fear I would grab the blade in the middle of the night and find myself fighting off an attacker with hilt of knife held in badly injured hand) and both phones within easy reach of the bed. Needless to say, the drunk did not show up looking for revenge, so everything's fine now.

18 September 2006

I was Really Looking Forward to Writing my Manifesto

So, we were reading Hegel in one of my classes last week, and I guess I didn't know that slogging through 200 pages of 19th-century German philosophy could somehow be made worse, but it can be: by slogging through 200 pages of the wrong book of 19th-century German philosophy. Yeah, the bookstore somehow managed to order Hegel's Introduction to the Lectures on the History of Philosophy instead of Introduction to the Philosophy of History. Which is awesome, because I love wasting my time. I would have read it just for fun anyway.

But actually, it was a little bit awesome, because the book we got was part from Hegel's own notes, and part reconstructed from his students' notes taken during his lectures. That being the case, I read it totally looking forward to the book's seemingly inevitable descent into:
-"thoughts are not the thing itself"?! WTF? -- check on this during office hours.
-OMG 'Geist' again can U explain I missed class Weds...?
-Dude I don't know what he's on abt 1/2 the time!!! Mid-term better be mult choice.
-I know right?!? Hey want to grab a beer tonite?
-Yeah awesome but how about Heckels, I jilted barmaid at Die Fledermaus can't deal w that scene now
-Buxom one? NICE.
-ha ha yeah but thought we were betrothed or something, might have to duel w her brother now
-Whoa bummer
[Drawings of clear boxes of various sizes (reproduced in Fig 1, below)]

Unfortunately, the German students were apparently a lot more attentive than I would have been in that class, because it was just a lot of droning about World-Spirit, and randomly capitalized nouns.

I can't say I didn't get anything out of it, though, because now I can finally put my finger on what makes me different from Marx: he reads Hegel and is inspired to craft an insightful and revolutionary social theory; I read Hegel and am inspired to blow off the last 50 pages and watch Project Runway instead.

13 September 2006

I am Being Punished for my Horticultural Hubris

I thought I was starting to do pretty well taking care of houseplants -- I had five that were attractive and growing, needing new pots every once in awhile and stuff -- but ever since I moved last year they have been slowly dying. This sucks for several reasons, not least of which is how it's super depressing to be surrounded by dying lifeforms. And I feel terrible throwing out a plant just because it's dropping leaves and looks sickly, so I keep them around until they're just a few brown sticks. Sometimes I keep them around after that, because I'm a terrible housekeeper.

But also, two of my plants were my grandmother's, and my grandfather gave them to me to take care of after she died two years ago because he was worried that he would kill them. No pressure, right? Well, one of them was a Christmas cactus, and I knew it wasn't long for the world when I came home from school one day to find a branch amounting to about two thirds of the plant lying on my desk, no longer attached -- but I was able to root about five babies from the part that fell off, and distributed them to various people I know who can be trusted with plants, including my mom, who is so good with plants that my parents last year got about a half-bushel of peaches from a tree that sprouted from a seed in their yard. From a seed. That shit is like magic to me.

Anyway, I still have the second plant from my grandmother, one that my grandfather got when a florist dropped the ball on delivering an order for the memorial service (side note: they called to ask if he still wanted the arrangement, or if he'd prefer a live plant. Yes, please do send me a funeral arrangement to display in my home. That will really take the edge off the loss of my spouse of 60 years), and said, "Now, take good care of that one -- that's your grandmother's memorial plant." NO PRESSURE. Cut to today:
I am terrible granddaughter, unworthy of memorial plants.

Now, you might be thinking from the picture that it is not depressing because of the dying plant, but because my apartment is apparently a barracks. It isn't really -- there just happens to be a cinderblock wall here and there. But because my two super-low-light plants are doing OK, I decided that maybe the others are dying because I get no sun in my house except for one big window, and I moved the saddest plant over there, and I will open the blinds for it during the day. I had to make a klassy dining chair/cinderblock wall/dying plant decorating element because I don't have any occasional tables lying around. I think maybe it's perking up after just being there for today -- I'm almost positive only one leaf was up when I left this morning. I hope so.

