Sunday, November 27, 2005

"If I were a woman, I imagine it would be quite annoying to have a man trailing after me like a lost dog."
--Professor Frank Brownlow, English 211: Shakespeare

Oh my God I miss Brownlow!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

There's an owl outside somewhere -- he keeps hooting. Something like this: " ho hoo hoo...hooo ho." And yes, Merrie, I did go outside and try to spot him. But I think he's in a larger fir tree not in our immediate yard area -- yet he sounds really close... hard telling.

Well may as well do a quick update: I'm on campus for Thanksgiving break, luckily we have the full week off. So I've read 2 and a half novels, and I've got about 13 and a half pages so far toward my first final paper... eeks. I keep wavering back and forth as to whether I like this paper or not. I think now that I've got a clearer outline for the last few pages, I'll be happy. Hopefully when I reread it to edit things, I'll find ways to make the beginning clearer.

Each day I've been doing little things... Saturday I went to the shopping center, got some pretty paper to decorate my room with. Some real papyrus paper (I love thinking that Sappho wrote on such a surface); some handpainted paper with orange, gold, and brown blazes and swirls; and a sheet of red flowers for my bathroom. Also went to Andronico's. Stocked up on Haagen Dazs Creme Brulee. Got an eggplant. Very exciting, cooking with eggplant. I made my own marinara sauce, w/ mushrooms from the farmer's market. And fresh parmesan cheese.

Sunday I biked to the farmer's market & Trader Joe's. Splurged on dairy items: the parmesan cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. The couple in line behind me got a pint of Perfectly Pumpkin after seeing mine in my basket. Told them they'll love it.

Monday: Biked to campus to mail important items.

Tues: Shopping at the Gap. Best trip ever. Perfect fit corduroy pants (apparently the "curvy" ankle pants actually fit me properly) for $13. Cute longer skirt I can probably manage to bike in, $10. And some more little belts, 99 cents each. Plus I had my $10 off coupon from using my gap card... Ahh I love shopping for clothes.

Today: Decided to read on the lawn in the afternoon. Experimented with making falafel. I think it was fairly successful, despite the dough wanting to simultaneously stick to the bottom of the skillet (hello, you're in half an inch of oil, what the hell are you doing?!) and crumble apart.

Well, guess i should shower, them read some more Silko...

Happy Thanksgiving! =)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

OK and this is why I'm still watching tv and just attempting to type a few additional sentences to my memoria final during commercials: PETER FAULK ON CONAN!!!
Ok, did anyone else just see Jimmy Carter on Jay Leno? His new book sounds amazing. Because I'm lazy, here's what I told Andrew about it via IM:

Me: jimmy carter was just on jay leno. amazing. don't agree on his anti- roe v wade stance, but he's very acutely written a book about how most the values america supposedly espouses have been chipped away at over the last few years

Andrew (clearly distracted in his search for a tortoise-sitter): yeah i bet he's a pretty smart guy

Me: it was great, to hear a prominent politician just come out and say all the things I've been bitching about

Andrew (getting up to speed): i've been listening to NPR here whenever i'm in the car, and they're so liberal it's funny

Me: well carter is fairly moderate, doesn't take much to lean toward liberal these days, as the right is SO far right

Andrew: today they were talking about the media and how stupid it is that they hold back big stories if it's like right before election time (like some investigation about going to iraq)

Andrew: yeah you're right

Me: carter went ahead and said that he believes before "the supreme court said bush was president," high ups in the party had already decided to go to war against iraq

Me: that they were looking for an excuse, and that the evidence was at best false, and at worst concocted explicitly

Andrew (vaguely): wow

Me: that's pretty strong coming from an ex president

Andrew (he's totally done with listening to me on politics, as you can see): well i think i'm gonna have tea and read some hw reading


Just had to share -- now it's time for the Eurythmics (very old school tonight on Jay Leno)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I feel like I should do a brief update… of highlights.

Did I mention the first year party – in honor of our advanced grad students? Great fun, invited MTL students, MA students… everyone. Good turnout, too. Theme was mojitos, which will be my new drink of choice. Stayed out till after 2 am. Rather out of character for me, I guess. Slept till after 12, so didn’t make it to the farmer’s market. Very sad – but luckily good food was had Tues. night, as I won a seat in the lottery for a dinner out through housing (another getting-to-know-people event). Great Malaysian place, Spice Island I think? But the waiter recommended the green curry, so I had that. Which motivated me to get both yellow AND red curry at Trader Joe’s today.

