Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hmmm. So I'm trying to think of highlights of the last ten days or so. And, as usual, I'm drawing a blank. What did I do last week? I'm not really sure. Lots of work... Friday the Glascock festivities started... I went to the Life & Letters talk, which was... hilarious. Mainly because of something that Prof. H. did to bring a close to a rather awkward -- rambling -- wrap up. That evening I got dressed up for the contest, and listened... lots of good stuff, and our reader's poetry was quite satisfying, as it is similar, I think, in aesthetic principles, to what I write. But I still wished that I was reading (I mean come on, first runner up two years in a row??) Anyway... Saturday morning I went with Julia to hear the judges read, and hear the results. The Smithie won... I personally thought her poetry was the least polished of the bunch, and the least thought out. Saturday night I went to my first seder with Karuna, Lindsay, Susan, Sarah, & Molly. It was great, partly because I had good company =)

Sunday... I got up pretty late, after working late into the night. I finally got my ass to brunch around noon thirty, and met up with Kathleen. Then I had a huge t-shirt fiasco... by default I'm kind of in charge of the English Dept. t-shirts, and I had to scan in the image and set up stuff with the screen printers. Sunday evening I got some work done, and then read theses with Karuna.

Monday... I went to N. Delle's Presidential Tea & told Jo jo that I'm satisfied with my education here, and that my classes have been great in my major, and that I'm going to grad school... it was a nice feeling of closure.

OK, Tues. morning the weirdest thing happened. I told Andrew so here's the IM conversation:

Pink Poodledog: this morning, 5:30 am: I wake up to some bizarre undercurrent of noise -- like a shovel being steadily scraped across pavement from a distance. of course now I need to pee, so I get up out of bed, look out my window, and see two people gesturing out on the green
Pink Poodledog: so I go to get my glasses, thinking I recognize them, and then the fire alarm goes off
Pink Poodledog: so I get my coat on and flip flops, run out -- we've had all our drills so I know something has set this off....
Pink Poodledog: we get outside...
Pink Poodledog: and wait for 45 minutes. three fire engines come, smoke is billowing out of the basement on the north side, and we can see another flume going up above the roof from the other side
Pink Poodledog: all that hassle -- no explanation -- still none today, as to what the f*#$ happened and what the hell is being done to prevent it from happening again
Pink Poodledog: or what has been fixed thus far (ex: can we take a hot shower, or not?)
ANDPEW: but what about the people who were outside before the alarm went off? they didn't know what caused it?
Pink Poodledog: so then finally we're allowed to shuffle back in, though it's still smoking, and it smells like ... you know the smell of a burnt pot, after you've tried to boiled water and all the water's boiled away?
Pink Poodledog: that's what it smelled like in all the common spaces
Pink Poodledog: no idea, when I looked again before jetting out of my room they weren't there
Pink Poodledog: so by the time we're back in the dorm... it's too bright out to get back to sleep easily, the crows are going at their f&$*ing annoying ass squawking, and I'm wide awake...
Pink Poodledog: sooo annoying... so I only got like 5 hours of sleep at most

See, I whine to everyone, not just my blog readers!


Tuesday evening Azeen & I read theses in the evening after my last ever small group for SAW. It was great -- and I love her project!

Weds. was a down day at first -- it was gross outside, and I realized I had more work due than expected. I was frantically getting stuff together for my poetry portfolio & Eng. Dept. contests. But then I went to my last 101 class (the English class I mentor). The two groups presenting were awesome, simply awesome. Eleanor was channeling a mix of Jerry Blank of Strangers with Candy & Lorraine (of the funny throat clearing noises) of MAD TV. Then Mary & Linda's group made up a ritual based on a myth involving the Little Bru-ha-ha & a plant with Michael Jackson fruit. I laughed so hard I cried. I can't believe how incredibly lucky I was to mentor for this class. I talked to Prof. Davis afterwards, and we hugged, and it was the most satisfying class... ever. And I completely love the firsties -- I hope I'm lucky enough to have students like them in the courses I TA & teach in grad school. I finally realized that yes, I like doing this, and I think this is what I want to do with my life.