31 August 2006

Panic! At the Altar

Despite my friend Greg D's best efforts to start a rumor to the contrary, I actually have not dropped out of grad school to live in a remote cabin and write anti-academic screeds, although screed-writing is on my list of things to do more of. My time since coming back from the wedding has been spent as follows:

Week 1: Curse heat.
Week 2: Train new students; pretend not to be anti-social at department welcome functions.
Week 3: Wage successful campaign to take class in another department, which garners the longed-for prize of reading 300 pages and writing 10 within 48 hours.
Week 4: Catch plague or similar; recall fondly the days when standing or even sitting upright did not cause dizziness and colorful spots before eyes; enjoy subtly energizing effects of prescription-strength Sudafed, approximately 400% of maximum recommended over-the-counter dosage.

Which is all kind of a bummer, because I was introduced to a wonderful invention during the trip, and have not been able to tell my readership about it until now. Except that I have approximately one (1) reader, and I'm pretty sure I told her about it on the phone. Anyway.

The invention is the Bridal Emergency Kit, which induced much eye-rolling when my sister called at 10:30pm while I was trying to pack to ask me to make one and list all the items that go into it, my feeling being pretty much that I generally make it through a five-hour party--even days at a time--without Band-Aids, crackers, or a needle and thread, so what about a wedding requires that these things be available? Well, as it turns out, we used almost every damn thing we put in there. Here is what my dad (who ended up building the kit after I rebelled) put into it, and what we ended up using the items for:

Needle and thread (matching bridesmaids' and bride's dresses): the only thing we didn't use
Safety pins: to secure incorrectly altered rehearsal dress
Band-aids: to cover my open wounds resulting from several days of insensible shoes, also to tape notes to door
Pocket knife: to cut Band-Aids used to tape notes to door
Tampons: self-explanatory
Oyster crackers: to correct low-blood-sugar-related bridal-party snappishness
Flashlight: to check radiator fluid of our car, which overheated en route to wedding site
Tide stain-removal pen: red sauce incident
Mini-bottles of vodka (added as joke): to correct stress-related mother-of-the-bride meltdown

We also joked about adding a safety whistle and compass, and we could have totally used the whistle to keep the rehearsal on track. I am now fully endorsing this kit as an excellent bridal shower gift--but not at showers I'll be at too, because I have dibs.

02 August 2006

Giving the People What They Want

As I post, I am at the airport, waiting to board a flight home to Colorado for my sister's wedding. Because I never get it together enough in advance to check in online, I am in the dreaded "C" class for Southwest Airlines' seating cattle call, and am eagerly anticipating my middle seat and having to shove both messenger bag and laptop under the seat in front of me. I can only hope that this will be as positive an experience as my last flight, during which I fell asleep, then woke up to find my shirt askew, part of my bra exposed, and the 50-year-old man next to me staring at it intently. You'll be relieved to hear that I had the forethought to avoid a repeat experience by wearing a prettier bra this time.

13 July 2006

The Commute to Canada is Killing Me

Perhaps you've seen those interweb ads for Monster.com that have an alarm clock and read, "get more sleep -- work closer to [your location, which we creepily obtained from your computer]"?

Well, something must be wrong with their stalking software, because I just got one that urged me to "get more sleep -- work closer to United States".


25 June 2006

We Don't Need no Water...

My family has been aflutter with planning my fantastic older sister's wedding, especially during the last few weeks, when she took an extended trip home to make crucial decisions (What color tablecloths? What color?!?) and stuff guest welcome bags in the manner of the political prisoner of a dictatorship fiercly dedicated to the cause of ribbon, tulle, and the color blue.

At one point, finding themselves with time to kill between appointments with the caterer and cake dude (and he really is a dude -- a classic mountain-town burnout who happens to be a genius with pastry), she and our parents decided to drive by the cabin her also-fantastic fiancé had reserved for the wedding night, and found ... a smoking ruin. The rental agency just hadn't bothered to notify the couple that the unit had burned to the ground and their reservation had been transferred to a different one.

Now, this was kind of a shock to my sister and our parents, and, as my sister the attorney possesses truly masterful angry-phone-call skills, I imagine it was also a shock to the unfortunate CSR at the rental agency who had to explain the situation, and yet I have been giggling about it ever since I found out.

22 June 2006


(from threadbared.com)

Is it weird that I would be totally tempted to make one of these dresses for myself?