Hmmm… so last night we had another cohort love event, pizza making at James’s place. Really fun, and we got experimental w/ olive oil, cranberry, and olive pizza (surprisingly good, and seasonal, right?) Talked politics, the dept., future plans, and almost started a game of “Never have I ever.” Luckily curtailed that.

So today was lots of reading… and pizza & a movie w/ my Memoria class (Daughters of the Dust). Now must write a response. But had to update as the farmer’s market today was … inspiring.

The thing is, we read “Goblin Market” this past week for 19th Visual Culture, and then walking through a farmer’s market… kind of puts a different spin on the experience. There’s something crazy about seeing strawberries and winter squash both local & ripe. Never going to skip the market again. Last week’s produce was nothing compared to the stuff I got today (although the tangerines from Sigona’s were yummy) – dates (seem crystallized & candy-like, nothing like what you get in cereal), some variety of tangerine-like oranges, apples, squash, potatoes, persimmons… the fruit is amazing. Ahh. And continuing this sweet tooth trend, I decided on some chocolate gelato at TJ’s, as well as seasonal pumpkin pie ice cream (both incredible. Still getting over the fact that the ice cream is made with pie base).

Well… guess I should get on the work again, and then reward myself with ice cream. Very food motivated.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


From "Court Nominee Has Paper Trail Businesses Like," by Stephen Labaton, NYT 11/5/05:

" "We're concerned, based on his record, about what his appointment would mean for access to the courts by the people we represent," said Glenn Sugameli, senior litigation counsel at Earthjustice, a law firm that represents environmental groups and individuals seeking enforcement of environmental laws. "We're also concerned, based on his record, that his interpretation of the Commerce Clause threatens the enforcement of such laws as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act." ...

In environmental law, Judge Alito has generally also followed a narrow reading of the law. He cast a deciding vote in a 1997 case, Public Interest Research Group v. Magnesium Elektron, which dismissed a $2.6 million fine against the company for violating the Clean Water Act and found that the public interest group did not have the authority to bring a lawsuit. In other environmental cases, like W.R. Grace v. E.P.A., and United States v. Allegheny Ludlam, he has sided with large corporations seeking to overturn fines and remedial actions ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency. "

I think the case against Magnesium Elektron is an example of what I remember hearing about on NPR's Living on Earth program... the reading by some conservative judges that public interest groups don't have the authority to bring such cases up. This worries me... because I think we need these groups to act for the interest of public safety and health. If there are no "watch dogs" against big business pollutors, then who will bring cases like this to court? Many people wouldn't be aware of pollution's real dangers, even if they live in an area directly affected. And I'm just frankly confused: in cases like this where it's admitted from the outset that the company violated law, violated the Clean Water Act, then WHY isn't more being done to stop them?

Although this isn't the most extreme case of pollution (the company manufactures zirconium carbonate, and tried to argue that the waste actually helped the nutrient poor creek), it's quite the slippery slope... If you look at the file (, it's rather worrisome the leaps in logic that the court took in deciding that the waste wasn't harmful. I don't think that a court should be deciding how dangerous pollution is -- it seems that a more objective standard is necessary (ideally set up by non partisan SCIENTISTS, not judges or politicians). Also, some of the examples are mind boggling. Do citizens really need to wait until pollution causes a "visible" problem (examples of bad odors, brown water, oily layers, etc., as cited in the above article)? Wouldn't it make more sense to respond BEFORE the pollution damaged the ecosystem of the creek? Isn't there imminent danger of serious pollution from a company that addmitedly violated its discharge allowances over a dozen times? And how does the PIRG not have standing? Shouldn't local groups be able to respond to local issues? At what point is our legal system going to realize that pollution affects everyone? When pregnant women can't eat fish from our lakes for risks of mercury exposure to the fetus? Apparently not, because that's already a fact in at least New Hampshire. (Would NH women not have standing in trying to bring a case against the big midwest corporations that create the pollution that drifts to the NE?) When cancer rates skyrocket, which seems to be linked not only to genetic predisposition, diet, and exercise, but also to the chemicals we are exposed to in the environment? No, we already know that many of the synthetic chemicals we use in cosmetics, food production, and manufacturing are carcinogenic.

So to conclude this rant, I'm rather worried about Alito's nearly non-existent track record on the environment... Siding with big business may be good for the economy (and particularly the top 1% in this country), but what about the environment?