Today was kind of sad... We had our last Verse writing class, and I'm not kidding when I say that we should have a Livejournal community based upon that class. We were laughing like crazy over something I can hardly remember now, instead of looking at my poem -- a situation I was perfectly happy about! (Sometimes I don't feel like defending my poetry thought of the hour...) Plus I treated myself to chai... ahhh... chai.

This evening was lovely. A group of us went to Noho for Miranda's birthday, to eat dinner at Osaka. Miranda got hibachi, so we were treated to a whole show: flames, bouncing eggs, burning towers of onion, flying chunks of fried egg... I did my usual sushi thing (i.e., anything with avocado and/or asparagus). We took lots of pictures... I had the best time, sitting by Miranda and Sarah... We must all stay in touch! Afterwards we explored in Faces, taking funny pictures, and then ran through traffic to catch the bus. Back at MHC, I lured everyone to the Delles for our chocolate bash =)

So that's the main stuff... On the thesis front: I finally decided to go with my reader and 2nd reader. They've both given me final edits, and I've applied almost everything to the critical chapters, and then just need to do the same with my short stories (a job I'm saving for tomorrow). Then I need to proof everything, add a table of contents & acknowledgements page... print... and... I'm done!

And I'm graduating in... what... 23, 24 days? This was my last full week as an undergrad...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Two things I forgot to whine about:

1. Our dorm t-shirts are aaaaawful. First off, they're yellow -- a color which only looks good on a select few (me not being one of them). Then, it has a hamburger on it, which I just don't like on principle. Lastly, it says "delle-icious," which, I admit, is a clever way to use our dorm name, EXCEPT for the fact that this same tactic is used ALL THE TIME, most notably on the shirt I got my FIRST YEAR while living in the delles, which ALSO said "delle-icious" but only with a picture of a Chinese food take out box, rather than a burger. So not pleased. Plus it's in a 70s bubbly letter style that doesn't set well with me. Karuna is saving the day -- her dorm has a leftover hoodie with a way cooler theme!

2. Monday morning: I'd stayed up till 3 am working on my thesis introduction, and was scheduled to get just barely 7 hours of sleep (my minimum necessary to be alert and functioning). 8:30 AM, an hour before my alarm was to go off, a loud foghorn blare -- the opening of our fire alarm. I woke up -- groggy and interrupted in the middle of the much sought after REM cycle (ie "rapid eye movement" -- when you're dreaming, that last phase of sleep that actually makes you feel rested -- proven at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NY in the '50s to be the really vital part of your sleep cycle -- if you're woken up each night whenever you start REM-ing, you're cranky & ill-rested). I realized that I couldn't fall back asleep unless I peed, so I got up for the restroom. Everyone else was out in the hallway, too, and on the way back to my room I was complaining to Jess. This might be the one thing she remembers about living next to me: "I was in the middle of REM. I'm never going to get that back!" The alarm started going off twice more in a ten minute period. VERY pissed off about it! I can't wait to live not-in-a-dorm =/
It's been a busy week!

Last week my cousin, Janel, was visiting the area since she'll be starting an MA program at Umass in the fall for creative writing. So Tuesday we drove around Amherst in her rental car, looking at various apartment options. But I think she ended up finding something the next day, a bit north of the town, that will work out better. I had small group for SAW, so we weren't able to eat dinner together -- we met up afterwards to see Prison of Women though (a play being put on at MHC, in which Miranda had a part!) I enjoyed all the visuals, and realized that the script the students had made was better in my opinion than the original they used for a basis. Weds. Janel & I got together for dinner -- I'd suggested Fresh Side since it's one of my favorite places here. We caught up on family, work/ school, & plans for next year... Quite fun, because Janel was always my favorite cousin growing up; I felt a connection because she also liked mashed potatoes best at Christmas dinners!