13 June 2006

I'll Take the Stairs, Thanks

The facilities maintenance people on campus have a standard flier that they post when they will be doing construction work, filling in the appropriate location on the form to alert people with offices in that area that things are about to be extremely unpleasant.

Because I am easily entertained, I was delighted to come across such a sign posted outside the department office earlier today, reading:

"Attention: Occupants and visitors to stairwells and elevator cab ..."

"What're you up to?" "Not much, just popping in to see the stairwell for lunch."
"Hey, where's your office these days?" "I'm in the elevator cab."

I'm not sure what they're doing to the stairs, or why they have the stairs and elevator torn up simultaneously, but presumably, this means that they are fixing the elevator so that the door opens not only to let you board the elevator, but also to let you out on the appropriate floor. I kid you not, getting stuck in an elevator is such a common occurrence in our buildings that my officemate always uses the bathroom and has a drink of water before taking the elevator, just in case.

11 June 2006

Subject: Condolences

My primary boss's cat had to be put to sleep this week, which led to a surprisingly complex workplace etiquette dilemma: clearly, I didn't want to be all business-as-usual, but at the same time, she and I are not what you'd call confidantes, so I didn't want to be intrusive, all, "Hi! It's possible that you would prefer to mourn privately, but I will nonetheless bring up your recent loss in a professional setting! I heard your cat died! That really blows!". I thought a minimally intrusive sympathy card would probably be best, but that would take awhile to get to her (she's out of town), which would leave the business-as-usual e-mail I'd sent 30 minutes before hearing about the cat (but about two hours after the cat actually went) just hanging out there making me look like a callous asshole for several days. Emergency action was required, i.e.:

1. Frantic composition of sympathy e-mail; that the subject line was "Condolences" really tells you everything you need to know about how hilariously awkward and inadequate it was.

2. Hasty excursion in search of a reasonably sympathetic, yet professional card; no reflection on the fantastic Changing Hands Bookstore -- I think the range of available sympathy cards is just uniformly bad -- but it took me about 45 minutes to decide among some really deplorable choices:
a. Outside: Watercolor cat on cloud with halo and wings. Inside: Some kind of tear-jerking sentimental poem about loss. Sure, if my goal was to make her cry more.
b. Outside: Night sky with cat-shaped constellation. Inside: "Heaven is a little bit brighter now". Sweet dancing Christ.
c. Blank card with pen-and-ink drawings of frolicking cats. Relatively inoffensive, but will depiction of happy cats make her feel worse?
d. Blank card with black-and-white photo of sleeping cat. But does sleeping cat have unpleasant visual associations with dead cat?

... and so on. I ended up with a pretty good one with a simple non-cat design and a positive message about having a good life, but it was a tightrope ... a fucking tightrope.

09 June 2006

Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

Dear Keanu Reeves,

Your newfound desire for a family and a stable life are very endearing, and I have had a soft spot for you ever since Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. As a result, it is with great regret that I inform you that, while I agree that beards are pretty sweet, if yours is still patchy when you are 41, you should accept that you will never achieve full coverage. Please consider a different facial hair conformation. Perhaps a moustache; that, at least, is looking pretty solid, and I understand from their sudden presence on random hipster dudes-about-town that they're totally happening right now.

Hearts & rainbows,

P.S. The internet has failed to yield a link directly related to The State sketch "The Bearded Men of Space Station 11". I'm not angry with you, interweb -- just very, very disappointed.

05 June 2006

The Extreme Have no Need for Spellcheck

Nearby Fort McDowell Casino is advertising "Rage in the Cage"--an "Xtreme!" fight championship, naturally--as "closed fist", among other details that didn't really register with me, not being a big fight aficionado. But not being a big fight aficionado, the closed fist thing raised a question: why do they need to specify this? Are there really prize fights that are open fist? Wouldn't that just be a slap fight? Ooh, is the fact that it's not a slap fight what makes it "Xtreme!"?

Man, just so you know, there are no good pictures of slap fights on the internet. Google images has failed me. My world is all ahoo.

01 June 2006

Monument to Inefficiency

It's good to see that although they lack the wherewithal to provide prescription coverage for students, ASU is committed to making minor bureaucracies as labyrinthe as possible.

