Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My blog has become a digital commonplace book.

So here's some of my life:

This past Friday: Surprise birthday party for Justin -- SUCH fun. He was about 20 minutes late for the concocted movie watching date, so we all hid in the hallway whispering and waiting for a knock on the door. Unfortunately (or should I say fortunately?) none of us had matches for the candles since no one smokes... Marissa put up a good fight with the electric range top, and even got some sparks, but no outright flame. Anyway, luckily Justin didn't catch on and become overly suspicious of the multiple movie invites, or the bizarre silences whenever he entered a room where we were discussing plans. After our wine and cheese pre-party, we caught the Marguerite and walked to the Nut House. Which was a nut house. People were actually throwing peanuts at us. Seems like the place for English & Comp Lit kids (not necessarily because of the peanut throwing). We ran into older grad students, comp lit students... our table kept expanding. Talked about the OC w/ Harris, planned a slumber party with Elda Maria and Jill, unsuccessfully plotted with Elda to get unadulterated water, got scared silly by the life size gorilla man in the bathroom stall (I could have sworn he moved between my first and second trips) and felt waaaay drunk looking in the fun house mirrors by the sink, wondered over the music (blister in the sun AND tom petty), and stumbled home with everyone after we missed the last bus. Showered, and promptly fell asleep with the towel still on my wet hair. Woke up around 1 the next afternoon with a sore stomach, but luckily no headaches.

Anyway, the rest of my weekend consisted of working. Missed out on Binta's tour of the Chuck Close exhibit at the SF MOMA, but instead searched for Punch cartoons from the late 1800's for my final paper in 19th Cent. Visual Culture. OK, time for a little divergence.

So I remembered, back in the day, when I was writing my papers for the Joan of Arc/ King Arthur course at MHC, being able to search (electronically, no less) for the merest mentions of Lord Lytton in issues of Notes & Queries from the 1800's. And it was totally easy -- I was a sophomore, for Christ's sake. Also: At MHC, all the periodicals, even those dating from the 1800's, were in ONE PLACE. Easy to find and all that. So adjusting to Stanford's library system has been huge for me. From just figuring out where all the books are (they have like, 12 libraries, and auxiliary libraries where you have to specially call stuff up, and not to mention special collections for the really old awesome stuff), to how to search their online catalogue, to what databases to use, to how long I can have things out for, to how I can check out DVDs... so much. And always the little things you took for granted. So anyway, I had this breakthrough after some kind soul named Mary (this quest takes on Biblical proportions) at the library replied to my pleading email about not being able to find Punch. Basically, I had to search through periodicals specifically. Oops. But she also copied and pasted the info for where to find it (NOT where the special collections librarian had pointed me, so it wasn't entirely my fault for missing it...), which included, lo and behold, the database I remembered using back in the day at MHC! So, not only did I spend Monday morning flipping through 100+ year old magazines, I also was able to find every mention in a headline of "advertisements"! Only problem, of course, is that I just have all this stuff I love, but not exactly a thesis yet. Gonna work on that.

Anyway, today was our last Memoria class... we went like, an hour and a half over time. Eek. But it was OK because everyone had their final papers to talk about, and Prof. L. had ordered us Indian food. Ahhhh. The way to my heart. And by the time dessert roled around... I was in a pumpkin-dip-and-nilla-wafer-with-Philip-Glass-in-the-background induced swoon.

So now I've finished my reading response for my (gasp) last intro class on Thurs... and was reading some Wilde for Friday's class...

Here's a highlight for my idealistic soul:

"It will, of course, be said that such a scheme as is set forth here is quite unpractical, and goes against human nature. This is perfectly true. It is unpractical, and it goes against human nature. This is why it is worth carrying out, and that is why one proposes it. For what is a practical scheme? A practical scheme is either a scheme that is already in existence, or a scheme that could be carried out under existing conditions. But it is exactly the existing conditions that one objects to; and any scheme that could acept these conditions is wrong and foolish. The conditions will be done away with, and human nature will change." (1100) - Wilde in "the Soul of Man Under Socialism"

And here's a highlight for everyone with a Wildean sense of humor:

"Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less. For a town or country labourer to practise thrift would be absolutely immoral. Man should not be ready to show that he can live like a badly fed animal." (1081)

OK I'm going to prep this next one by noting that William Morris and Wilde are both proposing socialism at least in part because they have decided that art in its best form -- or a democratization of art -- is not possible under capitalism. So Morris started a crafts movement, believing that everyone should work to produce beautiful objects/ art. And Wilde is responding to that in part here. But anyway, it's really funny, so here we go:

"They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor." (1079)

Well, that's it for today... time to shower and actually do some work!!

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