Friday was a busy day, as we started Verbosity layout. We basically hung out in the Info Commons around a large monitor...all afternoon! Friday evening Sarah & I joined up with Jess, Diana, and Mel to go see the production of Arcadia at Smith. We were quite jealous of the theater building at Smith - so much nicer than ours here! We ate pizza, and headed over... Sarah & I were in the front row, center... amazing! No one in front of us... No heads obscuring parts of the stage... wow. Then Prof. Salter & her husband came in, and they had seats right next to us. Very cool. I appreciated the ambiguous ending, as I'd been depressed over T's death as I read the play that morning. Afterwards, we tried to go for ice cream, but everything was closed.

Saturday morning I had thesis work, and then I joined up for another afternoon of Verbosity layout. Managed to do something fun in the evening though, to make up for the fact that I didn't go to Boston this weekend (Andrew, Jon, & Jen were giving Andre (the Brazilian cousin) a tour of Boston). So I went with my neighbors & Kathleen to the piano concert, since both my profs. wrote song lyrics to be set to music. Kathleen & I got the giggles as we sat through a very long piano piece... I just can't stay interested in piano music for that long.

Anyway... after a long night of work, Sunday morning I went to brunch to meet Miranda's mom (who was visiting). On the way over to another Verbosity meeting, I stopped at the carnival, managing to consume a snow cone and two servings of cotton candy. We got the cover art done, & Laura & I went to the carnival for snow cones... We had to wait awhile for them to get more ice... And then this woman in front of us kept trying to get the last of the cherry syrup out of the bottle. It sprayed all over her, but instead of stopping, she kept going! And managed to get it all over my supposedly dry clean only skirt, sweater, and white tank top... She mumbled sorry and hurried off... needless to say, she didn't even offer to pay for cleaning (which I think would be a standard, courteous gesture... she wasn't a student, either, so it's not like she could play the starving student card...)

After cleaning up, Laura & I sat in the gazebo. It's really quite nice. You're outside, but not exposed to the mosquitoes. Plus it smells like sun warmed wood. That night I finally got down to finishing my introduction. This week I'm meeting with Corinne, Prof. Ahmed, Quillian, and Azeen over the thesis. Ack! I think it will end up relying more heavily upon the critical chapters. Quillian thinks otherwise it will be too long and disjointed (before special big margins, it's 68 pages of critical work, and at least 30 of stories... seems kinda unwieldy). If I were starting this project over again, I'd nix the stories & go heavier into Marxist theory, weaving it into the close reading... If I had world enough and time... right?

Anyway, that's my news! It's been gorgeous out, which has been good for my mental health... I'm so glad to be going to CA next year... I never again want to live anywhere that requires one to wear pajama bottoms under one's pants just to stay warm in the winter!

Monday, April 11, 2005

I'm procrastinating from working on my Eng 319 paper, so I thought I'd post a blog entry. Had a super fun weekend, so, it's time for an update!

Friday: I ran into everyone (Karuna, Laura K, Laura E., Beth, etc) while walking around campus, and found out that Korisha's science symposium presentation was starting at a quarter to three in the afternoon. So until then, I read Stoppard's Indian Ink while sitting in Pratt Library. I didn't understand anything about Korisha's speech except that this flame retardant stuff could be put on a couch or something. We weren't brave enough to ask how you'd get the charred stuff off afterwards...

Anyway, then we had hoped to go on a picnic, but I didn't get back to my room till after Beth had called -- so unfortunately I missed out. Andrew got here at a decent hour, and we decided to take a run out to the liquor store in Chicopee. I'm slowly acquiring Andrew's taste in beer... Magic Hat, mainly. Anyway, then we attempted to watch Cold Mountain, but Andrew promptly fell asleep. Warning: If you haven't seen this movie or read the book, I might spoil the ending for you.