Today I received notification that a book I'd requested from Interlibrary Loan for my ultimate boss had arrived. Fantastic! When I went to collect the book, ILL guy told me that I had a $10 charge for a previous overdue ILL item that would need to be paid before I could check this one out, and sent me to billing. Billing lady told me that I could only pay cash for the fine, and sent me to the library ATM. Library ATM told me I could not withdraw any money. I told billing lady that I would get cash at the student union. Student union ATM gave me cash, and Starbucks barista gave me a refreshing coffee beverage. Back at the library, billing lady told me I would need exact change to pay my $10, and sent me to the copy center. Copy center guy could only give me fives and ones as change. I foisted off the ones on billing lady and got my receipt showing that I was back in the library's good graces. Back at ILL, ILL guy couldn't check out my book because my patron record was still open over in billing, so he had to pop over and ask them to close it. Then I finally got to walk out of the place with my book.

To recap: ILL, billing, ATM, billing, student union, billing, copy center, billing, ILL. I can hardly believe that they hate overdue-book-hoarders that much. Is this what the library employees do to entertain themselves on slow days? Seriously, is this some kind of joke?

29 May 2006

Oh, Not You, Sir

In an unfortunate coincidence, when my super-conscientious landlord came over to poison my ants and also give me like eight spare air filters (because of my allergies, he wants me to be able to change them whenever I want), I was listening to the Dead Kennedys' Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. Which happened to be on track 4. Which is "Let's Lynch the Landlord".


23 May 2006

I, For One, Welcome Our New Insect Overlords

For no apparent reason (except perhaps that it's ungodly hot outside), ants started coming into my living room this weekend. Now, I've always been kind of fond of ants--even going so far as to follow them around during recess periods in elementary school, and to yell, "How would YOU like it if a giant ant stepped on your house?!?" at the boys who liked to kick anthills on the way home from school (I was a weird kid)--but all bets were off when I was bitten by one while eating popcorn in my living room, blithely unaware of the invasion in progress. Cursory inspection on tiptoe from behind the couch revealed that there was not just one, but easily a dozen ants marching in through a corner of the front door; I vacuumed them up, flapping all the while, put down a cotton ball soaked with a weak detergent solution to block their pheromone trail, and congratulated myself when there were no ants to be seen an hour later.

Cut to Monday morning, when stumbling around barefoot in my robe, I went to open the living room blinds and found a bunch of ants simply detouring around my ingenious cotton ball blockade. As is customary for girls in such situations, I flailed, squeaked, and pranced away into the ant-free kitchen, eating my cereal with my feet up on my chair while looking askance at the far end of the living room. It then took me like three hours to get ready for work, because I was so creeped out that I couldn't just ignore them; I ended up searching on the internet for ways to deter them with stuff I might have around the house already, and then kept leaving off getting dressed in favor of stalking crazily around the living room with vacuum, ground cinnamon, and cleanser with orange oil. I finally got it together and almost left, only to come back in and move the vacuum to the back patio, lest any ants crawl back out. Luckily, my landlord was right outside pruning the cacti, so I told him about the ants but not about the cinnamon in the carpet, and he's going to put some ant granules out to get rid of them.

And, in answer to your question, I would not like it at all if a giant ant imprisoned me in a vacuum bag, nor if he strewed poison around my house, but until I bite them on the ankles in the privacy of their own home, the ants can suck it.

11 May 2006

This is my Zen

I fell in love with a new song this week. It's called "I Hear the Bells", from Mike Doughty's solo release Haughty Melodic, and also from the Veronica Mars Soundtrack (Shut up! The show is awesome, OK?), and last night when I was feeling tense and strange and unhappy I lay on the living room floor with the lights off and just listened to it on repeat for probably 45 minutes, watching the shadows on the blinds from the bougainvillea outside my apartment and feeling the floor shiver when freight trains went by. And I felt calm, and my head was clear of all the things that crowd in and keep me from...functioning, sometimes. I don't think I would go as far as the Murder City Devils--"I would've slit my wrists if it wasn't for rock and roll"--but I don't know where I would be without power chords and four-track recordings and songs so heart-stoppingly beautiful that you have to drop everything and just listen, because for that four and a half minutes, nothing else matters.

04 May 2006

But Watch Yourself: I've Still Got the Eggs

Well, I haven't posted for awhile, due to my regularly scheduled end-of-semester breakdown (TM Cari), involving the deliberate and violent destruction by the Powers That Be and my own lack of foresight of all my self-confidence, mental and physical faculties, and faith in humanity. To wit:

1. My goldfish up and died right in front of me during an all-nighter. No apparent reason or previous illness, it just started acting sick and then died, presumably because I'd been wondering if I could possibly be more miserable during finals.

2. I ran out of normal, healthy food with no time to go to the grocery store for several days, and thus had to survive on a diet of coffee, Luna Bars and Ramen noodles (mmmm, starchy!). I swear I'm still dehydrated. And I think I may have a vitamin deficiency.

3. I carved out an hour to see my hair stylist about my mullet, only to have her proudly replace it with a bouffant bubble of hair suitable for a Fundamentalist mother of six, leading to a crisis of hipness: Does something about my look tell people I should have middle-aged hair? Obviously, it's not like I lost a leg or something, but I was really not up to dealing with it at the time.

Anyway, things have settled down now--I had a good meeting with my advisor about my draft, I finally bought some real food, and my hair improved quite a bit when I styled it myself. I'm celebrating the end of the semester by ordering Veronica Mars DVDs and going to get some new fish tonight, which I think is a big improvement over being tempted last week to celebrate the end of the semester by mainlining vodka and egging my professors' cars.

15 April 2006

Gift With Purchase

Hilariously, Apple has just e-mailed me to offer, as a thank-you for spending $1.08 at the iTunes Music Store, $30 off my next Apple Store purchase!

...of $300 or more.

Because having one dollar to download the new Built to Spill single clearly indicates that I have another 270 lying around to invest in electronics. And because nothing shows your appreciation more than offering your customers the rare opportunity to give your company even more money.

11 April 2006

Dawning Horror

I changed my hairstyle recently, to a shorter cut that's kind of a short shag (hee hee heeee) or long pixie and that I have been immensely pleased with, despite its unfortunate tendency to stick up exuberantly in the mornings (much to the amusement of my friend Shamsi, who got to see this clown-hair up close every morning we were in Alaska). It was ultra-cute and easy to fix almost every day. And then, without warning, precisely four weeks after the cut:


Seriously, on Thursday: normal hair. On Friday? Rakishly long in back while short on sides. It took me several minutes to put my finger on exactly what was off. Parted wrong? Flat on top? Too much product? No. With dawning horror, I realized that my look apparently evolved (or was it intelligently designed?!?) overnight from "rocking" to "business up front, party in the rear". Sure, I can take comfort that it's more of a glam-rock mullet than a NASCAR mullet, but it's still worrisome to find a mullet in the mirror before you've finished caffeinating. Adding to the eeriness is the dream my sister had several weeks ago in which she was me and I/she was sporting just such a mullet. And yea, it has come to pass.

30 March 2006

Luckily, Creepy Art Cheers Me Up

Three things I hate today:

1. Overly helpful people. I don't need you to give me a dissertation on the procedure I'm about to do--I just need to know where a reagent is. I don't need you to clean up and organize my stuff--that just makes me unable to find anything. I know that you're eager to be helpful, but when you do more than I ask you for, you are not being double-plus helpful, you are being patronizing and counter-productive. Please dial it back.

2. Being behind on sleep. I keep doing this thing where I start doing something for school early in the week, say Sunday or Monday night, and end up staying up until like 4:30am because I don't notice the time when I'm actually working on something. Well, then I have to turn around and get up at 8:00am (I know, ungodly early, right?), and I swear I'll go to bed early the next night, but then I have to prep for class or I get all alert at like 11:00pm, and then by Wednesday and Thursday I don't get anything done because I'm exhausted. My dad suggests I set an alarm for bedtime, which I actually might do.

3. Stamp machines. I don't even want to talk about it.

Two things I love today:

1. My new creepy painting that was free. As I biked out of my alleyway/parking lot yesterday morning, there was this awesome painting just hanging out, propped up at the end of the parking spaces, facing the street. When I came home again, it had blown over and been driven over a couple of times (overlapping tire tracks, don't you know), so I propped it up again, but now so it was less visible from the street, to buy some more time to figure out what was going on with it. This began Possibly Free Painting-Watch 2006, when I checked on it like six times while I was talking with my friends on the phone. It hadn't moved or anything by 1:00am, so with their advice, I finally decided to take it (protective custody so it wouldn't get trashed, if nothing else), but keep an eye out for lost-and-found notices for it. So if you are in Tempe and are minus one painting that is somewhat reminscent of the work of Jhonen Vasquez, please let me know at mercurial_girl@bust.com.