OK. So I found it supremely frustrating, the ending. I didn't sit through over 2 hours of Jude Law's character overcoming one impossible situation after another, somehow surviving everything, just to watch him get killed because he's freaking stupid and wanted to run up the side of the mountain looking for the bad guy without anyone backing him up. One does not get through all that crap without being extremely cautious -- so why would you take the guy one-on-one when your group outnumbers his (Georgia, the two girls, and the beat up father). I found that rather stupid. When Andrew woke up, groggy as hell for a shower, I told him that he's not allowed to ever run up a mountain after someone with a loaded gun. He nodded. Not sure if he really got that.

Another frustration with the movie: Whatever happened to complex characters? The bad guys are unbelievably bad -- they're beating up on old women, babies, children, killing people left and right. It seemed a tad too simplistic for me... Few people are all bad or all good, and the most interesting "bad guy" characters are like Shakespeare's Richard III -- people we can sympathize with (even just a tiny bit). Then Renee Z.'s character -- the classic tomboy "type" who has the easy-to-follow habit of listing everything. Nothing to figure out here -- she's the tough girl with heart. So, in conclusion, if I want a Civil War movie, I'm going back to Gone With the Wind.

Saturday I had an alum/ student luncheon, so Andrew sat by the lake making phone calls. It was quite fun (the luncheon) -- I spoke to an alum from class of like, 1948... she used to live in the Delles and loved it because she and her friends learned how to sneak in after hours. Two demerits and you were out! She also said something interesting about naked photos of students to see if their posture improved over the years... bizarre! My alum was a perfect match -- her mother (who had donated money that apparently was used toward my grants) and she were both English majors at MHC, and from the bay area. So she was glad to hear I'd be continuing on.

Then we went shopping -- I wanted a skirt, tank tops, & earrings. Found everything, and Andrew came upon the perfect birthday tote bag. Got out at a decent time... Then we coordinated with Korisha, Beth, Emily, & Kathleen for a trip out to Osaka. Sooo good... then Andrew & I went to Faces briefly, and then back to the dorm. Got ice cream at Blanchard (Andrew was pleasantly surprised), and then back in my room I read submissions for Verbosity while Andrew slept.

Sunday we went for brunch at the Roadside Cafe, which was, as usual, very yummy. Then we sat out on Amherst's town green for the entire afternoon (I got a bit pink, and Andrew had some burns). I did my reading, and wrote a poem while waiting for food at Fresh Side. A bit more shopping (I needed fun summer flip flops), and then we had dinner at Blanchard (I had gotten Trader Joe's sushi... nothing like Osaka's, but still better than dorm food). We had a pretty quick Verbosity meeting... Andrew and I went to Big Y... then we ate a whole tub of Chunky Monkey while watching DHs.

Today it was sunny, again, yay! Had a supremely frustrating Stoppard class (ARGH! Someone actually suggested that Stoppard basically has no right to have a female lead character due to the fact that he is a man). I dropped in on Kathleen's floor tea with the college president (amazing strawberries, that's all I have to say). The conversation pretty much centered upon dining halls, heating concerns, and the new dorm. ESB dinner was great fun -- we're trying to decide on next year's stuff, and I think we're going to try to have a grad school meeting in a couple of weeks.

Now, back to paper...!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Ahh I just entered a post and it all disappeared when I tried to load the page... error message... f*&#ing internet connection here!! So it's going to be a really, really brief rundown...

Last week: ESB hosted the Dept. tea, and it went swimmingly. We really took control and hosted it! Watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Weekend: D Becky's for The Incredibles, Laura's b day party (Eric Carle museum!), naps, Festival of Diversity (and the adorable prof of Laura's...who hugged me as I left & commented on how much I liked the curry), amazing brunch with Azeen, lots of work... sundae hall event & DHs

Week: David Sedaris with Andrew and then nachos (ahh food!), mentoring apps, felt rather sick today, good talks with Weber, Quillian & Ahmed about dept. tea shirts & Marxist criticism ... fun verse writing class with many tangential discussions... the OC...