2. Teddy Thompson's Separate Ways. I'm obsessed with the title song. Too bad my connection is dial-up (What? It's free!) and I don't have like an hour to upload it for you. Buy the album, you cheap bastards.

24 March 2006

I Have a Cult Following

I've just returned from the video store, where I charmed all the clerks in the place by my innate talent for simultaneously wearing a Star Wars-themed shirt and owing late fees on Serenity. Before I left, one had introduced himself and told me all about Star Wars Trivial Pursuit and The Simpsons drinking game, and the other accidentally ripped my receipt in half, giggled awkwardly, then forgot to hand me my DVDs. It was like Scarlett O'Hara at the Twelve Oaks barbeque. If Twelve Oaks were an engineering school.

I correctly predicted when I bought the shirt that it would make an excellent geek detector, as only major Star Wars geeks recognize it for what it is. I should have known it would be too much for the video store guys to handle, though, because seriously? Video store guys love me. I guess this is because I am girl-shaped, yet say comfortingly geeky things like, "Is Sid and Nancy checked out?" and "Do you have the original release of Donnie Darko? I hate the director's cut." and "I just hope [Batman Begins] is truer to the books." Still, those things have caused unusually attentive customer service--perhaps a tour of about 18 other movies I should rent next time--or the mysterious disappearance of a late fee, but only from isolated clerks at a time. I've never single-handedly caused the normal store operations to grind to a halt. Er, more of a halt. The Star Wars t-shirt would be dangerous in the wrong hands, people.

Also, in looking for the link for my geek detection shirt, I just learned that these exist. I can't believe I've survived this long without them.

20 March 2006

What's Next? Footloose?!?

My cheesy gossip magazine of choice has just cheerily informed me that production has just begun on a big-screen adaptation of the Broadway smash Hairspray, to be released in 2007. Ah yes, interesting. Do you mean, the Broadway smash based on the 1988 movie of the same name by the brilliant John Waters?!? You know, the one you completely failed to mention in your blurb?

Does anyone else find alarming the emergence of the less than 20-year movie to Broadway to movie remake cycle? Alarming, or completely balls-out insane?

14 March 2006

Night of the Living Dead Anthropologists

I am now back in sunny, yet flooded Tempe (we had a day of rain while I was in the frozen North and everyone's yard is holding an inch of water), and have so far spent my Spring Break feebly sipping Emergen-C mixed with juice while lying in bed reading Patrick O'Brian novels or lying on the fold-out couch watching Lord of the Rings, although the latter is pretty unfulfilling because I only have the first two and I find The Two Towers a bit of a downer to end on. I apparently caught some kind of respiratory virus in Anchorage, which made the last several days of the conference I attended there both miserable (attending sessions with head propped against wall, attempting to blow nose unobtrusively, yet necessarily every two minutes) and hilarious (see above, RE: attending conference as walking dead; also, swapping over-the-counter remedies with fellow zombie-anthropologists because about one-third of the conference appeared to have the same disease). But the following unmitigated great things happened in Anchorage besides my catching the plague:

1. I got to see my lovely friend Mikie, and meet her fantastic new husband and their adorable huskies--the uncle of one husky is the star dog of "Eight Below", I am told. Since she lives so far away, we only get to see each other every two years or so, so this really meant a lot to me.

2. I reached a new extreme in caffeine addiction early in the week, when I had a double mocha with lunch, then ordered a large drip coffee to go before we left the restaurant. In my defense, I was only maintaining consciousness through chemistry that day, as I had been up late completing my computer simulation homework (very nearly the best program EVER! thank you very much).

3. I did my first conference presentation ("Nutrition and the Paleopathology of Infectious Disease", if anyone cares). My advisor told me several times how happy she was with it, and several people came up to me later in the conference to tell me it was "brilliant" (in the spirit of full disclosure, this was meant in the British sense of "great", not the American sense of "extraordinarily smart") and ask more about it. One spoke to me about it and asked for the written version while I was en route to the coffee cart, and when I finished trading information with him and turned to order my coffee, the lady working there commented in a nudge-nudge, wink-wink way that "he was pretty good-looking--for an Australian". Are they not normally a good-looking people? I did not think that was the case.

06 March 2006

Escape from Tempe

I am in freaking Alaska right now, and it is wintery and awesome.

That is all.

28 February 2006

The Wombat's Revenge

I had my computer simulation class today, the professor for which told me two weeks ago that he expected the anthropology students in the course to find the programming assignments to be a struggle. It came as a surprise, though, that my partner for the final project, a computer science student who has before now conversed with me normally, has suddenly adopted the view that my aptitude for programming is similar to that of a sleep-deprived wombat. Before class, I was asking him about our next programming assignment, which he had kindly offered to help me with, and I explained the first of several steps I had done (making half the cells green), then paused. He apparently thought I was done explaining what I had done so far, because in the pause, he exclaimed, "GOOoooOOood!" as you would to an exceptionally slow three-year-old.

Suffice it to say that it is so on. But because my righteous indignation unfortunately exceeds my actual programming ability, my revenge is unlikely to take the form of the best program EVER! I may have to resort to gum on chairs.

24 February 2006

We Demand to be Taken Seriously

Judging from the large number of frighteningly professional campaign signs that have suddenly appeared on campus, ASU's undergraduate student government elections are coming up soon. While it's entertaining enough that most of the president/vice president tickets are taking this so seriously that they have had real signs designed, what I really love is that one ticket, Underwood/Smith, hilariously seems to have joined the race just to take the piss. Where Sales and Zoebisch have put up a 5' by 3' plastic sign promising, "We'll raise the standards for PARKING", Underwood and Smith have put up a sign, hand-scrawled on plain white posterboard, reading, "Underwood/Smith: Underlining random WORDS!" Next to a sign promising to lower costs of attendance, they promise "Arbitrary tuition hikes! No textbook resales!" But best of all is the one I saw on my way home from the lab today: "Underwood/Smith: We demand to be taken seriously".

Fricking genius.

22 February 2006

Open Letter to an Anonymous Asshole

Dear Person Who Threw His/Her Empty Soda Cup Into my Bike Basket While it was Parked on Campus Only 10 Feet Away From the Nearest Trashcan,

Kudos on finding a way to simultaneously spare yourself the hideous effort of having to walk an extra 10 feet and ruin my afternoon. Few bring such creativity to finding subtle ways to make the world a little worse. Congrats! You're an asshole!

Love, Amy

21 February 2006

Choke! Choke! Choke!

Well, I ended up crashing & burning in a major way on my background statement...you see, no matter how it starts, schoolwork somehow always ends up turning into a cage-match between crippling academic performance anxiety and the looming deadline. In an historic upset, the deadline lost this round. I slogged through eight pages (or, if you count the typing, then panicking and deleting, approximately 87 pages) by last night, then totally choked. Then I called my awesome friend, who very patiently listened to me freak out for like an hour and had the revolutionary idea that I talk to my advisor about feeling overwhelmed and not having enough time to do everything. Then I IM'ed my other awesome friend, who agreed that I could sleep on her futon and get a job with her company if I ended up getting kicked out of school. But because we are both a. slobs and b. firebugs, it would probably end badly. Or quite well, if you enjoy a good blaze.

Because of all that, today I had to have a scary meeting with my advisor, who turned out to be very supportive and nice about my lack of a draft, which was excellent. I'm not sure what I'll do with my time if I actually start communicating with my advisor and stop panicking about my work for her, though. Maybe take up macrame?

18 February 2006

Some Things You Should Probably Know About Me

I have a background statement for my PhD dissertation due in fewer than 72 hours, and have chosen to sit down and create a blog. This comes on the heels of such incredibly misguided, procrastination-based decisions as: "My MA thesis is due in less than a week -- I should probably start writing it" "I will write my PhD admission essay between sets at the Burning Brides show" and "I will convince my department to let me take my comprehensive exam a year early, then begin studying in earnest only two weeks before". Those all worked out great in the end -- I'll let you know about this one on Tuesday.